Urinary Tract Infections (UTI) are the infections in any part of the urinary system—kidneys, ureters, bladder and urethra. Most of the infections involve the lower urinary tract i.e. in the bladder and in the urethra. Women are more susceptible to these infections rather than men. Infection which is limited to bladder is painful but serious consequences can occur if UTI spreads to kidneys.
Urinary Tract Infections (UTI) is a global health condition affecting many people worldwide. Primarily the UTI was caused by gram-negative bacteria and involvement of gram-positive bacteria was very less. Escherichia coli (80%), Proteus mirabilis, Klebsiella pneumonia and Enterobacter aerogenes were common gram-negative bacteria while Staphylococcus saprophyticus, Enterococci and Staphylococcus aureus were gram negative bacteria responsible for urinary tract infections as uncontrolled use of antibiotics resulted in bacterial resultant which converted into a threatening condition in the present world.
Pseudomonas and Escherichia coli were most susceptible bacteria for the development of multi-drug resistance (MDR). In recent years, the problem of drug resistance to human pathogenic is growing day by day and the outlook for the use of drugs in future aspect is uncertain. Therefore, there is a need of some alternative and effective medicine particularly of natural origin with an ultimate goal to provide efficient treatment to the patient.
Various efforts have been done worldwide to find out novel anti-microbial agents from plants which may act through different mechanisms other than those currently used antimicrobials and might be noteworthy in clinical practice for the management of MDR microbial strains. These practices are based on traditional and cultural uses. Therefore, there is a vital need for thoroughly investigating such plants not only on laboratory bacterial strain but also clinically isolated microbe to develop them into magic bullet to treat various disease conditions.
Urinary Tract Infections according to Ayurveda
- According to Ayurveda, Urinary Tract Infection is known as Pittaja Mutrakrichhra is caused by the aggravation of Pitta dosha. Diet and lifestyle that causes aggravation of Pitta dosha also increases infection. Aggravated Pitta produces toxins in the body and these toxins accumulate in the mutravahi srotas and create an imbalance in the defence system of urinary system and lead to bacterial growth.
- Many drugs work on the bacteria responsible for these infections but these drugs do not work on improving the body’s defence mechanism. Further, antibiotics increase Pitta dosha in the body further deteriorating the condition but Ayurvedic treatment pacify the heating toxins thereby providing long term relief to the patient.
What are the symptoms of Urinary Tract Infections?
- Burning sensation while urinating
- Passing frequent, small amount of urine
- Strong and persistent urge to urinate
- Strong smelling urine
- Pelvic pain in women especially in the centre of pelvis and around the area of pubic bone.
- Cloudy appearance of urine
- Urine that appears red or cola coloured which is a sign of blood in the urine
Types of Urinary Tract Infection
There are types of urinary tract infections depending on the type of urinary tract which is infected.
- Acute Pyelonephritis affecting the kidneys in which there is pain in upper back, shaking, fever, chills, nausea and vomiting.
- Cystitis affecting the bladder in which there is a pressure on the pelvis, discomfort in the lower abdomen, frequent and painful urination and blood in urine.
- Urethritis affecting the urethra in which there is burning sensation during urination.
Risk factors associated with Urinary Tract Infections -These factors are more common in women because—
- Female Anatomy—Woman’s urethra is shorter than man’s urethra which shortens the distance that bacteria must travel to reach the bladder.
- Using certain types of birth control—Women who use diaphragms for birth control are at a greater risk.
- Menopause—After menopause, there is a decline in the circulating estrogens which causes changes in the urinary tract that makes a woman more susceptible to infection.
Other factors are
- A suppressed immune system—Diseases like—diabetes impair the immune system which increase the risk of UTIs.
- Blockages in the urinary tract—An enlarged prostate or kidney stones can trap urine in the bladder and can increase the risk of UTIs.
- Keep 3 tablespoons of powdered coriander seeds and 1 tablespoon of mishri mixed in 3 cups of water overnight and drink 1 cup of this liquid 3 times a day. This is a very effective remedy for pacifying Pitta in the urinary tract.
- Amla—Amla (Indian gooseberry) juice (3-4 spoons) mixed with sugar (1 spoon) must be taken 2-3 times a day or dip Amla powder smashed raisins and sugar in water overnight and drink this water in the morning empty stomach.
- Buttermilk—Take lot of buttermilk but be sure it is not sour. Remove its sour contents and dilute it with twice quantity of water but it should not be refrigerated. Take 1 glass of buttermilk with pinch of black pepper or cumin seeds and drink it at regular intervals 4-5 times a day.
- Coconut water—Take tender coconut water with jaggery or with coriander powder 2-3 times a day.
- Cucumber—Cucumber relieves burning sensation during urination and also brings down body heat. To 1 cup of cucumber juice, add 1 tsp of honey and lemon juice and take 1-2 times a day.
- Radish—Take radish juice 1-2 times a day.
- Carrot Juice—Taking carrot juice everyday helps in building immunity and also improves metabolism. It also maintains normal pH of urine thus reduces burning sensation. Take carrot juice 2 times a day.
Things to be Avoided
- Avoid intake of hot, oily, spicy, sour, salty and bitter foods as these foods increase acidity and can make urine more acidic.
- They increase Pitta and Vata which are the chief causes for Mutrakrichra.
- Increase the intake of Pitta pacifying herbs like—coriander, red sandalwood, licorice root etc.
- Increase the intake of liquids in the form of water, juices, coconut water. Avoid working in the sun or in hot atmosphere such as near furnaces