Natural, TCM Remedies To Treat & Prevent
If you’re starting to notice that oh-so-familiar feeling of yet another UTI, it might be time to stop relying on the over-the-counter quick fixes and shift to kicking them for good.
The TCM Reasoning Behind UTIs
In the oversimplified Western explanation, UTI’s (AKA Urinary Tract Infections) are caused by bacteria getting into the urinary tract system. Traditional Chinese Medicine, however, asks why the body wasn’t well enough to protect itself from said bacteria to begin with.
The TCM perspective is that there is too much heat and/or dampness in the body which causes inflammation. It weakens the immune system which leads to recurrent UTIs. Think of it like leaving a wet towel in the corner of your bathroom. It would be heavy, gross and odd smells would start to take over the room quickly. Your body is the same.
Natural Treatments For UTI
Since Traditional Chinese Medicine wants to treat the underlying causes, the treatment is not, “Here, take this antibiotic.” Instead, it aims to remedy both the current symptoms and the problem at its source. The best part, it’s all natural.
Acupuncture gets a gold star when it comes to treating UTIs. You should get a good response very quickly and usually see improvement or resolution within a few days, especially if your acupuncturist gets the Ren 3 point (Middle Summit). It’s located directly over the bladder. The spleen 9 point (Yin Tomb Spring) is another important one. It’s located below the knee along the inside of the tibia. If there’s a UTI, it will likely be sensitive to pressure. Studies suggest acupuncture is very effective for those with recurrent cystitis UTIs so it’s a great option for those who have a recurrent UTI issue.
Inside & Out
During treatment for UTIs, stay away from sweets and make sure to include a protein source with every meal. The protein can make the urine more acidic and it’s hard for bacteria to stick around in that type of environment. Wearing cotton underwear makes air circulation better and prevents a damp environment. When healing from a UTI, it’s a good idea to skip sexual activity, but if you aren’t able to (hey, we all have needs), both partners should shower beforehand to avoid further spread of bacteria into the urinary tract.
Herbs are another great option for treating UTIs. Drinking 16oz of unsweetened cranberry juice (we’re not talking about the fruity, let’s-make-a-cocktail version) a day for 5 days can acidify the urine and help prevent bacterial adhesion. If you don’t like the taste of unsweetened cranberry juice and can’t drink the amount you need, you can get concentrated cranberry syrup from an herbalist. Uva ursi leaf, which has long been used as a urinary antiseptic and diuretic, is also often recommended. Or, perhaps the Oregon grape root since it contains large amounts of the alkaloid berberine which reduces the expression of E. coli preventing its attachment to the bladder.
An Apple A Day…
Prevention should be your first line of defense in fighting a UTI. Staying hydrated is always a good place to start. Also make sure you’re going to the restroom as soon as you feel the need to urinate. This gives your body a chance to flush out any bacteria that may be hanging out just waiting to give you an infection. Wiping from front to back after urinating is ideal. Cross contamination is a sure fire way to cause things to go a little sideways, if ya know what I mean. You’ll probably want to avoid feminine products that can cause irritation like douche, deodorant sprays, etc. When it comes to sexy time, wash up beforehand then urinate immediately after.
So, bust out your hydroflask, and visit a local practitioner if the problem persists.