URINARY TRACT INFECTIONS (UTI’s)
WHAT IS A URINARY TRACT INFECTION?Urinary tract infections are most commonly caused by e coli bacteria. These bacteria typically enter the urinary tract through the urethral opening and travel up the urethra to infect the bladder. The bacteria will stick to the bladder wall and subsequently multiply. If a urinary tract infection remains untreated, it may spread up the urinary tract to the kidneys, which can lead to further complications such as permanent kidney damage.
Women are more likely to get urinary tract infections for anatomical reasons. A shorter urethra allows the bacteria to get to the bladder more easily than in men. Additionally there is a short distance from the anus to the urethra, which makes it easy for e coli bacteria in the feces to enter into the urethra. Urinary tract infections may at times become chronic leading to repeated infections and consistent use of antibiotics. Urinary tract infections are considered chronic when a person experiences three or more infections per year, or two or more infections over a six month period. The consistent use of antibiotics can destroy the beneficial bacteria in the vagina, allowing yeast to grow easily. As a result, many women who suffer from chronic bladder infections also suffer from chronic yeast infections.
Symptoms of a urinary tract infection include:
- Strong and frequent urge to urinate
- Passing of small amounts of urine
- Cloudy, bloody, or strong smelling urine
- Pain or burning sensation while urinating
- Pelvic pain
SUSCEPTIBLE PATIENT POPULATIONS:PREGNANT WOMEN
Pregnant women are at increased risk for UTI’s. Urinary stasis is more likely in this patient population as higher progesterone levels decrease urethral tone, which increases urethral volume and a growing fetus puts additional pressure on the bladder.
Due to declines in estrogen, UTI’s are common in women after menopause. This is in part due to a reduction in lactobacillus (a good bacteria) in the vaginal tract and an increase in vaginal PH, which makes the genitourinary tract susceptible to infection.
Why seek advice from a Naturopathic Doctor for urinary tract infections:
- An ND will customize the treatment plan to your individual needs.
- Urinalysis will be performed to verify that an infection is the cause of symptoms.
- An ND will help you break the cycle of chronic urinary tract infections and chronic yeast infections.
- Supplemental protocols can be provided to both prevent and treat infections, thus minimizing the need for antibiotics. An ND will check supplement interactions with current medications before prescribing to ensure there are no interactions.
- Lifestyle and dietary changes will be recommended in order to prevent infections.