Ayurvedic management of UTI (Urinary Tract Infection)

Urinary tract infections (UTI), the second most common type of infection in the body is one of the most serious health problems affecting millions of people each year. The urinary tract infection (UTI) involves infection in the kidneys, ureters, bladder, or urethra. These are the organs that urine passes through when eliminated from the body. Women are especially prone to UTIs, even though they generally have anatomically and physiologically normal urinary tract. A urinary tract infection (UTI) also known as Fearness syndrome is a microbial infection that affects any part of the urinary tract.

Symptoms

  • Burning urination
  • Frequent urination
  • Cloudy dark smoky urine
  • Foul-smelling urine
  • Fever
  • Abdominal pain
  • pelvic pain in women
  • rectal pain in men

 

Etiology/ Causes factors of UTIs

UTI is known as Mutrakricchra in Ayurveda and has several etiologies or root causes attributed to it. Various unhealthy food and activities cause aggravation of vata (air), pitta(fire), and kapha (water) in the body. The vitiated state of tridosha (Vata, pitta , kapha) along with mandagni (reduced digestive capacity) produces ama(undigested food particle/toxin). Which when mixed with dosha becomes sama (vitiated doshas mixed with undigested food particle). This affects the mutra vaha srotas (urinary tract) and gives rise to mutrakrichhya.

  • Chronic indigestion
  • Excessive exercise
  • Intake of food or medicines that are excessively pungent and harshly drying in nature
  • Habitual intake of alcohol.
  • Excessive intake of meat (of marsh animals) and fish
  • Irregular and yet frequent intake of food before the previous meal is digested
  • Regularly riding on the back of fast-moving animals/vehicles

Modern medicine describes the causes as:

The organisms that cause infection usually enter the urinary tract by one of two routes. The most common route by far is through the lower end of the urinary tract—the opening of a man’s urethra at the tip of the penis or the opening of a woman’s urethra at the vulva. The infection ascends the urethra to the bladder, and sometimes to the kidneys, or both. The other possible route is through the bloodstream, usually to the kidneys.

Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are almost always caused by bacteria like Escherichia coli, although some viruses, fungi, and parasites can infect the urinary tract as well.

Different conditions in UTIs:

  1. Urethritis

An infection of the urethra, the hollow tube that drains urine from the bladder to the outside of the body.

  1. Cystitis

A bacterial infection in the bladder that often has moved up from the urethra.

  1. Pyelonephritis

An infection of the kidneys that is usually a result of an infection that has spread up the tract, or from an obstruction in the urinary tract. An obstruction in the urinary tract causes urine to backflow into the ureters and kidneys.

 

Management of UTIs by Ayurveda

Management of UTI is achieved through a personalized prescription of diet-lifestyle-herbal medicines-and cleansing therapies or ‘Panchakarma mentioned in Ayurveda classical texts.

The cleansing therapies are local (douching with medicated decoctions) and systemic (Panchakarma)- that lead to a reversal of the pungent (pitta) and excessively dry (vata) conditions prevalent in the urinary tract and in the whole system. With this multi-pronged, whole-person approach, there is a high probability that even severe cases of UTI may be reversed.

Panchakarma is a cleansing and rejuvenating program for the body, mind, and consciousness. It is known for its beneficial effects on overall health, wellness, and self-healing. Panchakarma therapies for UTIs :

  • Snehana (Oral administration of medicated ghee): This procedure has the ability to transport therapeutically effective components to different tissues of the Urinary Tract. This is also helpful in achieving tone and neurological control of bladder musculature.
  • Swedana (Herbalised steam bath):  Swedana is the process of inducing sweat with the help of steam, generated from medicated herbal decoctions. In Pitta’s predominant conditions, steaming should not be done.
  • Vamana (Emesis): Emesis therapy which removes the toxins from the upper part of our body. It is done with different herbal medications being very cautious and under supervision by skilled doctors. Only in Kapha predominant UTI vamana procedure is useful.
  • Virechana (Therapeutic purgation): It is a cleansing method, a very important step of urine infection treatment. Cleansing is performed by giving some herbal purgatives. This helps to eliminate blockage of pathways of Vata humor and alleviates Pitta’s predominant symptoms.
  • Vasti (Medicated enema): This procedure is useful in cleaning the urinary tract. It is most effective in Ayurvedic treatment bringing cleansing of subtle channels or srothas spread all over the body. This is very effective in aggravated Vata through the removal of the blockage in pathways of vata humor thus enable us to calm vata
  • This includes anal administration of medicated oil alone called Anuvasana Vasthi followed by Nirooha Vasthi where medicated oil, suitable herbal decoction, rock salt, honey, and paste of herbal powder are mixed together and administered together. These procedures help in maintaining normal PH, muscle tone, and neurological control of urinary bladder thus useful in chronic and recurring UTIs.

 

  • Uttara vasti (Enema through urethral route): This is different from common vasthi in the way of administration, quantity, and in ingredients. Medicine is applied to the urinary bladder through a urethral route. This is very useful in chronic UTI.

Some other medications for UTIs:

  • Chandrapravati
  • Chandanasava
  • Punarnavadi Guggulu
  • Gokshuradi guggulu
  • Mahatiktakam Kashayam
  • Punarnavadi kwatham

Advice:

  • Drinking lots of fluids.
  • A light diet, free of meat, excessive spices and oils, is highly recommended.
  • Do not hold urge of urine
  • After urination, wipe from front to back to keep bacteria away form urethra.

Pranayama and Yoga for UTIs

Pranayama:

  • Bhastrika pranayama
  • Moola bandha
  • Jalandhara bandha
  • Nadishodhana

Yoga:

  • Surya namaskara
  • Utkatasana (Chair Pose)
  • Setubandha Sarvangasana
  • Malasana (Wall Squat Pose)
  • Savasana (Corpse pose)

 

Note:  This article is designed for the general management of UTI according to Ayurvedic principles. Please do not use this information for your self-diagnosis and treatment without the proper guidelines of a professional. If you wish to follow the Ayurveda program, you are advised to book a consultation with a qualified Ayurveda doctor who is specialized to design a personal program comprising a diet, a combination of herbs, and a detox program according to your personal needs. Sunshine Ayurveda offers effective and holistic management of UTI based upon the ancient principles of Ayurveda.