Urinary Tract Infection
Bladder infections are no fun, as any of you who have suffered from the burning pain and nonstop, often urgent, trips to the bathroom will agree. And, for those of you who have had more severe symptoms such as incapacitating bladder and kidney pain or blood in your urine, it may have been a frightening experience. Bladder infections can come on quickly and, if untreated, can sometimes move up to the kidneys in a matter of hours or days, so they are not to be ignored. If one of our patients calls us with symptoms of a bladder infection, we always ask them to come in the same day.
How Do I Know If I Have a Bladder Infection?
You will most likely begin to feel a sense of pain on urination, either in the bladder itself or in the urethra, where the urine comes out. Although the pain is usually associated with urination, this is not always the case. The pain is often burning. You may also notice that you have to urinate frequently, and that, once the urge hits, you have to make a dash for the nearest bathroom. If your infection is severe, you may notice some blood in your urine or feel pain in the mid back, over the kidneys. Your doctor will take a urine sample and test it for bacteria to make sure it is a bladder infection.
As homoeopaths, we have had many, many opportunities to see homoeopathy work beautifully for bladder infections. Homoeopathic remedies are often helpful during bladder infections (cystitis), relieving discomfort and encouraging quick recovery. These are some of the remedies that I found quite effective in UTI’s.
Aconitum napellus: This remedy is often useful when a person feels anxious both before and during urination, with hot, scanty urine, and a burning or spasmodic feeling in the outlet of the bladder. It can also be helpful if retention of urine occurs after a person has been very cold and chilled, or after a shaking experience.
Apis mellifica: This remedy is indicated when the person frequently needs to urinate, but only small quantities are passed. Stinging and burning sensations are felt (especially with the last few drops) and the person may also experience soreness in the abdomen. Heat and touch make the symptoms worse, and cold applications, cool bathing, and open air bring relief. A lack of thirst is another indication that Apis may be needed.
Belladonna: This remedy may be beneficial if urging to urinate is frequent and intense, and the bladder feels very sensitive. A cramping or writhing sensation may be felt in the bladder area. Small amounts of highly-colored urine pass. (This remedy is sometimes helpful if a person passes small amounts of blood and no serious cause can be found on medical examination.)
Berberis vulgaris: Cystitis with twinges of cutting pain, or a burning feeling that extends to the urethra and its opening, may indicate a need for this remedy. The passage may also burn at times when no attempt at urination is being made. After emptying the bladder, the person feels as if some urine still remains inside. Urging and discomfort are often worse from walking.
Cantharis: Strong urging to urinate—with cutting pains that are felt before the urine passes, as well as during and after—may indicate a need for this remedy. Only several drops pass at a time, with a scalding sensation. The person may feel as if the bladder has not been emptied, still feeling a constant urge to urinate.
Borax: This remedy can be helpful for cystitis with smarting pain in the urinary opening and aching in the bladder, with a feeling that the urine is retained. Children may cry or shriek, afraid to urinate because they know the pain is coming. Borax is often indicated for people who are sensitive to noise and inclined toward motion sickness.
Chimaphila umbellata: If a person has a troublesome urge to urinate but has to strain (or even stand up and lean forward) to make it pass, this remedy may be useful. A scalding sensation may be felt while the urine flows, with a feeling of straining afterward.
Clematis: This remedy may be indicated if a person has to urinate frequently with only a small amount being passed. A feeling of constriction is felt in the urinary passage, and the flow may be interrupted, or there may be dribbling afterward. A tingling sensation may occur, lasting long after urination is finished.
Equisetum: If cystitis is accompanied by dull but distressing pain and a feeling of fullness in the bladder, even after urinating, this remedy may be helpful. Urging and discomfort are more intense when the bladder has recently been emptied, improving over time as the bladder become more full.
Lycopodium: This remedy may be helpful if a person has to urinate frequently during the night and passes large amounts of urine. Or the person may feel a painful urge, but has to strain to make the urine flow. Pain may be felt in the back before the urine passes. (If fever is present, the urine has a reddish color, or discomfort is felt in the kidney region, the person should see a doctor.)
Nux vomica: Irritable bladder with a constant need to urinate, passing only small amounts, suggests a need for this remedy. Burning or cramping pain may be felt in the bladder area, with an itching sensation in the urethra while the urine passes. The person may feel very irritable, impatient, and chilly. Symptoms may be relieved by hot baths or other forms of warmth.
Sarsaparilla: This remedy is often useful in cystitis and often helps when symptoms are unclear, or if other remedies have not been effective. Frequent urging is felt, with burning pain at the end of urination. Urine passes when the person is standing up, but only dribbling occurs while sitting. Flakes or sediment are sometimes seen in the urine. (Sarsaparilla is sometimes helpful when stones are forming or the kidneys are involved; however, these conditions need a doctor’s care.)
Sepia: This remedy may be helpful if a person has to urinate frequently, with sudden urging, a sense that urine will leak if urination is delayed, and small amounts of involuntary urine loss. The person may experience a bearing-down feeling in the bladder region, or pressure above the pubic bone. A person who needs this remedy often feels worn-out and irritable, with cold extremities, and a lax or sagging feeling in the pelvic area.
Staphysagria: This remedy is often indicated for cystitis that develops in a woman after sexual intercourse, especially if sexual activity is new to her, or if cystitis occurs after every occasion of having sex. Pressure may be felt in the bladder after urinating, as if it is still not empty. A sensation that a drop of urine is rolling through the urethra, or a constant burning feeling, are other indications. Staphysagria is also useful for cystitis that develops after illnesses with extended bed rest, or after the use of catheters.
A Few Do’s and Don’ts.
- Do rest and do listen to what your body is trying to tell you through the infection.
- Do look for the underlying cause. It’s important that you learn the lesson your bladder infection is trying to teach you so you don’t have to go through it again.
- Do breathe into the pain and try to relax.
- Don’t have sex while you have an acute bladder infection.
- Don’t wear a diaphragm or a cervical cap.
- Don’t take a hot tub or extremely hot bath.
- Don’t overstress yourself.
- Don’t wear tight clothing around the abdomen and pelvis.
Drink! Drink! Drink!
Be sure to chug as much water as you possibly can during an acute bladder infection. Whenever you have any infection, cut out sweets. Avoid caffeine and nicotine, which are known to irritate the bladder. Vitamin C can also be helpful. We hope that these tips will put an end to your discomfort from bladder infections and convince you that homoeopathy can work beautifully, especially if you begin them at the first hint of a urinary infection. May your relief be rapid!