A urinary tract infection is an infection which can occur in any part of the urinary system i.e kidneys, bladder or urethra. Ureters are hardly affected by UTI. If infection occurs in kidneys, then it is called pyelonephritis. If it occurs in bladder, then it is called cystitis. If the infection occurs in urethra, then it is called urethritis. There are many causes of UTI, some of which are as follows:
Female anatomy: Women have shorter urethras than men, making it easier for infection to ascend easily.
Urinary tract abnormalities: Some women are born with urinary tract abnormalities, because of which urine is not able to leave the body normally, which makes them prone to recurrent infections.
Bacterial infection: E.coli bacteria are normally present in the large intestine. From there they can travel to anus and then to urethra, which are very closely located.
Weakened immune system: Women with diabetes are also very likely to get UTI infections, because of their weakened immune system, due to which they are less able to fight infections.
Blockages in the urinary tract: If one is suffering from kidney stones or enlarged prostate, then he/she is not able to pass urine completely, which increases the risk of UTIs.
Menopause: After menopause, there is gradual decline of the female hormone oestrogen. There are changes in the lining of the vagina, and the protection which oestrogen provides is lost, so chances of UTI are very common.
Use of catheter: Prolonged use of urinary catheters, makes it easier for bacterias to get into the bladder.
Sexual intercourse: Sexual intercourse, especially if more frequent, intense and with multiple or new partners.
Birth control: Women who use diaphragms have a higher risk of UTI, compared to those who use other forms of birth control.
Symptoms of Urinary tract infection:
Burning or pain while urinating; constant and frequent urging to urinate; passing small amount of urine; urine that smells bad or looks cloudy or reddish; leakage of urine. If the infection spreads to the kidneys, then there is upper back pain, usually on one side or the other; fever, nausea, vomiting. Kidney infections should be treated immediately because they may spread into the blood stream and can be life threatening.
General measures for UTI:
Drink large amount of water.
Avoid holding the urine. Make it a point to empty the bladder at frequent intervals so that infection does not occur.
If the infection is precipitated by sexual intercourse, then it is advisable to wash before and urinate after sexual activity.
Change pads and tampoons frequently.
Wipe from front to back after urinating and bowel movements.
Avoid using diaphragm for birth control.
Wear cotton underwear and loose-fitting undergarments to keep the area around urethra dry.
Homoeopathic medicines for UTI:
Cantharis: Constant urging to urinate but passes only few drops at a time. Urine scalds him and is passed drop by drop.
Staphysagria: If UTI is caused after sexual intercourse (especially in newly wed females) then Staphysagria is the remedy. Burning in urethra when not urinating. Sensation as if a drop of urine were rolling continuously along the channel. Cystitis in lying-in patients. Ineffectual urging to urinate in newly married women.
Apis mellifica: Burning and stinging pain when urinating. Last drops burn and smart. Absence of thirst is characteristic. Symptoms worse from heat and hot applications, better by cold washing and cold bathing.
Belladonna: Acute urinary tract infections. Sensation of motion in bladder as of a worm. Urination frequent and profuse. Incontinence, continuous dropping. Haematuria where no pathological condition can be found.