Urinary Tract Infection
How Chinese Medicine treats UTI:
According to classical texts, Chinese Medicine has been assessing, diagnosing and treating the problems of urinary tract infections for about 2300 years.
Chinese medicine calls the organs involved in the urinary system the lower jiao or lower burner, which separates the turbid substances and eliminates them from the body.
We still operate on the theories and terms which were developed in ancient times, so we do not see pathology in terms of “germs” but rather we see the body in terms related to nature. We see the body as microcosm of the world around us. The elements in nature are the elements that when they are out of balance, attack our body. This in relation to the general strength of our body’s energy (Qi)
The symptoms of the urinary tract infection, as well as observations of the practitioner, including diagnosis of the tongue and pulse will lead to a pattern diagnosis. Then a treatment can be prescribed.
Causes of Urinary Tract Infection in Chinese Medicine:
Urinary tract infections can be classified as either an excessive condition- or a deficiency condition.
- Excessive conditions are related to excessive heat and dampness accumulating in the lower burner/bladder.
- Causes include too much spicy or greasy foods, alcohol consumption, certain medications, sexual intercourse during menstruation, direct attack from pathogen (virus, bacteria) or improper hygiene.
- Symptoms include: Frequent and urgent urination, burning or painful urination, cloudy or yellow-milky coloured urine, aversion to pressure on the lower abdomen, alternating fever and chills, bitter taste in the mouth, nausea/vomiting, constipation, a yellow-sticky tongue coating.
- Deficiency conditions are related to weakness of the spleen and kidney organs.
- Causes include prolonged illness, aging, pregnancy, menopause and emotional or physical stress.
- Symptoms include: Dribbling urination, frequent urination during the night, dull pain during urination, sporadic urination, urine coming in spurts, recurrence of infection with fatigue, fever that comes and goes, pain or soreness in the lower back, fatigue, dizziness, and pale tongue body.
Urinary tract infection (UTI’s)
UTI’s occur when there is an infection somewhere along the urinary system tract. Causes include infection from bacteria, viruses or fungi.
UTI’s can be located in the following locations:
Cystitis: Infection located in the bladder. Often caused by Escherichia coli (commonly E. coli), a bacteria which naturally lives in the large intestine.Common symptoms include cloudy urine, maybe with blood, burning pain. It is often seen in women of reproductive age. Burning pain during urination indicates the Damp Heat pattern. Dull or vague pain during urination indicates the Kidney Spleen Deficiency pattern.
Urethritis: Infection located in the urethra. Symptoms may include a discharge containing pus. Often caused by E. coli, but can also be caused by sexually transmitted diseases such as herpes, gonorrhea and chlamydia.
Interstitial Cystitis: Inflammation of the bladder. Pus and blood can be seen or detected in the urine.
Nephritis: Infection located in the kidneys. Often caused by E. coli. This is more serious UTI, symptoms can include chills, fever, lower back pain, nausea and/or vomiting, frequent urination with burning or sharp pain. Frequent urination with burning or sharp pain indicates the Damp Heat pattern. Frequent urination, urgent urination, or painful urination with back pain indicate the Kidney Spleen Deficiency pattern.
Ureteritis: Infection located in the ureters (tubes connecting kidneys to bladder).
To help promote a healthy balance of the urinary system, the following lifestyle recommendations should be followed:
Always wipe from front to back when using the washroom.
- Wear loose fitting clothing, cotton or other natural fibre underwear is recommended.
- Drink extra water and fluids, avoiding sugary juices which lower the immune system function.
- Empty the bladder before and especially after sexual intercourse.
- During sexual intercourse, if something has touched the anus, be sure the wash it before touching the vagina area.
- Drink a tea made from fresh or dried dandelion plant as prevention or when a mild infection has begun.
- Drink a tea made from corn silk (inside part of corn on the cob) as prevention or when a mild infection has begun.