Mar 6, 2017

Urinary Tract Infection : Ayurveda Perspective

What Are Urinary Tract Infections (UTI) ?

Infections that occur in kidney, urethra and bladder are called as urinary tract infections. These infections are caused by bacteria like Klebsiella, Enterococcus, Staphylococcus and proteus. Sexually transmitted organisms like Chlamydia trachomatis and Neisseria gonorrhoeaeare also responsible for urinary tract infections. Women are more vulnerable to UTI than men because the urethra in women is shorter as compare to men.


Some of the common reasons which causes UTI

  • Main cause of urinary tract infections are bacteria which reside around anus. During infection these bacteria can move to urethra further to bladder and spread in to kidneys.
  • Sexual intercourses are also responsible for urinary tract infections.
  • It has been observed that immune compromised patients (HIV/Diabetes) are more prone to these infections.
  • Unhygienic conditions like improper washing of hands also increase the chances of urinary tract infections.
According to Ayurveda, Urinary Tract Infection or Pittaj Mutrakrichhra, is caused by the aggravation of Pitta Dosha. Pitta symbolizes heat or fire. So, a diet and lifestyle that increases Pitta causes UTI. Aggravated Pitta produces heating toxins in the body. These heating toxins accumulate in the mutravahi strotas (urinary channels) and create an imbalance in the infection-fighting properties of the urinary system. It might lead to bacterial growth in the system, amounting to UTI. Many chemical drugs work on bacteria, but these do not work for infection-fighting properties and heating toxins. Thus, such infection can often recur. Ayurvedic medicine, on the other hand, balances the infection-fighting properties of the urinary system and pacifies heating toxins, thereby giving long-term relief to the patient.

Causes
Increased intake of sour, salty, bitter, oily, spicy, and fried foods and tea, coffee, and alcoholic beverages aggravate Pitta (Fire) in the body, which leads to the condition of UTI. Working in the sun or hot weather and excessive physical exertion aggravates the condition.

Symptoms
  • Fever
  • Burning sensation at the urethra
  • Pain
  • Discomfort
  • Burning sensation while passing urine
  • Presence of pus or blood in the urine

Diet & Lifestyle Advice

  • Avoid intake of hot, oily, spicy, sour, salty, and bitter foods.
  • Increase intake of liquids in the form of water, juices, coconut water, and other cooling drinks.
  • Increase intake of pitta-pacifying herbs like green cardamom, coriander, red sandalwood, licorice root, etc.
  • Avoid working in the sun or in a hot atmosphere.
  • Take a cold-water bath 2-3 times a day with ½ teaspoon of powdered red sandalwood added to the water.

Home Remedies
  1. Put 3 tablespoons of powdered coriander seeds and 1 tablespoon of powdered rock candy (or unrefined sugar) in a vessel (preferably an earthen pot) containing 3 cups of water. Keep it overnight. Mix well and drink 1 cup of the liquid 3 times a day. This is a very good remedy for pacifying pitta in the urinary tract.
  2. Have baking soda. It neutralizes acid in your urine.
  3. • Take half teaspoon of baking soda.
    • Add this to a cup of water.
    • Drink it.

    This remedy also makes you comfortable while you pass urine by making the process less painful. Don’t have too much of baking soda though. It is not good for your intestine.

  4. Use magical herb cinnamon to combat infectionThe very common cinnamon herb’s powder is powerful enough to kill those E. coli bacteria causing your UTI. You just have to make tea out of this magical herb and have it for 3-4 times a day.

    You will need:

    • Cinnamon powder- ½ to ¾ teaspoon
    • Warm water- 1 cup

    Directions:
    • Take warm water in a cup.
    • Add cinnamon powder to it and mix well.
    • Drink it.
    • While drinking this tea, keep a spoon ready with you to stir the tea occasionally because if your’s is a true herb, the cinnamon will not blend easily with the water. You’ll need to stir and mix it often till you finish the drink.

    If you are using cinnamon tea to prevent UTI, its enough to drink this tea once a day but if your infection has already set in, have 3-4 cups of it daily.
  5. Get yourself cranberry juice
  6. While cranberry juice cannot treat your UTI, it can definitely prevent the infection by stopping E.coli bacteria from adhering to the urinary bladder lining and urethra. The pure unsweetened juice of cranberries, thus, don’t kill the bacteria but block them from lodging. When you urinate, the bacteria gets flushed away. You should have 50 – 150 ml of pure cranberry juice everyday. If you prefer to dilute your juice, increase its quantity. However, you should be ready for the side effects of cranberry juice. It may hamper the workings of your regular medications that you take for UTI and may also give rise to kidney stones. As soon as you have more than three liters of this juice in a day,you may suffer from diarrhea. Also, this juice is not that effective for men.

Maintain Proper Hygiene and Cleanliness
  1. Don’t ever suppress urge to urinate. 
  2. After urinating, always wipe from front to back.
  3. Whenever you go to toilet, wash your hands.
  4. Avoid washing your genital area with fragrant soaps and other lotions. 
  5. Always wear cotton underwear and they should not be too tight. 
  6. Before and after sexual intercourse, always urinate and wash your private parts.
  7. During menstrual periods, use sanitary napkins instead of tampons. 
  8. Drink lots of water as a rule
  9. Avoid having too hot, sour, or spicy foods.
  10. Move your body, exercise daily at least for 30-40 minutes.
Diet
Ayurveda recommends choosing a diet that will pacify pitta dosha to help cleanse and eliminate the toxins that are bringing too much heat to the body. Pitta is balanced by a diet of fresh, whole foods (both cooked and raw) that are cooling, hearty, energizing, comparatively dry, and high in carbohydrates. Most grains, milk, root vegetables, seeds, and cooling oils are good examples. Pitta’s liquid nature and tendency toward excess oil make drying or astringent foods like beans, potatoes, corn, millet, oats, pasta, popcorn, and most vegetables very appropriate. When cooking, use a moderate amount of a high quality oil or ghee. Reduce or eliminate especially heating oily foods like eggs, hard cheeses, olives, nuts, sour cream, and the like. If given a choice between a soupy, liquidy meal and one that is denser and drier, opt for the latter. Include apples, cucumbers, lime juice, fresh yogurt. Pitta pacifying spices like cumin, neem leaves, saffron, basil, coriander, dill, fennel, parsley and turmeric.

Practice Yoga
Include yoga poses that target the kidney and abdominal area such as Cobra (Bhjangasana), Bridge (Setu Bhanda Sarvagasana), and Bow (Dhanurasana) pose. These help to massage and tone the kidneys and improve the function of genito-urinary organs.


Ayurvedic Treatment for Urinary Tract Infections


     

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