What is UTI?
Urinary tract infection, also known as UTI is an infection that affects any part of the urinary tract including the urethra, bladder, ureters, or kidney. The urinary tract infection can be of 2 broad categories – lower urinary tract infection and upper urinary tract infection. Women are more prone to UTIs since the distance between the urethra and bladder is short, unlike men. 50% of women suffer from UTI at least once in their lifetime.
Depending on the area or part of the urinary tract that is affected by the infection, UTI can be divided into 3 types
A. Urethritis – Infection to the urethra. It is caused by gastrointestinal bacteria which can be transmitted through the anus.
B. Cystitis – Infection to the bladder. This infection is caused by a bacterium name E.coli which is generally found in the digestive tract.
While we know, pain and burning sensation are the most commonly known symptoms of a urinary tract infection, it may present with more symptoms such as
● The frequent urge of peeing
● Burning sensation and itching while urinating
● Strong smelling urine
● Abdominal discomfort and pain
● Cloudy or bloody urine
● Fever and chills
The symptoms and their intensity may vary with each case and can lead to serious consequences if not treated in time.
UTIs are generally caused by the gut bacteria that enter the urethra through the anus. The bacteria enter through the urethra and cause inflammation after multiplication. There are various means for the same
● Poor genital organs hygiene
● Using unclean toilets
● Multiple partners for sex
● Blocked urinary tract, e.g. kidney stone
● Urinary catheters
● Conditions that put pressure on the bladder – enlarged prostate or severe constipation
Ayurveda for UTI
Ayurveda is the most ancient healing science in history. The meaning of the word ‘Ayurveda’ in Sanskrit is a science of life. It is a medical science that has its roots in the Indian subcontinent.
Ayurveda focuses on the balance of one’s life, the approach is to balance an individual’s thinking, lifestyle, and use of herbs for healing. It works on three basic functional principles or doshas which are present in each individual – vata, pitta, kapha.
These doshas are basically combinations of 5 basic elements namely earth, fire, water, air, and space. Vata- a combination of air and space is the energy that is needed for movement, pitta- a combination of water and fire, is the energy required for digestion or metabolism, and kapha- a combination of water and earth, is the energy that is required for lubrication and structure. The cause of diseases in Ayurveda is viewed as an imbalance in these energies.
Although antibiotics are our first go-to options, this infection can equally effectively be cured with herbal medicines. There is a number of herbs such as Vaccinium macrocarpon, Salvia officinalis, Ocimum sanctum, Cinnamomum cassia, etc.
To treat UTI, Ayurveda focuses on balancing all the 3 doshas – vata, pitta, and kapha to begin with.
● Vata dosha – To balance this principle, a full body or local massage with medicinal oils is suggested. These oils are infused with certain herbs associated with healing properties for the infection. It is also followed by local heat treatment in the pelvis area.
● Pitta dosha – This dosha is balanced with the use of cold baths, cooling oil, and cooling pastes. Cooling oils are made by infusing herbs having cooling properties with oil and certain herbs which have cooling properties are used to make the pastes.
● Kapha dosha – Ayurveda experts generally suggest medicines or certain foods through your stomach to balance the kapha dosha. Certain bitter-tasting herbs having the properties of cleansing are used through the stomach to heal.
The herbs that are used in this course of treatment are Punarnava, Gokshura, Shatavari, Chandan, and Coriander. Punarnava and Gokshura help cleanse your kidneys thus helping to flush out the toxins and bacteria. Shatavari has a crucial role when it comes to strengthening your immunity. Chandan works in balancing your digestive system and Coriander is said to balance the pitta dosha.
You are also asked to make certain changes to your diet for the period of treatment. Avoid consuming packaged and processed foods. Make sure you eat homecooked food with minimum spices and oil. Avoid foods that might contribute to internal inflammation such as sweets, fried foods, etc.
Lastly, the emotional balance being a part of Ayurveda treatment, you are also advised to meditate, and include certain yoga asanas in your routine to enhance the effects of the treatment.
As a piece of blanket advice for most diseases or health conditions, panchakarma treatment is also suggested to boost your immunity and balance the doshas. It works wonders as it focuses on hormonal balance as well
Ayurveda is an equally effective treatment option for UTIs. Those who are new to either Ayurveda or natural medicines would prefer antibiotics for the quick effect but we should also know antibiotics come with a set of unpleasant side effects.
Apart from disturbing gut and urinary tract flora, there are various side effects associated with long-term or frequent usage of antibiotics. One can develop antibiotic resistance by using antibiotics frequently.
Whereas, natural treatment such as Ayurveda focuses on the root cause and fixes it. Gut and urinary bacteria are not disrupted, they are in fact promoted in the course of treatment. Ayurveda is associated with lesser side effects on health.
UTIs are most times recurring. Treating the root cause with a holistic approach ensures complete healing and wellness. Ayurveda has tremendous power when it comes to healing and overall health, more because of the holistic approach including emotional health, lifestyle, and use of herbs for healing.
Try andMe’s UTI Drink. &Me UTI drink contains 18mg of Cranberry PAC A – the active ingredient found in Cranberries that is clinically proven to help remove bacteria from urinary tract. Its active ingredients remove bacteria from the urinary lining, flushes toxins, soothe pain and replenishes body of the nutrient loss due to frequent urination.