Acupuncture Treatment for Recurrent Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)
The urinary system is highly sterile and bacteria-free. A urinary tract infection (UTI) occurs when bacteria invade the urinary system and multiply. There are three types of urinary tract infections: urethritis, which is an infection of the urethra; cystitis, which is an infection of the bladder; and pyelonephritis, which is infection of the kidney. An infection that moves into the kidneys can become life-threatening. Often, bacteria from the bowel can enter the urinary tract through the urethra.
UTIs are a common health problem affecting millions of people each year. It is believed that because the urethra is shorter in women, bacteria can enter the urinary system easier than in men, and between 20% and 50% of all women will experience at least one UTI in their lifetime.
Causes of urinary tract infection
Bacteria can enter the urinary system in a number of ways and cause infection. These include:
- Sexually transmitted diseases – Chlamydia and Mycoplasma have been causally linked to UTIs.
- Catheters or tubes placed in the bladder – Elderly people or people that are ill and require a catheter to remove urine from the body are susceptible to UTIs as bacteria on the catheter can infect the bladder.
- Diabetes – People living with diabetes are at a greater risk of developing a UTI as it suppresses the immune system.
- Sexual intercourse – Although UTIs are not considered sexually transmitted diseases, many women find that sexual intercourse can trigger an infection.
- Diaphragm use – Some research exists that indicates women who use a diaphragm are at greater risk of developing a UTI compared to women using other forms of birth control.
Symptoms of urinary tract infection
Not all people with a UTI will experience symptoms, and the number, type and severity of symptoms will vary from person to person. Symptoms of UTI include:
- Frequent urination
- Painful, burning sensation around the bladder area
- Painful urination
- An urge to urinate though no urine is passed
- Cloudy, bloody and/or odorous urine
- Flu-like symptoms
- The feeling of incomplete elimination
- Low back pain
- Abdominal pain
The Preventive Approach for Recurring Urinary Tract Infections
Many women suffer from recurring urinary tract infections, sometimes as many as three or four a year. As a cure for recurrent urinary tract infections, a physician may prescribe a low-level dose of antibiotics for an extended period of time. Other women may be advised to take a day or two of urinary tract infection antibiotics whenever they experience the symptoms of infection. Over use of antibiotics, however disrupts the normal balance of intestinal flora which plays a very important role for immune and other key biological functions. Probiotic supplementation should be recommended in order to restore the balance in combination with the following:
- Drink lots of fluids to help flush bacteria out of the urethra. Some doctors recommend cranberry juice to acidify the urine and slow bacterial growth.
- Urinate when you feel the need; holding urine in the bladder increases the chances of infection.
- Women should wipe from front to back after using the toilet; this wipes bacteria away from the opening of the urethra.
- Women should urinate before and after sexual intercourse to help clear the urethra of potential infection-causing bacteria.
- Acupuncture and Moxibustion treatment can be very helpful to ease discomfort during infection. A series of treatment sessions will help enhance immune system function and prevent recurrent infections.
For more information on how acupuncture can help your urinary tract infection, contact the Pacific Wellness Institute in Toronto. Their experienced acupuncturists can help you determine the best course of acupuncture treatment.
Related Article of Interest
Acupuncture for Overactive Bladder
Acupuncture has traditionally been utilized to treat a variety of urinary bladder dysfunctions and symptoms. Research studies have suggested that acupuncture may be effective in treating chronic prostatitis and chronic pelvic pain syndrome, preventing recurrent urinary tract infections, and relieving recurrent cystitis and overactive bladder. Read more