Urinary tract infection involves infection in any part of the urinary system. Urinary tract infection is the most common type of infection world over. The urinary tract is divided into the upper and the lower urinary tract. The upper urinary tract includes a pair of kidneys and a pair of ureters and the lower urinary tract includes the bladder and the urethra. The urethra which is a tube that carries urine from bladder to the outside of the body is located close to the anus. Therefore, microbes from large intestine can easily escape from the anus and enter urethra. Following the course of urinary system from the urethra the bacteria can travel up to the bladder and even the kidneys if the infection is not controlled by the defense mechanism in the urinary tract. Depending on which part of the urinary tract is infected UTI’s are given different names such as cystitis for urinary bladder infection, urethritis for infection of the urethra and pyelonephritis for kidney infection. Ureters are very rarely infected.
- Infection of the bladder (cystitis): This type of UTI is usually caused by Escherichia coli (E. coli), a type of bacteria commonly found in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. However, sometimes other bacteria are responsible.
- Infection of the urethra (urethritis): This type of UTI can occur when GI bacteria spread from the anus to the urethra. Also, because the female urethra is close to the vagina, sexually transmitted infections, such as herpes, gonorrhea, chlamydia and mycoplasma, can cause urethritis.
- Female anatomy: A woman has a shorter urethra than a man does, which shortens the distance that bacteria must travel to reach the bladder.
- Sexual activity: Sexually active women tend to have more UTIs than do women who aren’t sexually active. Having a new sexual partner also increases your risk.
- Certain types of birth control: Women who use diaphragms for birth control may be at higher risk, as well as women who use spermicidal agents.
- Menopause: After menopause, a decline in circulating estrogen causes changes in the urinary tract that make you more vulnerable to infection.
- Urinary tract abnormalities: Babies born with urinary tract abnormalities that don’t allow urine to leave the body normally or cause urine to back up in the urethra have an increased risk of UTIs.
- Blockages in the urinary tract: Kidney stones or an enlarged prostate can trap urine in the bladder and increase the risk of UTIs.
- A suppressed immune system: Diabetes and other diseases that impair the immune system; the body’s defense against germs can increase the risk of UTIs.
- Catheter use: People who can’t urinate on their own and use a tube (catheter) to urinate have an increased risk of UTIs. This may include people who are hospitalized, people with neurological problems that make it difficult to control their ability to urinate and people who are paralyzed.
- A recent urinary procedure: Urinary surgery or an exam of your urinary tract that involves medical instruments can both increase your risk of developing a urinary tract infection.
Symptoms of urinary tract infection (UTI)
Symptoms of a UTI depend on what part of the urinary tract is infected.
Lower tract UTIs affect the urethra and bladder. Symptoms of a lower tract UTI include:
- Burning with urination
- Increased frequency of urination without passing much urine
- Increased urgency of urination
- Bloody urine
- Cloudy urine
- Urine that looks like cola or tea
- Urine that has a strong odor
- Pelvic pain in women
- Rectal pain in men
Upper tract UTIs affect the kidneys. These can be potentially life threatening if bacteria move from the infected kidney into the blood. This condition, called urosepsis, can cause dangerously low blood pressure, shock, and death.
Symptoms of an upper tract UTI include:
- Pain and tenderness in the upper back and sides
- Diagnostic imaging: This involves assessing the urinary tract using ultrasound, CT and MRI scanning, radiation tracking, or X-rays.
- Urodynamics: This procedure determines how well the urinary tract is storing and releasing urine.
- Cystoscopy: This diagnostic exam allows the doctor to see inside the bladder and urethra with a camera lens, which inserted through the urethra through a long thin tube.
Homeopathy treats the person as a whole. It means that homeopathic treatment focuses on the patient as a person, as well as his pathological condition. The homeopathic remedies for UTI are selected after a full individualizing examination and case-analysis, which includes the medical history of the patient, physical and mental constitution etc. A miasmatic tendency (predisposition/susceptibility) is also often taken into account for the treatment of chronic conditions. The medicines given below indicate the therapeutic affinity but this is not a complete and definite guide to the treatment of this condition. The symptoms listed against each medicine may not be directly related to this disease because in homeopathy general symptoms and constitutional indications are also taken into account for selecting the homeopathic remedies for UTI.
The symptoms of scanty urine always lead one to consider whether Apis is or is not the remedy, for although Apis produces scanty urine there are number of other drugs that will do the same thing. The keynotes for Apis in urinary affections are scanty or suppressed urine, drowsiness, oedema in various parts, thirstlessness and suffocation on lying down. The urine is dark, highly albuminous, and contains casts, so it is readily seen how Apis may correspond to any form of Bright’s disease. In difficult micturition of children Apis is often a useful remedy. It has frequent desire, with the passage of a few drops at a time. Among other symptoms are great irritation at the neck of the bladder and incontinence of urine.
Apocynum seems to act somewhat on the kidneys and give rise to various dropsical conditions. It produces a scanty urine, which is light in color, or, as it is given, sherry-colored. Its first effect is to produce a copious dieresis; this is followed by the scantiness of urine which results in dropsy. It also produces an incontinence and may be useful in enuresis. A sinking bruised feeling at the stomach is an indication for its use. Apis is thirstless.
Cantharis symptoms are usually the first ones inquired after when a case of urinary difficulty presents itself. There is a persistent and violent urging to urinate, with great tenesmus; the urine is passed only in drops and seems like molten lead passing through the urethra, so intense is the burning. There is with this, usually an aching in the small of the back. It is often indicated in acute cystitis, gravel and urethritis, the great keynotes being the burning and the tenesmus of the bladder; haematuria also calls for Cantharis under certain conditions.
Nitric Acid is one of the most effective medicines for urinary tract infection where the major symptoms include burning while passing urine that is highly offensive. Urine is scanty. Another attending feature is cloudy urine, dark urine and blood in urine.
This remedy is often useful in cystitis and often helps when symptoms are unclear, or if other remedies have not been effective. Frequent urging is felt, with burning pain at the end of urination. Urine passes when the person is standing up, but only dribbling occurs while sitting. Flakes or sediment are sometimes seen in the urine.
In the case of urinary tract infection with a persistent urge to urinate, Petroselinum Sativum is the most appropriate prescription. The urge to pass urine is sudden. Burning and tingling pain in urethra is experienced while passing urine. Marked itching in urethra may accompany.
Cystitis with twinges of cutting pain, or a burning feeling that extends to the urethra and its opening, may indicate a need for this remedy. The passage may also burn at times when no attempt at urination is being made. After emptying the bladder, the person feels as if some urine still remains inside. Urging and discomfort are often worse from walking.
This remedy can be helpful for cystitis with smarting pain in the urinary opening and aching in the bladder, with a feeling that the urine is retained. Children may cry or shriek, afraid to urinate because they know the pain is coming. Borax is often indicated for people who are sensitive to noise and inclined toward motion sickness.
If a person has a troublesome urge to urinate but has to strain (or even stand up and lean forward) to make it pass, this remedy may be useful. A scalding sensation may be felt while the urine flows, with a feeling of straining afterward.
This remedy may be indicated if a person has to urinate frequently with only a small amount being passed. A feeling of constriction is felt in the urinary passage, and the flow may be interrupted, or there may be dribbling afterward. A tingling sensation may occur, lasting long after urination is finished.
If cystitis is accompanied by dull but distressing pain and a feeling of fullness in the bladder, even after urinating, this remedy may be helpful. Urging and discomfort are more intense when the bladder has recently been emptied, improving over time as the bladder become full.