Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)
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
- 2 Characteristics
- 3 Naturopathic Treatment
- 4 References
|Article||Natural Approaches to Prevention and Treatment of Infections of the Lower Urinary Tract , Alt Med; 2009;Vol14(4)|
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.
- 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.
- Escherichia coli (E. coli) is implicated in 80% of UTIs in patients without other urologic abnormalities.
- Pathogens other than E. coli commonly implicated in UTIs include: Enterococcus faecalis, Enterobacter species, Staphylococcus saprophyticus, Kleibsiella pneumoniae, Proteus mirabilis, and Pseudomonas species.
- The use of spermicides, diaphragms, tampons, condoms soaps, and feminine hygiene products may disrupt perineal flora and increase the risk of UTIs.
- Sexual Intercourse
- Over-the-Counter Medications and Prescription Medications
- Medical Treatments
- Catheterization is correlated with an increased risk of UTI during hospitalization. 
- 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.
- Laboratory testings for UTIs include a midstream urinalysis. In children a positive urinalysis should be followed by a urine culture.
- 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.
Related Symptoms and Conditions
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 of an uncomplicated UTI include:
- Additional symptoms occuring in complicated UTIs or if a UTI progresses to a kidney infection include:
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 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. , 
Lifestyle recommendations include:
- Increasing fluid intake in the form of pure water, herbal teas, and diluted fruit and vegetable juices will increase urine flow. Fluids such as pop, concentrated fruit drinks, coffee, and alcoholic beverages should be avoided. 
- Avoid foods that will "feed" a bacteria such as sugar, concentrated fruit juice, sodas, refined carbohydrates.
- Avoid dietary bladder irritants including caffeine, refined sugar, white flour, alcohol and nicotine.
- Increase consumption of raw garlic and onions.
- Avoid food intolerances
- Ensure adequate hydration.
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:
- Clinical Nutritional Supplementation includes
- Herbs such as Cranberry (Vaccinium macrocarpon) Uva Ursi (Arctostaphylos Uva Ursi), Golden Rod (Solidago virgaurea),Goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis). Barberry (Berberis vulgaris), Maize (Zea mays), Round leaf buchu (Barosma betulina), Wintergreen (Chimaphila), Horse Chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum), Juniper (Juniperus), Buchu ( Agathosma betulina), Couchgrass (Elymus repens), Marshmallow root (Althea officinalis), Horsetail (Equisetum), Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra), Skullcap (Scutellaria lateriflora), Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) 
- 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:
- Resolve Damp
- Clear Damp Heat
- Clear Liver Fire
Reviewed by Iva Lloyd, BScH, RPE, ND 
- Hadley S (2007) Rakel: Integrative Medicine 2nd ed Chap 24 Urinary Tract Infections Saunders
- Murray MT, Bongiorno PB (2006) Pizzorno Textbook of Natural Medicine 3rd ed Chap 161 Cystitis Elsevier.
- Litza JA, Brill JR (2010) Urinary Tract Infections. Primary Care: In Office Practice: 37(3);491-507
- Boon Heather, Smith Micheal (2009) 55 Most Common Medicinal Herbs, Second Edition, Institute of Naturopathic Education and Research, Toronto.
- Abascal K, Yarnell E (2008) Botanical Medicine for Cystitis. Alt and Comp Ther 14(2):69-77
- 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
- Kuoch DJ. (2007) Acupuncture Desk Reference 2nd ed Acumedwest.