Urinary Tract Infections and Herbal Remedies

General

Urinary tract is the system that consists of kidneys, ureters, the tubes that carry urine from the kidneys to the bladder, bladder itself, and the urethra, tube that carries urine from the bladder. Urinary tract infections affect men, women and children. They are usually associated with the bacteria that enter the opening of the urethra and spread in the urinary tract.

As a rule, urinary tract infections begin to develop in the lower urinary tract, in bladder or urethra, and then transfer to the upper urinary tract if they are not treated. Most common type of urinary tract infections is cystitis, or bladder infection. Urethritis is the name for the infection of the urethra, and kidney infection is called pyelonephritis. The latter is the thread for the kidney function and requires urgent treatment.
Since bacteria can reach thebladder more easily in women, than in men (due to the shorter urethra), females more often than males develop urinary tract infections.

Symptoms

The symptoms of UTI do not always reveal, but most patients will usually have at least some of the signs of the infection. They typically experience frequent urge to urinate, painful urination, uncomfortable feeling above the pubic bone (in women) and fullness in the rectum (in men). Although patience have the frequent urge to urinate, only a small amount of urine is passed and it may look milky or cloudy, sometimes reddish (if blood is present). If you feel the fever, pain in the back or side below the ribs, nausea and vomiting following all the mentioned symptoms, this will notify that the infection has reached the kidneys.

Causes

Typically, urinary tract infections occur when bacteria (often from the digestive tract) penetrates to he urethra opening and multiplies there within time. In most cases this bacteria is Escherichia coli, organism which usually lives in colon. Other bacteria that may cause UTIs are Chlamydia and Mycoplasma. They usually do not spread further than urethra and reproductive system. These infections are sexually transmitted and require treatment in both men and women.

Traditional Approaches

Antibacterial drugs are the most common treatment for urinary tract infections. Tests will define the length and type of the treatment for each patient with this condition. Trimethoprim, amoxicillin, nitrofurantoin, ampicillin and their brand variations are the options for the UTIs. Doctors also prescribe 1-week antibiotics treatment for more effective results. Heating pad and drinking plenty of water enhance the treatment. Infections associated with Mycoplasma or Chlamydia require longer treatment with tetracycline, trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole, or doxycycline. Though symptoms may disappear before the infection is fully gone, it is essential to complete the whole course of treatment.

Alternative Approaches

Herbal formulas and preparations are also widely applied to handle urinary tract infections. For example, goldenseal root contains chemicals that are recognized as powerful antimicrobial agents. Due to their action this herb is valued for urinary infections treatment.

Uva ursi possesses soothing and strengthening properties and is used as remedy for certain types (kidney, in particular) of UTIs. Herb’s active compound arbutin provides antiseptic properties in the urinary tract and kidneys.

Cranberry juice is an ancient folk remedy; its components prevent bacteria from adhering to the walls of the urinary tract. They sort of wash away the harmful organisms out of the urinary tract. Both cranberry juice (unsweetened) and tablets are effective against these infections.

Buchu, the herb with soothing diuretic and antiseptic properties, is also beneficial in treating UTIs. Other herbs with similar soothing diuretic properties include cleavers, marshmallow root, corn silk, horsetail and usnea lichen.