Homeopathy for Urinary Tract Infections
Written by Nina Garrard
During perimenopause and menopause female reproductive hormone levels start to change as we head towards the end of our potential child bearing years. There are many hormones involved in this process but the ones we are perhaps most familiar with are oestrogen and progesterone.
As the hormone levels change some women experience some distressing symptoms including chronic urinary tract infections, vaginal dryness, and painful intercourse.
What is a UTI?
UTI’s or Urinary Tract Infections are very common and occur when certain bacteria or microbes enter the urethra and reach the bladder. This is more common in females as with shorter urethras than males, bacteria have less distance to travel from the urethra to the bladder plus anatomically the opening of the urethra is close to the anus where bacteria thrive (hence the importance of teaching girls to wipe front to back after urination or bowel movement).
Symptoms of a UTI can include;
Why are women more prone to getting UTI’s during Perimenopause and Menopause?
UTI’s are the most common bacterial infections in women. 50-60% of women will experience a UTI in their lifetime and 1 in 3 women experience recurrent urine infections and incontinence related to menopause.
As I mentioned earlier, during menopause our oestrogen levels start to decline. Oestrogen plays an important role in maintaining the health of connective tissue throughout the body including hair, skin, ligaments and our bones. Oestrogen enables the body to maintain healthy levels of collagen and elastin, which allow these connective tissues to keep their elasticity. As oestrogen levels fall during perimenopause and menopause, our vaginal, vulval and bladder mucosa become less resilient to any frictional damage which would have previously healed quickly with normal levels of oestrogen in the body. This means that the following issues can occur…
- Thinning urethral tissue makes it more prone to infection
- The urethra can shorten making it easier for bacteria like E.Coli to reach your bladder
- Reduced support to the bladder and urethra can mean you may not be fully emptying your bladder when you go to the loo. This can leave small amount of urine behind which is then prone to becoming infected.
- Bladder infections may occur after sex
Another change that occurs during menopause is the pH in your vagina. A normal healthy pH is low (acidic) but changing hormones can lead to a rise in pH (alkaline). This change in itself doesn’t cause UTI’s but it can alter the vaginal microbiome (the bacteria network) and allow the bad bacteria like E.coli to take over and then spread to the urinary tract causing a UTI.
What can I do myself to prevent getting a UTI during Peri and Menopause?
A few simple lifestyle practices can help keep bladder infections away.
- Drink plenty of fluids to flush any harmful bacteria out of the bladder
- Use the loo when you need to pee- don’t hold it for long periods
- Allow your bladder to empty fully removing bacteria from your urinary tract
- Pee after sex to help get rid of any bacteria
- Consider taking a supplement like D-Mannose on a regular basis if you have suffered from recurrent cystitis. This mono-saccharide (simple sugar) cannot be metabolized or stored in the body so it’s safe even for Diabetics to use. It works by stopping bacteria like E.Coli sticking to the bladder lining where they would then multiply causing a UTI.
What Homeopathic Remedies can help with UTI’s during Peri and Menopause?
Homeopathic Remedies for Acute UTI’s
If you are suffering with an acute UTI then have a look at the following list of remedies and see if any match the symptoms you are experiencing. This is NOT a definitive list but some of the most well-known. If you do not see improvement after home prescribing for 3-5 days feel free to message me for an acute consultation.
This remedy is considered by many to be the No.1 homeopathic remedy for cystitis where there is extreme cutting, smarting, raw, burning pains. Intolerable constant urge to urinate even though only the smallest amount is passed. Burning/cutting pains before, during and after urination. Worse for motion- better lying on back.
Mood wise there will be anxious restlessness and the patient may scream with pain.
This remedy is known for its shooting pains, radiating from a single spot. It may be useful if there are also pains felt in the loins and thighs during urination. There can be a sensation as if the bladder has not been fully emptied. An aching, crampy pain can be felt in the bladder when full or empty. Constant urging with pains worse for movement. Burning in the urethra during menopause.
Mood wise the patient may indifferent, apathetic and weepy.
Apis is indicated when the burning/ stinging pains are worse when the last drops of urine are passed.
Patients can feel as though some urine has been left in the bladder. There may be blood in the urine. Mood wise they may be very irritable.
One of our polycrests and useful in many female complaints when symptoms match. Useful when an emotional upset has preceded the start of a UTI and left the patient in a state needing much comfort. Burning pain felt at the end of the urethra during urination. There may be a sensation of pressure in the abdomen and some cramping pains. Highly likely to be thirstless and not want to drink even though they know they should drink more.
Mood wise they will be tearful and need company.
Another popular polycrest remedy that has helped countless women with a variety of hormonally driven symptoms. One of the key symptoms for UTI would be foul smelling urine alongside cutting pain in the bladder. There will be a sensation in the pubic area of heaviness and of bearing down. Mood wise they will be exhausted and irritable. Sepia is considered, by some, to be the best remedy for UTI’s during menopause but I would caution that symptoms should always match closely with the chosen remedy to achieve optimum wellness.
Useful remedy when the intense burning is felt as the patient finishes urination. The urine may look sandy in colour or contain some blood. Urine may be more easily passed while standing up and only dribble if sitting.
Mood wise they will be extremely sensitive and anxious from the pain.
If you are using remedies at home to treat a UTI then please remember if symptoms don’t improve within a few days always consult a professional homeopath for more advice.
Homeopathy can also be used successfully to alleviate symptoms of chronic UTI’s. This involves more in depth Constitutional and miasmatic prescribing with organ support remedies where needed. This type of case needs the input of an experienced professional Homeopath (as with all chronic conditions).
Chronic Case Study:
*Sarah came to me with history of recurring UTI’s over the previous few years. She was post-menopausal, had a history of prolapse and bladder surgery. She had been on countless sets of antibiotics for the last few years which helped for a week or two, before she relapsed with yet another infection. She was exhausted and utterly fed up. Her symptoms included electric shock like pains during urination, foul smelling urine, sensation of not emptying her bladder fully, having to get up multiple times in the night but only passing tiny amounts. There was a history of grief and loss which was central to her case and a well-chosen constitutional remedy cleared 80% of her symptoms within a week and by the first follow up a month later she was experiencing no pain at all, her urine smell was normal, she was passing larger amounts during the day and needing the loo less during the night. She has not needed another set of antibiotics in the last 6 months and continues to do well and feels she has a new lease of life being able to get out and socialise with more energy than she’s had in a long time.
I hope you find this blog useful and it answered some questions for you.