Urinary Tract Infections

Overview

The majority of Urinary Tract Infections (UTI's) occur in women. A UTI is when bacterial causes inflammation in the urinary system. The majority of the time the inflammation is caused by the transfer of E. coli from the anus to the urethra. E. coli is the causal agent in 80-95% of acute, non-complicated UTI's. Infection can ascend from bladder into kidney resulting in an infection (pyelonephritis). Chronic pyelonephritis symptoms can be so mild in long-standing inflammation of the kidney that this condition may go unnoticed. In severe cases acute pyelonephritis may go onto sepsis, which is when the bloodstream is overwhelmed with bacteria. A vicious cycle of repeated infections may also occur.

These may exist as acute, recurrent episodes, or chronic infections. They may occur in menstruating women due to sexual activity, and in post-menopausal women, due to lack of estrogen - bacteria adheres to the wall more easily. UTI's can be very serious accounting for approximately 7 million doctor visits and about 100,000 hospital visits per year.

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Symptoms

If kidneys are involved, fever, chills, nausea, vomiting, and severe loin and back pain will most likely occur. Infection is usually due to the bladder not efficiently evacuating itself. Changes in blood flow may mimic UTI. This hypersensitivity is due to changes in blood flow from endometriosis, lower back problems and hormone problems.

Diet

  • Drink plenty of fluids
  • Avoid acidifying foods, eat alkalinizing foods (add ¼ teaspoon baking soda)
  • Drink plenty of fluids
  • ½ teaspoon of Mannose every 1-2 hours prevents bacteria sticking to wall (cranberries and blue berries contain high levels of mannose - both acidify urine, so may increase discomfort)
  • Alkalinize the body
  • Restrict calorie intake, avoid simple sugars, refined carbohydrates, and full-strength fruit juices
  • Eat lots of garlic and onions
  • Eliminate ready-to-eat cereals, corn syrup, pastries, white bread, yeast-feeding foods, dried fruits, bagels, pasta, pretzels, and pizza
  • Avoid foods high in phenylalanine, tyrosine, tryptophan, and tyramine - since they irritate the bladder (avocados, figs, yogurt, chocolate, bananas, citrus fruits, and aspartame)

Nutritional/Natural Supplements

  • Specific vitamins and supplements especially Vitamin A
  • Herbals
  • Probiotics
  • Cranberry (Extract) - its antibacterial effects arise from the presence of proanthocyanidins (PACs). Cranberry's PAC block bacterial cells from taking hold of the cells that line the urinary tract. Also, its strong antioxidant properties play a part by blocking E. coli fimbriae grabbing onto host cells. Other organisms that have these properties include; Staphylococcus, Salmonella, Helicobacter, and Pylori.
  • Hibiscus Sabdariffa - native to Africa and Asia. Both flower and calyx are abundant in bacteriostatic polyphenols including flavonoids, sambubiosides, and proanthocyanidins. The key flavonoid is Gossypetin which inhibits E. coli, Staphylococcus aureus, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. This plant may also exhibit bactericidal properties to Chloramphenicol. Hibiscus also has a strong anti-microbial effect against Candida albicans. Part of the efficacy is that Hibiscus' bacteriostatic/bacteriocidal compounds are excreted through the urine in high concentrations.

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Management

A majority of the time, antibiotics can clear up a UTI relatively quickly. In women, to avoid URI try the following:

  • Only void after intercourse if feel need to void
  • Avoid overly large diaphragm (obstructs bladder neck)
  • Also avoid too large of contraceptive sponges

Prevention

  • Drink/eat cranberries regularly
  • Take showers rather than baths
  • Clean well before and after intercourse
  • Wear cotton underwear
  • Wipe posterior, inferior to superior (front to back) after bowel movement
  • Avoid high amounts of caffeine, alcohol and spicy foods

Overall, Dr. Allibone manages each patient on a highly individualized basis so that the root of the problem can be found. Using this specialized method, the center can put each patient on the path to optimal health.

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If we fill our hours with regrets of yesterday and with worries of tomorrow, we have no today in which to enjoy our existence. Seize the day, and take control of your health and life. How you are going to live those tomorrows will depend on how you act and choose today. - George Allibone M.D.