Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)

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Latest Edit: Iva Lloyd, ND 2017-05-05 (EDT)

The Urinary Tract consists of the urethra, ureters, bladder, kidneys, and prostate (in males). An infection affecting any of these structures is referred to as a urinary tract infection (UTI), and general presents with dysuria, nocturia, polyuria, burning sensation on voiding, and lower abdominal pain. Urinary tract infections are the most common form of cystitis. UTIs are more common in women, with 60% of otherwise healthy women reporting a UTI at some point in their life.[1]

Naturopathic Assessment

Article Natural Approaches to Prevention and Treatment of Infections of the Lower Urinary Tract , Alt Med; 2009;Vol14(4)

Causal Factors

In order to stimulate the innate ability of the body to heal the causes of disease must be identified and addressed. With UTIs, the causes are variable and include lifestyle and environmental factors. A detailed assessment is required to determine which factors are contributing to the occurrence of UTIs.


  • Non-cotton underwear that is too tight fitting can increase the risk of UTI and cystitis.
  • Delay in urination or holding of urine can contribute to the development of cystitis.[2]


  • Stress increases the risk of urinary tract infections due to its impact on the immune system.[1]


  • The most common form of cystitis is a urinary tract infection. It is typically caused by E.coli, a gram-negative bacteria or Staphylococcus saprophyticus.[1]
  • Escherichia coli (E. coli) is implicated in 80% of UTIs in patients without other urologic abnormalities.[1]
  • Pathogens other than E. coli commonly implicated in UTIs include: Enterococcus faecalis, Enterobacter species, Staphylococcus saprophyticus, Kleibsiella pneumoniae, Proteus mirabilis, and Pseudomonas species.[3]


  • The use of spermicides, diaphragms, tampons, condoms soaps, and feminine hygiene products may disrupt perineal flora and increase the risk of UTIs.[1]
  • Sexual Intercourse
  • Sexual intercourse can increase the occurrence of UTIs and the risk of traumatic cystitis. Traumatic cystitis is due to bruising of the bladder, usually by sexual intercourse that is either too forceful or when the length of the vagina and penis are disproportionate.[4]

Medical Interventions

  • Over-the-Counter Medications and Prescription Medications
  • The use of spermicides or a diaghragm can increase the risk of urinary tract infections and subsequent cystitis.[2]
  • Use of antibiotics may change the perineal flora and increase the risk of developing a UTI.[1]
  • Medical Treatments
  • Catheterization is correlated with an increased risk of UTI during hospitalization. [1]


  • Incomplete Voiding
  • When the ligaments that suspend the bladder become weakened the positioning of the bladder can shift which can impact the ability to void completely. Urine that remains in the bladder increases the risk of a UTI and subsequent cystitis. Ineffectual voiding is a common cause of urinary tract infections and cystitis especially in the elderly.[2]

Diagnostic Testing

  • A urinalysis with an acidic pH often indicates Strep infection.
  • A urinalysis with an alkaline pH often indicates E Coli, Klebsiella or Proteus infection.
  • Imaging Studies
  • Imaging studies may be indicated to evaluate the presence of obstruction, infection, anatomic abnormalities, or renal scarring. Imagine studies include: renal ultrasound, cystogram, Tc 99m dimercaptosuccinic acid renal scan.[3]

Related Symptoms and Conditions

Conditions Related to Urinary Tract Infection include:[3], [1]


The Urinary Tract consists of the urethra, ureters, bladder, kidneys, and prostate (in males). An infection affecting any of these structures is referred to as a urinary tract infection (UTI).

Common Symptoms

  • Common symptoms of an uncomplicated UTI include:[1]
  • Increased urinary frequency
  • Dysuria
  • Nocturia
  • burning sensation while urinating
  • lower abdominal pain
  • foul smelling urine
  • Additional symptoms occuring in complicated UTIs or if a UTI progresses to a kidney infection include:[1]

Naturopathic Treatment

The goal of naturopathic treatment is to support and work in tandem with the healing power of the body and to address the causal factors of disease with individual treatment strategies. If you suspect that you have a urinary tract infection it is always advisable to visit your naturopathic or medical doctor for a urine test to ensure that you receive proper treatment.

It is always advisable to work with a naturopathic doctor before engaging in any treatment plan.

Home Care

Home Care strategies include:

  • Prevention measures are generally directed at women and include drinking lots of water to ensure good urine flow to wash out the bladder, wiping from front to back, urinating soon after sexual intercourse, and wearing loose-fitting, breathable clothing and underwear. [5], [1]


Lifestyle recommendations include:

  • Stress can lead to immunosuppression and increase the risk of infection. Stress reduction can benefit the immune system and help to treat and prevent UTIs.[1]

Naturopathic Therapies

The prescribing of naturopathic therapies requires the guidance of a naturopathic doctor as it depends on a number of factors including the causal factors, a person's age, prescription medications, other conditions and symptoms and overall health. It is always advisable to work with a naturopathic doctor prior to taking any natural therapies.

Naturopathic Therapies for urinary tract infections include:

Traditional Chinese Medicine recognizes the varied presentations of disease, and treatment is dependent on detailed assessment. Treatment principles utilized in Traditional Chinese Medicine to address urinary tract infections include:[8]
  • Resolve Damp
  • Clear Damp Heat
  • Clear Liver Fire


Reviewed by Iva Lloyd, BScH, RPE, ND [1]

  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 1.15 Hadley S (2007) Rakel: Integrative Medicine 2nd ed Chap 24 Urinary Tract Infections Saunders
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 Murray MT, Bongiorno PB (2006) Pizzorno Textbook of Natural Medicine 3rd ed Chap 161 Cystitis Elsevier.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Litza JA, Brill JR (2010) Urinary Tract Infections. Primary Care: In Office Practice: 37(3);491-507
  4. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cystitis
  5. Boon Heather, Smith Micheal (2009) 55 Most Common Medicinal Herbs, Second Edition, Institute of Naturopathic Education and Research, Toronto.
  6. Abascal K, Yarnell E (2008) Botanical Medicine for Cystitis. Alt and Comp Ther 14(2):69-77
  7. Cummings S, Ullman D (1991) Everyone's Guide to Homeopathic Medicines: Taking Care of Yourself and Your Family with Safe and Effective Remedies. GP Putnam Son's
  8. Kuoch DJ. (2007) Acupuncture Desk Reference 2nd ed Acumedwest.