Ayurvedic treatment for Urinary Tract Infection -UTI-

Urinary Tract Infection -UTI

Know More on Kidney Diseases

  • Definition
  • Causes
  • Symptoms
  • Diagnosis
  • Management
  • FAQS
  • References

Definition

Urinary Tract Infection -UTI Ayurvedic treatment

Any infection within the urinary system is considered to be a Urinary Tract Infection (UTI). This involves an infection in the these organs of the body1 – 

  • The kidneys
  • Ureter – tube through which urine passes from kidney to bladder
  • Bladder – Receives and stored urine
  • Urethra – tube that connects bladder to the rest of the body

These infections need immediate medical attention as when left untreated, these can cause permanent damage to the kidneys and can have serious long-term implications.1

According to Ayurveda, all urinary tract infections are discussed under a broad term called Mutravaha sroto vikara (Difficulty in urination) that includes the conditions of the kidneys, as well as the several urinary tract infections.2

Causes

Urinary Tract Infection -UTI-

Women are more likely than men to get a urinary tract infection. This is because of the shorter length of the urethra which allows infections to travel upwards quickly. Additionally, in women, due to close proximity of the anal opening and the urethral opening, many stomach and digestion related infections (Such as those caused by E. coli bacteria) spread to the urinary tract.1

Symptoms

Urinary Tract Infection -UTI-

Depending on the organ that is affected (kidneys, ureters, bladder, or urethra), the symptoms may vary. Commonest symptoms are1 

  • Frequent urination
  • Passing small amounts of urine
  • Burning sensation in urine
  • Cloudy appearance of urine
  • Presence of blood in the urine
  • Foul smelling urine
  • Pain in the pelvic area - common in women
  • Pain in abdomen

Diagnosis

Urinary Tract Infection -UTI-

To diagnose whether you have a urinary tract infection or not, your doctor will evaluate your symptoms and recommend a simple urine test that looks for pus cells and harmful microbes.1

In some cases, your doctor may also recommend an additional imaging test called voiding cystourethrogram – an x-ray study of bladder and urethra, to analysis the type of bacteria growing inside your urinary tract.1

Management

Urinary Tract Infection -UTI-

Antibiotics are the first line of treatment for kidney infections.1 According to Ayurveda, factors that cause kidney infections should be avoided and a management regime should be followed to effectively treat the condition.2

Additionally, Ayurveda also recommends a combination of healthy diet (ahar) and lifestyle changes (vihar) to manage kidney infections. These include:

Diet Recommendations (Aahar)

Purana Shali (Old rice), Kushmanda (White gourd), Patola (pointed gourd), Talaphala (Toddy palm), Urvaru (Cucumber), Khajura etc. are all good in Mutra vikaras (Diseases pertaining to urinary tract)

  • Increase intake of fresh fruits like citrus fruits and vegetables
  • Avoid foods that lead to indigestion
  • Avoid the following in your diet
    • Meat – especially sea food
    • Heavy foods
    • Excess salt
    • Astringent foods

Lifestyle changes (Vihar)

  • Avoid suppressing your urge to urinate
  • Avoid indulging in excessive exercises as that may lead to physical stress
  • Avoid indulging in excessive sexual activity and unprotected sexual activity
  • Be careful while horse riding, if practiced on a regular basis

 

FAQS

Urinary Tract Infection -UTI-
  1. How does stones form in our kidneys?

Many a times, kidney stones will not have a single cause, and there could be several factors that increase its risk. Higher concentration of crystal-forming substances in the urine — such as calcium, oxalate and uric acid can cause crystallization of these salts. Additionally, lack of substances in urine which will prevent crystal formation end up creating the perfect environment for formation of kidney stones.

  1. What is pyelonephritis?

The infection of the kidney is medically termed as pyelonephritis. It is a type of urinary tract infection (UTI) that usually starts from the lower organs such as the urethra or urinary bladder and gradually moves up to the kidneys. Such infections need immediate medical attention as if left untreated they can cause  permanent damage to the kidneys.

  1. How does CKD develop?

CKD happens due to any secondary condition that impairs the functioning of the kidneys over a period of time. Some of these secondary conditions are-

  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Inflammation of kidneys
  • Polycystic kidney disease
  • Enlarged prostate problems, kidney stones
  • Some cancers
  • Recurrent kidney infection
  1. Do children suffer from kidney disease? How?

Children can get affected with many kidney related diseases. The commonest of these are either an acute kidney disease or chronic long term disease.1 Having a kidney disease can mean treatable disorders without long-term consequences to life-threatening conditions in children. 

As in adults, the causes of kidney disease in children are various secondary conditions of situations, which will impair the functioning of the kidneys over a period of time. Some of these secondary conditions are -

  • Developmental defects of birth
  • Any serious infection
  • Any hereditary condition
  • Any serious major diseases
  • Trauma
  • Blockage of urine
  1. What is acute kidney failure? How is it different form chronic failure?

Acute kidney failure means that the kidneys are unable to filter any waste products from the body and this condition develops rather quickly. Due to the failure of the kidneys to filter blood, dangerous levels of waste accumulates in the body causing severe toxic conditions.Chronic kidney failure on the other hand develops gradually over a few weeks, months or even years.

  1. How does a high BP affect the kidneys?

The condition of having a high blood pressure over a long period of time is known to cause damage to the blood vessels of the kidneys. This damage results in a reduced ability of the kidneys to perform their functions. This is because a high blood pressure requires the blood vessels inside the kidneys to stretch more than usual. Over a period of time the tiny blood vessels of the kidneys start showing scars due to stretching, leading to various kidney diseases. 

  1. What is proteinuria how is it caused?

Proteinuria simply means the presence of ‘protein’ in the urine. This is mostly indicative of poor functioning of the kidneys whereby the proteins are being leaked in to the urine and thrown out of the body. While some amount of protein is found in urine, the quantity increase in kidney damage.

The causes of proteinuria are physiological (meaning temporary), such as after exercise, cold climate, fevers etc; as well as pathological (due to an underlying condition) such as diabetes, kidney tumors, heart disease, liver failure etc.

  1. Why do we have anemia in a kidney disease?

Kidneys perform many important functions apart from filtering he blood. One such vital activity is production of a substance called EPO (Erythropoeitin) which is essential for manufacture of new red blood cells. As the functions of kidneys are hampered in kidney disease, the production of EPO gets affected and results in low RBC production and hence anemia. In advanced stage of kidney disease, where hemodialysis is required, blood loss during hemodialysis also results in anemia.

  1. What is hydronephrosis?

Hydronephrosis refers to the swelling of a kidney that occurs due to accumulation of urine in them. For some reasons, due to a blockage or obstruction of the ureters, the urine being formed in the kidneys cannot move out and gets retained inside the kidneys leading to swelling of the kidneys. This can happen either in any one or both of the kidneys. 

  1. Why are women more prone to getting a UTI?

Women are more likely than men to get an UTI. This is because of the shorter length or the urethra - that allows infections to travel upwards quickly. Additionally, in women, due to close proximity of the anal opening  and the urethral opening, many GI tract infections (Such as those caused by E. coli) spread to the urinary tract.

References

Urinary Tract Infection -UTI-
  1. Mayo Clinic. Urinary tract Infections (UTI). Available at http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/urinary-tract-infection/basics/definition/con-20037892 accessed Sept 13th 2016
  2. Ashish R et al. Etiopathological study of mutrakricchra with special reference to urinary tract infection: A review. Int. J. Res. Ayurveda Pharm. 2016;7(1):1-7

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