UTI: When relieving is a struggle

Simple remedies for those suffering from a urinary tract infection

juiceInfections of the urinary tract are usually caused by bacteria. Some of the common symptoms are unusual pain, burning sensation, heaviness in flanks, especially while passing urine, fever, nausea and vomiting, an increase in the frequency of urination, especially with a strong urge to urinate, pain above the navel after passing urine and cloudy urine especially with an unpleasant odour.

Who is at risk

People who withhold their urge to urinate are at a higher risk of UTI. If you are a diabetic [especially if it's uncontrolled], you are at risk of infection due to immuno-suppression. Another source of infection is the prolonged use of catheters [external tubes used to expel urine] by a critically ill person.

Women are more at risk than men. This may be because a woman's urethra is short and is near to sources of bacteria from the anus and vagina, thus allowing bacteria a quick access to the urethra and eventually to the bladder.

Women using diaphragms for birth control are more likely to develop a UTI. If your partner uses a condom with spermicidal foam you are at risk too. Pregnant women often complain of UTIs.

Relief measures

In general

  • Drink ash gourd juice [white gourd, kohla, petha] with honey if you get frequent UTIs. You can also have juice of lemon, beetroot, cucumber, bitter gourd, or sugarcane.
  • Ensure proper hygiene of your genital region [wash and dry the perineum properly].
  • Drink at least 2 – 3 litres of fluid per day to ensure proper hydration of the body.
  • Wash your genital area both before and after sexual intercourse as it helps prevent bacterial transfer to the urethra or vaginal area.

To ease pain

  • Drink a glass of buttermilk added with a pinch of jeera or with cucumber seeds twice daily.
  • Massage the lower abdominal region with hot water bags or heating pads.
  • Drink fresh juice of guduchi [tinospora] leaves early morning.

To control burning and irritation

  • Drink citrus juices as they increase the pH of urinary tract making it difficult for the bacteria to survive thus reducing burning sensations.
  • Eat tender coconut with a pinch of cardamom powder or with half spoon each of jaggery and coriander powder twice daily.
  • Consume spinach juice [15 – 20ml] mixed with honey early every morning.
  • Drink a glass of buttermilk with a spoon of coriander twice daily.

To relieve irritation

  • Douche with alum water as it reduces itching, irritation, frequency of urination, discharge and foul smell.
  • Eat half a teaspoon of cardamom powder with honey twice daily.

To reduce fever and nausea

  • Have a decoction of coriander seeds added with a spoon of sugar.
  • Eat dry grapes [soaked in water overnight] in the morning after mashing it well in the same water.

Some ways to avoid a UTI:

  • Pass urine as soon as you feel the urge. Withholding helps bacteria to breed, causing infection.
  • Pass urine after intercourse as it decreases the likelihood of UTI.
  • Wear loose clothing, as tight clothes irritate tissues, trap heat and promote bacterial growth.
  • Avoid intercourse in severe cases, as it may worsen infection.
  • Avoid caffeine, acid foods, spices, citrus fruits, alcohol, and chocolate.

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Vinaya TM, BAMS, is a Mysore-based ayurvedic doctor presently pursuing MD in SDM College of Ayurveda Hassan in the Dept of Swasthavritta. Apart from ayurveda, her areas of interest include research and preventive medicine.

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