Ayurvedic Approach to Urinary Tract Infections

To maintain positive health is not a tedious task in fact.  But most often we forget our body and invite several diseases. Urinary tract infections are a kind of diseases linked mostly with our neglect of the body. Urinary tract needs absolute hygiene and health to stay away from diseases. As it is a very common condition affecting both men and women it needs some serious attention.

Urinary tract

It is the excretory system of the body which helps to drain urine out. Urine contains excess fluids and waste materials. It contains a set of organs that work together for the same. They are a pair of kidneys, a pair of ureters, a urinary bladder and a urethra. From the microscopic level activities that happen in the kidney to the voiding of urine the system works restlessly 24 hours.

Urinary tract infections (UTI)

          Most of the urinary tract infections are due to bacteria. It can occur at any part of the urinary tract. Upper urinary tract infections are less common. It affects kidneys and ureters. Lower urinary tract infections are most common and it affects urinary bladder and urethra. Upper urinary tract infections are very severe in occurrence.

Symptoms of UTI

          If the lower urinary tract is affected,

  1. Burning sensation while micturition or urination.
  2. Increased frequency of urination.
  3. Less volume of urine voided each time.
  4. Signs of blood in the urine.
  5. Turbid urine.
  6. Discolouration of urine.
  7. Severe pain at the pelvic region and rectal region for men and women respectively.
  8. A slight increase in body temperature.

If the upper urinary tract is affected fever, nausea, chills, vomiting and severe pain over back etc are the major symptoms.

     If the upper urinary tract is affected men and women usually exhibit similar symptoms. In lower urinary tract infection, men feel pain over the rectal region too, which is generally absent in women.

Precautions to prevent UTI

     Precautions should be taken in hygiene, diet, clothes, physical activities, daily and seasonal regimen and the medications.

  1. Proper hygiene of the body is essential to avoid microbial infections. Take bath daily and wipe the body with dry towels. Wash after urination and wipe properly. Do not allow sweat to accumulate over the vaginal and pelvic regions.
  2. Clothes should be clean and dry. Do not wear wet undergarments. Do not use others’ clothes or undergarments. Do not share soap, lotions and towels with others. Do not use used undergarments without proper washing and drying. Women should change napkins regularly during menstruation.
  3. Old foods should be avoided. Overuse of very cold food items should be avoided. Always try to use hot and fresh food.
  4. While doing exercises and other physical activities wear undergarments and clean the sweat regularly. Take a bath after exercises to avoid infections. Do not eat food without taking a bath after exercises.
  5. Follow the daily regimen as mentioned in Ayurveda, which provides elaborate measures for proper body health by maintaining absolute hygiene.
  6. Follow the seasonal regimen as mentioned in Ayurveda. Body conditions will be different in various Ritus or seasons. If summer is the season chances for infections are high. So by following the regimen mentioned for summer we can prevent diseases occurring out of lack of hygiene.
  7. Take medications in proper time without giving a lag if symptoms of UTI are seen.
  8. Drink at least 1.5 litres of freshwater a day.
  9. Urinate frequently. Do not hold urine as it will lead to infections as well as urinary stone formations.
  10. Women should wipe the area from front to back only, after a bowel movement. It will help to prevent the bacteria from entering the vagina.
  11.  Reduce the use of caffeinated beverages which can irritate the bladder and bowel.
  12.  Wash and clean the genital organs after sexual acts.
  13.  Avoid the use of perfumed agents near the vagina.
  14. Maintain proper environmental health. Surroundings should be clean and free of pollution. Hygienic water should only be used for bath, washing, cleaning utensils, drinking, cooking etc.
  15. Avoid the use of alcohol and quit smoking.

Ayurveda mentions various kinds of Urinary tract diseases and most of them carry a similar line of preventive measures as well as treatment. Proper rehydration of the body and absolute hygiene is recommended by Ayurveda. If UTI occurs internal medications to pacify the condition is prescribed. UTI symptoms are related to symptoms exhibited during the vitiation of Pitta dosha in the body. So the treatment and diet should be pacifying Pitha.

Kashayas like Guluchyadi and Vettumaran gulika can be given to reduce the fever during UTI. To rehydrate the body Drakshadi thoyam can be taken frequently. It is a powerful pacifier of pitha dosha which is the major cause for increased temperature, burning sensation etc. Boiled water should be taken always. Njerinjil plant (Tribulus Terrestris) can be used to boil water.  Local fomentation over lower abdomen will help to reduce the pain.

Use of Kashayas like Punarnavadi kwatha, Gokshuradi kwatham etc are effective in UTI. Punarnava plant (Boerhavia diffusa) is a powerful diuretic and medicines containing Punarnava greatly helps in UTI. Guggulu (Commiphora mukul) is also effective in UTI. Guggulu preparations containing Punarnava and Gokshura (Tribulus terrestris) are to be taken.

Ghritha preparations like Gokshuradi ghritha can be taken internally. Fermented medicines like Punarnavasava and Amritharishta are known to pacify UTI. Since infection is there the use of Kirathathiktha or Kiriyaath (Swertia chirata) is a powerful choice in UTI. The plant is highly effective tin infections. Sudarshanam gulika and Kwatha are therefore useful options to treat UTI as they contain Kirathathiktha.

Dhoopana of the rooms using Guggulu, Red sander, Sandalwood, Turmeric, Neem etc or using Aparajitha Dhoopa powder is highly effective in creating an aseptic environment in houses.

From all these, we can conclude that personal and environmental hygiene is the Hallmark of a person in achieving a healthy life. The prevention and cure of UTI are also linked to this. Stay hygienic and live long happily.

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