Signs of a Bladder Infection
- burning sensation while urinating
- pressure or discomfort in the lower pelvis
- frequent or constant urge to urinate
- passing small amounts of urine at a time
- cloudy or strong smelling urine
- low grade fever
- blood in urine (when advanced or moved into the kidneys)
- in older individuals, the only presenting symptom might be confusion - so keep an eye on your loved ones
Children can show signs of low appetite, fussiness, lack of urine control or wetting after being toilet trained. Constipation also seems to particularly relate to these infections in kids.
What causes Urinary Tract Infections?
Microorganisms, most often bacteria from the bowel, can infiltrate the urinary tract and lead to infection. Therefore, hygiene and wiping front to back are common fixes for infections in children. Other significant causes that are particularly relevant right now are holding urine too long and dehydration. I'm finding many people are avoiding drinking before running errands, or forgetting to drink because of wearing a mask. The lack of bathroom access in public or lack of desire to use public restrooms is making people hold their urine for much longer than they would have previously, which is one reason why I think I'm seeing the current increase in cases.
Females are more susceptible due to shorter urethras (less distance for bacteria to travel). Also, hormonal contraception, diaphragms and spermicides can increase likelihood of infection because of incomplete urinary voiding and disruption of good bacteria.
In addition, there are other infections and conditions like hormonal imbalance or being postmenopausal, enlarged prostate, having diabetes, catheter use, structural differences, medications and neurological conditions that cause cystitis (inflammation of the bladder).
They are diagnosed with a urinalysis dipstick and then often a culture, particularly if infections are recurrent, to determine which microbe is causing the infection.
How to Prevent a Bladder Infection
- Drink water - if you're hesitant to drink before going out, try to drink a little less beforehand but then compensate later on, also limit caffeine and alcohol because they are diuretics and bladder irritants
- Go when you have to go - this one can be trickier, and I will embarrassingly admit that I've been peeing in nature more than ever... it's just the reality right now
- Hygiene practices like wiping front to back, regular washing, and urinating after sex
- Cotton, breathable undergarments and loose fitting clothing
- Drink Cranberry juice - the real stuff, 2 or more cups per day to prevent adherence of bacteria to the bladder wall, sometimes I'll add sparkling water to cut the tartness a little bit
- Probiotics - certain probiotics are protective or even support immune function of the urinary tract
- Manage constipation - there are lots of tips to get the bowels working regularly: hydration, fibre (vegetables and flax seed especially), and other strategies are a good start
- Vitamin C - at least 1000mg per day, especially helpful for UTIs in pregnancy
- Water and Cranberry Juice
- D-Mannose - 500-1000mg twice per day
- Probiotics, for example Women's Ultra Flora (Metagenics,) is a formula especially geared towards UTIs
- Herbal remedies like Uritin (St Francis), Berberine, Garlic, Barberry are helpful to combat infection and soothe the tissues to relieve symptoms
- Vitamin C - 1000mg two or three times daily
- Work on the kidneys - I will do herbal and homeopathic cleanses to improve the functional health of the kidneys
- Antibiotics can do the trick, but aren't recommended for recurrent infections because many time E. coli can be resistant to treatment and the overuse of antibiotics impacts the gut flora, vaginal flora, overgrowth of candida, and immune function
-> I can create a tailored plan for you if this comes up
The reason we urinate is to excrete waste and extra water that is filtered from the blood by the kidneys. Keep an eye out for kidney infection signs like high fever, back or flank pain,
to avoid complications. Kidney stones are something else I've seen frequently this year, but they are another topic ;)
As you know, I enjoy connecting our physical symptoms with other aspects of our health. Traditional Chinese Medicine relates kidneys and bladder with the emotion of fear - I think we can agree that emotion is fairly prevalent right now. Furthermore, in Louise Hay's book "You Can Heal Your Life", she relates bladder problems to: anxiety, fear of letting go, holding onto old ideas, being pissed off... her recommended mantra to address these emotional roots is, "I comfortably and easily release the old and welcome the new in my life. I am safe."
Wishing you a wonderful beginning to autumn. Please let us know if you need anything, we're here for you.
Yours in health,
"I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it."
~ Nelson Mandela