Urinary Tract Infections

Article by Angela Haldane

Q. I have had a run of urinary tract infections. What naturopathic ways can I help myself?

A. Many women experience urinary tract infections (UTI’s) especially if they are sexually active or post menopausal. UTI’s need to be treated quickly before the bacteria multiplies in the bladder and spreads to the kidneys. The bacteria is most commonly E. coli which normally resides in the bowel – once it gets into the urinary tract it causes problems.

Once you have a fever, blood in the urine, a sense of urgency and anxiety, it is best to take a course of antibiotics from the doctor as UTIs can affect the kidneys if left untreated.

Preventative measures are what you need. Wash before intercourse and pass urine afterwards. As this will get rid of the E coli from the urinary tract. Avoid wearing G strings – they are notorious for promoting UTIs.

Research studies on cranberry have shown to reduce the bacteria from adhering to the bladder wall. In rest homes, those given cranberry juice for breakfast have a markedly reduced incidence of urinary infections. I recommend the cranberry tablets of 15000 iu of cranberry to be more effective in an acute situation. Take 3-5 on the first day, then 3 a day for a whole week – even if your symptoms improve. If you stop sooner, you may still have a few bacteria lurking which will take off again. Since you have had this for a while, I would then keep taking one tablet a day for a month to keep you on the front foot.

If drinking cranberry juice make sure it is good quality unsweetened juice from a health shop.

Another study suggests that by taking probiotics reduces the incidence of urinary tract infections also – they can help the bacteria from adhering also. This needs to be a specific probiotic that addresses the genitourinary tract. I always keep this in stock in case you need this.

If you are perimenopausal, I can provide more information on this in a consultation. How to increase your oestrogen levels through your diet, so the oestrogen can provide a protective effect on the urinary tract.

Keep up the fluids 1.5 litres/day (8 glasses).