March 2013

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Heal Chronic UTIsOne in five women will have at least one Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) in her lifetime.

Between 30% and 40% of UTIs recur within six months of an initial episode and many women suffer from chronic urinary tract infections.

Conventional Treatment

Conventional medicine finds that infections are typically caused by bacteria, like e. coli; virus, such as herpes simplex type 2; or fungus, like candida. Although some infections will clear up on their own, it is important to get treatment because the infection can become dangerous if it spreads to the kidneys. UTIs are commonly treated with antibiotics. This becomes problematic if infections recur because the antibiotics will become ineffective and can cause side effects like proliferation of yeast which exacerbates the problem.

Many of the herbs that would be used in a Chinese medicine formula to treat a UTI have strong antibacterial or antiviral properties but they are safe to take over longer periods of time. In addition, a custom herbal formula will treat the underlying deficiency that contributed to the UTI.

Traditional Chinese Medicine Treatment

Traditional Chinese Medicine finds that UTIs are usually caused by the patterns of dampness, or damp heat in the body, and spleen and kidney deficiency. Dampness and damp heat patterns can be caused by a bacterial or viral infection, habitual consumption of heavy foods, or it can be triggered by certain medications. Spleen and Kidney deficiency can be caused by chronic illness, a health problem that was left untreated or treated inadequately, a long recovery from surgery or childbirth, or long term use of immune-suppressing drugs.

A study of the effects of acupuncture on women with recurrent UTIs found that after receiving acupuncture for their individualized UTI diagnosis twice a week for four weeks, 73% of the women did not have a recurring infection in the six months following the treatments. It is also important to note, “Women in the acupuncture group experienced a 50% reduction in residual urine after 6 months relative to baseline (35.4 vs 18.2 mL; P ≤ .01), whereas women in the untreated group exhibited no significant change in residual urine (35.5 vs 38.8 mL).” Usually only 10% of adult women without specific urinary symptoms will have residual urine levels above 10 ml but the researchers found that, “75% of our participants had levels above 10 mL at study entry. Residual urine is a risk factor in the pathogenesis of recurrent lower UTIs among postmenopausal women.” This is also important news for women who suffer from Interstitial Cystitis as urine retention is a common symptom of that illness. Acupuncture can provide instant pain relief and long lasting healing in cases of recurrent UTIs and Interstitial Cystitis.


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