Ayurvedic treatment for Urinary tract infection during pregnancy

Urinary tract infection during pregnancy

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

Definition

Urinary tract infection during pregnancy Ayurvedic treatment

Urinary tract infection (UTI) occurs when harmful bacteria attack the urinary system, causing an infection. The further up in the urinary system the infection is located, the more serious it is and it can result in minor or major illnesses. Urine infection is quite common during pregnancy. If left untreated, some urine infections may progress to cause serious kidney infections and may seriously harm the pregnancy.  1-5

In Ayurveda, UTI is called mutrakcchra (mutra means ooze and krichra means painful), and has the most common symptom of painful urination. In Ayurveda, any type of  discomfort  during  urination and lower tract  infection problems are  considered a part of the condition Mutrakrcchra.1, 6

Causes

Urinary tract infection during pregnancy

Bacteria are usually the cause of UTIs during pregnancy. Some of these bacteria are naturally present on the skin, in the lower bowel, and in the stool. However, urine is typically sterile and has no bacteria. When bacteria from one of these regions enter the urinary tract system, they multiply and cause pain and irritation which are the symptoms of UTI.

Anyone can get a UTi but pregnant women are more at risk. Hormonal changes during pregnancy may predispose women to infections. In addition, a growing uterus presses on the bladder, preventing the complete emptying of urine. This stagnating urine is a likely source of infection. If left untreated, these infections may lead to kidney infections.

Symptoms

Urinary tract infection during pregnancy

Some common UTI symptoms include:

  • Urge to urinate frequently
  • Pain and burning sensation while urinating
  • Having cramps in the lower abdomen while urinating
  • Cloudy and foul smelling urine
  • Blood or mucus in the urine
  • Pain during sexual intercourse
  • Fever along with shivers or chills
  • If the bacteria has spread to the kidneys there may be fever, headache, chills, nausea and vomiting and back pain.

If the UTI goes untreated, kidneys may get involved. Kidney infections can harm the pregnancy and may trigger early labour and low birth weight in your baby.

Diagnosis

Urinary tract infection during pregnancy

Your doctor may recommend you to get a urine culture test done. If you have UTI, your bacteria and pus cells may be found in high numbers. In addition culture tests of the urine samples can also help detect the type of bacteria causing the UTI and also help find the best possible antibiotic that can kill those bacteria.

Management

Urinary tract infection during pregnancy

Ayurveda can play a significant role in urinary tract infection care through a combination of corrective Ahar (diet), Vihar (exercise) and Aushadhi (Medicines) regime.

Diet Recommendations (Aahar)

Diet for UTI during pregnancy is based on what dosha type you are.

Vataja mutrakrcchra (UTI in vata dosha)

  • Increase intake of water, fluids, oils
  • Intake of nourishing, lubricated foods and herbs
  • Reduce quantities of ghee intake per day
  • Avoid cold, dry, sharp very pungent foods
  • Avoid cool/cold drinks
  • Drink lots of cranberry juice
  • Avoid alcohol, coffee, soda
  • Use Demulcents, antimicrobial, tonic herbs
  • Use Vitamin A, C

Pitaja mutrakrcchra (UTI in pitta dosha)

  • Increase intake of body temperature with warm water and fluids
  • Bitter taste and herbs are the best
  • Avoid pungent, sour and salty tastes
  • Reduce quantities of ghee intake per day
  • Drink lots of cranberry juice
  • Avoid alcohol, coffee, soda
  • Use Alterative, antimicrobial, tonic herbs
  • Use vegetarian foods
  • Use Vitamin A, C

Kaphaja mutrakrcchra (UTI in kapha dosha)

  • Have light, purifying diet
  • Avoid cold, heavy, mucus forming foods
  • Avoid soda and juices
  • Drink a large amount of pure water to flush the urinary system
  • Avoid alcohol, coffee, soda
  • vegetarian diet with use of bitter light green vegetables is preferred
  • Use Vitamin A, C

Lifestyle changes (Vihar)

Lifestyle changes for treating UTI during pregnancy is based on what dosha type you are.

Vataja mutrakrcchra (UTI in vata dosha)

  • Lifestyle is focussed to increase ojas (immune system)
  • Limit too much of physical and mental motions
  • Daily yoga and meditation is essential
  • Avoid getting anxious and worried easily
  • Warming and nourishing aromatherapy is beneficial

Pitaja mutrakrcchra (UTI in pitta dosha)

  • Lifestyle is focussed to increase ojas (immune system)
  • Slow down your fast lifestyle
  • Daily yoga and meditation is essential
  • Avoid losing temper and reduce your sexual drive
  • Cooling aromatherapy is beneficial

Kaphaja mutrakrcchra (UTI in kapha dosha)

  • Perform plenty of exercises everyday
  • Perform yogasanas and pranayamas (breathing exercises) everyday
  • Avoid being excessively lethargic and emotionally attached
  • Warming and energizing aromatherapy is beneficial

FAQS

Urinary tract infection during pregnancy
  1. I am 3 month’s pregnant, what diet I should take according to Ayurveda?

Ayurveda recommends right dietary and lifestyle changes along with herbs to promote a healthy pregnancy.

Dietary advice includes –

  • Eating a healthy balanced diet, lots of fruits, vegetables and adequate diary foods
  • Including whole grains and complex carbohydrates rather than processed foods
  • Routine use of folic acid supplements daily. Foods rich in folic acid include lentils, kidney beans, green leafy vegetables, citrus fruits, nuts, and beans.
  • Food should be enriched with all six types of tastes (sweet, pungent, sour, bitter, spicy and astringent)
  • Female with prior history of abortion should avoid brinjal, suran, papaya, celery, onion, chili, garlic, ginger, pepper, mustard, jaggery in diet
  • Those who suffer from constipation, gas, bloating must avoid peas, potato and other heavy to digest cereals. They can take green grams.

During the first trimester Ayurveda emphasizes on nourishing rasa and rakta dhatu, that is blood and blood plasma. This means diet should be rich in juicy fruits, coconut water, herbal infusions (raspberry leaf, nettle, oatstraw). Milk and ghee should be included in diet.

  1. What care do I take for first three months of pregnancy?

According to Ayurveda following lifestyle changes to be made:

  • Include regular exercise and keep fit.
  • Avoid abnormal asanas (positions), avoid sexual intercourse, straining at abdomen, heavy exercise and weight loss programsn
  • Avoid travelling in a vehicle on rough roads, sitting for long hours, lifting heavy objects
  • Avoid negative feelings and thoughts such as sorrow, anger, grief, fear and doubt as these things will affect mental and physical growth of fetus
  • Avoid exposure to unhappy or violent events
  • Avoid sleeping during the day and staying up late in night
  • Do not hold natural urges like holding urine or motion
  1. What can I expect during my 2nd trimester?

The mother’s body changes significantly during second trimester. The discomforting symptoms of the first trimester like morning sickness, fatigue, bloating etc are typically lower during this time. It is sometimes the easiest of the three trimesters of pregnancy. During this time the baby grows rapidly. Some of the maternal changes include

  • Larger breasts. Breast tenderness that was present during the first trimester may be reduced in intensity.
  • Growing uterus leads to a growing belly
  • Starting in the second trimester, there may be a weight gain of about 1.4 to 1.8 kilograms a month until delivery.
  • There may be slight contractions of the uterus wall as it builds strength.
  • Dark patches may appear over the skin. There may be a dark line down the abdomen
  • Stretch marks may also become apparent
  • Nasal and gum problems may appear.
  • Spells of dizziness are common
  • Leg cramps especially in the calf muscles can occur more frequently.
  • Some vaginal discharge is seen
  • Enlarging uterus may press upon the bladder. Bladder and urinary infections are common.
  1. What diet should I take post-delivery?

Ayurveda suggests following diet recommendation post-delivery:

  • Increase intake of foods that include sesame seeds, dry nuts, fenugreek seeds/leaves, garlic, drumsticks & carom seeds to increase milk supply for breastfeeding.
  • Have fresh milk as the first meal of the day to help may help enhance the quality of the breastfeeding milk.
  • Consume and cook vegetables such as beans, squash, carrots, beets, green leafy vegetables and zucchini preferably in ghee.
  • Lentils, cereals and whole grains should be seasoned with whole spices and served hot.
  • Avoid cabbage, potatoes and cauliflower during the first three weeks.
  • Avoid leftover foods, stale and cold foods. 
  1. I am 4 months pregnant and suffer from acidity. What can I do to avoid acidity?

Ayurveda suggests simple diet changes to prevent acidity. Few of them are:

  • Avoid excess greasy or spicy foods
  • Irregular eating habits to be avoided
  • Include more leafy vegetables and Adequate water intake
  • Avoid sleeping just after taking meal.
  • Excessive intake of the caffeine to be avoided. Carbonated drinks are to be avoided
  • The diet should consist of milk with sugar, and a little old rice.
  • Other recommended substances are: barley, wheat, rice (at least one year old), cucumber, bitter gourd, green banana, pumpkin, pomegranate, and cow's milk.
  • Pomegranate juice andpomegranate chutney also help balance the acid in the stomach. It tastes sour, but it is actually both astringent and bitter, which help balance Pitta.
  • Eating small meals more often helps in digestion
  1. I am pregnant and get often constipated. What can I do?

Ayurveda and general medicine recommend a dietary plan for pregnant women with constipation. This includes –

  • Plenty of fluids in diet
  • Adequate amounts of fruits and vegetables
  • Vata and Pitta pacifying diets including warm soupy foods
  • Lightly cooked seasonal vegetables and stewed fruits
  • Inclusion of ghee in diet and large glass of warm water with each meal

Lifestyle suggestions:

  • Light massage with warm sesame oil
  • Regular physical activity can help reduce pregnancy constipation
  • Quitting smoking and alcohol
  • Cutting down on caffeine containing drinks
  • Taking regular and frequent meals
  1. What is dysmenorrhea?

Dysmenorrhoea refers to painful menstruation that is periods with menstrual cramps. These pains are typically throbbing or cramping pains in the lower abdomen. These pains are usually apparent just before and during the menstrual periods in most women who suffer from dysmenorrhea. The pain may range from annoying or a discomfort to severe so that it may be difficult to do you daily routine for few days every month. In some women, the cause of dysmenorrhea may be endometriosis or uterine fibroids while in young girls ovulatory cycles, pin hole and other psychological factors may cause the condition.

In Ayurvedic classics, menstrual pain which is so severe that you cannot do daily activities is termed as dysmenorrhea (Kashtartava). According to Ayurvedic text there are many other diseases in which Kashtartava is considered and is described as a symptom. According to Ayurveda, aggravation of vata and pitta dosha are the main causes of menstrual diseases.

  1. I have endometriosis. Can I exercise during menstruation?

For women with endometriosis, regular rest is important. Women should avoid exercise during menstruation and should keep their exercise relatively moderate throughout the month. In general also, strenuous physical activity, prolonged standing etc may be avoided during periods.

Forms of exercise that regulate the flow of Vata and nourish the nervous system such as walking, swimming, Tai chi, Qigong and some forms of yoga are advisable.

Regularity in daily routine (going to bed and waking up at a similar time each day and regular meal times) is very important for calming aggravated Vata, as is regular self-abhyanga / warm oil massage.

  1. I am not able to conceive since last two years. What could be the reason?

According to Ayurveda, Vandhyatva or Female infertility is a disease of the reproductive system involves the failure to achieve a pregnancy or a live offspring.  Infertility exists when a healthy couple  is unable to achieve pregnancy after  two or more years or  fail  to  conceive  for  several  years  after  the  first delivery.

The causes of infertility may lie in the male partner or in the female partner. Possible causes of male infertility include –

  • Hormonal imbalances
  • Altered quality of sperm that may be low in number or may be unhealthy
  • Blockage of the tube that carries the sperm to the penis from the testes
  • Impotence or erectile dysfunction

The causes of female infertility include –

  • Hormonal imbalances
  • Damage to the fallopian tubes or diseases of the ovaries or womb
  • Fibroids or endometriosis affecting the uterus

Some general causes of infertility include:-

  • Early and Late marriage: Not well development of reproductive organs.
  • Nutrition less & fat rich food: No nourishment of body, tempers ovary function.
  • Tight clothing & mobile: Overheating of testis leads to low sperm count.
  • Smoking & alcoholism: Lowers motility of sperms and lowers LH hormones.
  • Improper hygiene of genital organs: Causes infection of genital tract.
  • Stress: Loss of energy and enthusiasm to do sex.
  • Loss of libido. Affects HPO axis leads to impairment of ovarian function. e to above causes disord

Long term diseases, psychological or environmental factors may cause infertility in both men and women. With age fertility usually declines.

  1. Is menopause a disease?

Menopause is a natural physiological state. It is defined as occurring 12 months after a woman’s last menstrual period and marks the end of menstrual cycles. Menopause can happen in the 40s or 50s. It is a natural biological process that ends the fertility. However it is no reason not to stay healthy and vital.

Ayurveda describes menopause as a normal stage of life that comes with aging. ‘Vata’ increased during the later years of life. Hence symptoms of menopause experienced by some women are similar to the symptoms seen when the Vata dosha rises and upsets the normal balance of the body. Vata-type menopausal symptoms are depression, anxiety, and insomnia (not able to sleep properly). There can be involvement of more than one dosha in menopause. Women with Pitta-type symptoms are often angry and suffer hot flashes. Kapha type symptoms include low mood, weight gain, and feelings of mental and physical heaviness.

 

References

Urinary tract infection during pregnancy
  1. Ranjbarain M. Urinary tract infection (UTI): Western and Ayurvedic Diagnosis and Treatment Approaches. http://www.ayurvedacollege.com/sites/ayurvedacollege.com/files/articles/Urinary%20tract%20infection%20by%20Mahsa%20Ranjbarian.pdf.
  2. Pregnancy and urinary tract infections. http://www.webmd.com/women/guide/pregnancy-urinary-tract-infection#1
  3. Urinary tract infections during pregnancy. http://americanpregnancy.org/pregnancy-complications/urinary-tract-infections-during-pregnancy/
  4. Urinary infection in pregnancy. http://patient.info/in/health/urine-infection-in-pregnancy
  5. Urinary tract infections. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/urinary-tract-infection/basics/definition/con-20037892
  6. Jain R et al. Ayurveda and urinary tract infections. J Young Pharm. 2010 Jul-Sep; 2(3): 337.

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