Urinary tract infections (UTI), also known as bladder infections or cystitis, are a common problem for women – and can be an issue at times for men as well. A UTI is an infection anywhere in the urinary tract – those parts of the body that make and store urine and remove it from the body.
Bacteria cause UTIs and these infections can happen in many ways:
- Wiping from back to front after a bowel movement if you are a woman. Germs can get into your urethra, which has its opening in front of the vagina.
- Having sex. Germs in the vagina can be pushed into the urethra.
- Waiting too long to pass urine. When urine stays in the bladder for a long time, more germs are made.
- Anything that makes it hard to completely empty your bladder, like a kidney stone.
- Having diabetes, which makes it harder for your body to fight other health problems.
- Loss of estrogen and resulting dryness in the vagina after menopause. This thins the lining of the vagina and urethra and makes it easier for bacteria to enter.
- Having had a catheter in place. A catheter is a thin tube put through the urethra into the bladder. It’s used to drain urine during a medical test and for people who cannot pass urine on their own.
Symptoms of a UTI can include a burning pain before, during, or after urination. This is usually accompanied by a frequent and urgent need to urinate, although only small amounts of urine may come out, which might be cloudy or bloody. A person with a UTI may experience pain or tenderness in their lower abdomen or back, fever, and a sense of being ill.
Someone with a UTI can often manage to avoid antibiotics with a correctly chosen homeopathic remedy. The key to getting a great outcome with homeopathy comes from matching the characteristic symptoms of the patient to those of the remedy. Characteristic symptoms are often the ones that are particularly intense or peculiar – not common. Be a good detective and you can often get great relief.
Below is a list of the top 3 remedies I have found useful in UTI’s, followed by a more comprehensive list of remedies commonly used for UTIs:
*Cantharis: a remedy par excellence for UTIs. This remedy is the most commonly used remedy for UTIs; frequent strong need to urinate from even the smallest amount of urine, with much burning (can at times feel like a red hot iron is passing along the urethra), cutting and stabbing pain during urination; urgent need to empty bladder, urine often passes in small amounts; may feel urging to go again just after urination. Patient can be restless, frantic with the pain.
*Nux vomica: a very effective remedy when you see blood in the urine and have chills or are generally colder since the UTI. Usually there is a frequent, ineffective urging to urinate with great pressure but only a few drops are passed. Can lose urine if unable to get to the toilet in time. Can have spasmodic cramping during urination, with urge for stool. Urine can be hot. The mood is often grumpy and irritable.
*Staphisagria-the greatest clue to needing this remedy may be the etiology (or cause leading to the condition): 1. after frequent sex, especially in new relationships, 2. in prostate enlargement, 3. after delivery or catheterization, 4. after great anger that is not expressed, or sexual abuse. Burning in urethra when not urinating.
Apis: excessive pain in the region of the bladder. Frequent, painful and scanty urination. Much straining for just a few drops. The pains are always burning and stinging. The patient is better from cold – worse from heat – and is typically thirstless.
Mercurius: frequent urination, urine passes in drops with much pain; burning pain can be worse when patient is not urinating. Urine is often quite cloudy and can have an offensive smell. Patient is thirsty despite having a moist mouth. Patient may perspire profusely – particularly at night.
Nitric acid: the biggest clue to needing this remedy is the odor of the urine: it is often described as smelling like horse’s urine, but many don’t know what that means!
When the odor itself (offensive, strong) is the most striking thing about the UTI, consider this remedy.
Pulsatilla: great urgency felt – impossible to delay. Urine is very painful to pass – often with a burning sensation. Cannot lie on back without desire to urinate; urine may pass in dribbles, and may be involuntary at slightest provocation (cough, sneeze, laugh, surprise). Patient is most often touchy, moody and weepy. Feels better from reassurance, and in general from fresh air.
Sepia: patient is compelled to keep their mind on their bladder lest they lose their urine. Constant urging. Can also have very sudden desire to urinate – with a pain like the cutting of knives. Urine can be milky and burn like fire. Patient is chilly and has symptoms worse from 3-5pm.
Sarsaparilla: unbearable pain in urethra at the end of urination; patient often needs to stand to urinate freely – it only dribbles out when sitting on the toilet.
Dose ideally with a 200C potency to start – placing one pellet under the tongue or one pellet in water, stirring vigorously and taking teaspoon doses as needed. Best to cease dosing when relief begins and redose if symptoms again worsen. As with any medical condition, consult with your N.D. or M.D. if you have any concerns about the severity of your illness – bladder infections can become kidney infections – as it may require medical diagnosis and/or intervention and monitoring.
Other tools to consider: Drink plenty of water. Many people find (and studies have demonstrated) that drinking unsweetened cranberry juice can help flush bacteria from the bladder. And a staple I rely on in practice is d-Mannose, sold in health food stores, which is a naturally derived sugar that actually prevents harmful bacteria from sticking to the bladder wall and colonizing there. These two additions to the correctly-chosen homeopathic remedy are almost a sure thing to help your body overcome a bladder infection quickly and without antibiotics.
If you get bladder infections frequently, best to consult a homeopath and have a “chronic remedy” prescribed, one that treats the whole person, to reduce your susceptibility to getting further infections.