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Deep Diving into Recurrent UTIs from a Naturopathic Perspective

Sporty & Rich Wellness - Deep Diving into Recurrent UTIs from a Naturopathic Perspective

 

By: @curawellness.co

 

Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs) are one of the most common genitourinary infections, however they can certainly cause a lot of distressing and uncomfortable symptoms. Recurrent UTIs are mainly due to a bacterial infection, however can be due to a viral infection as well.


The main organisms responsible for causing a UTI include Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus saprophyticus, Klebsiella spp. and Proteus spp.


Risk Factors

- Poor hygiene

- Diabetes mellitus

- Immunosuppression

- Pregnancy

- Changes in sexual activity

- Use of irritant chemicals (soaps, detergents, etc.)

- Oral contraceptives

- Heavy antibiotic use

- Urinary tract abnormality or obstruction

- Certain medications

- Nutritional deficiencies

- Stress

- Smoking


Common signs and symptoms of UTIs include:

- Painful urination, with a burning sensation, frequency, and urgency

- Strong-smelling urine

- Blood or pus in urine

- Pain or cramping in the lower abdomen

- Pain in the lower back region

- Chills


Naturopathic Holistic Treatment:

- With recurrent infections, the reactive antigens that trigger immune dysfunction must be minimised by correcting vaginal microbiota imbalances, eliminating reactive foods, addressing lifestyle factors/chemical exposure, optimising detoxification pathways, and repairing damaged mucosal barriers

- Identify driving factors (this is individualised for each client) and remove obstacles to cure (i.e. if heavy antibiotic use & nutritional deficiencies are the main contributing factors - address these first, whilst considering all other interconnected areas driving the infection)

- Reduce infection, pain and urinary frequency

- Stimulate immunity to target current infection and prevent chronic or recurrent infection

- Support antimicrobial elimination

- Gut restoration

- Optimise detoxification

- Probiotics (strain-specific, but usually containing Lactobacillus spp.)

- Consuming a diet rich in whole foods, protein, fibre and reduce/avoid processed sugars/foods, and alcohol

- Herbal tonic using urinary antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, astringent, diuretic, urinary demulcent, and.or immune stimulating herbs


Nutritional and Lifestyle Recommendations:

- Consume adequate amounts of water and herbal teas to clear toxins

- Reduce pro-inflammatory foods/beverages such as refined/processed sugars, alcohol, soft drinks, spicy food, caffeinated drinks

- Focus on consuming whole foods - specifically focusing on EFAs such as oily fish, nuts, seeds and anti-inflammatory/antioxidant rich foods

- Increase consumption of dietary fibre to help excrete harmful bacteria like bananas, beans, lentils, nuts, oats, and whole-grains

- Include pre- and probiotic rich foods in the diet to help increase beneficial bacteria to combat infection - yoghurt, sauerkraut, miso, kefir, kimchi

- Find ways to manage/reduce stress levels - meditation, yoga, nature walks, breathing practices, seek support

- Practice healthy hygiene rituals - showering daily, avoiding soaps directly on the vagina, urinating and showering after intercourse, wipe front to back

- Organic/pure cranberry juice!


Optimising immune and gut health are the central treatment areas we generally focus on, however supporting a healthy vaginal microbiome is also crucial to prevent recurrent infection. Depending on the risk factors and/or driving factors that are precipitating a recurrent infection, these are also addressed (i.e. stress = support nervous system).


What factors can disrupt a healthy vaginal microbiome?

- Changes in hormones during the menstrual cycle

- Our diet

- Our external environment

- Hygiene & sexual practices


These four main areas can have a significant impact on our vaginal microbiota flora, if you’re doing all the right things such as:

- Supporting your hormones throughout each phase of your cycle - this may require further support guided by a qualified practitioner

- Consuming a whole foods diet rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatories, whilst reducing/avoiding consumption of refined sugars, processed foods, alcohol etc as they can disrupt a healthy vaginal microbiome and feed certain strains of bacteria which proliferate and cause infection;

- Wearing appropriate clothing - avoid skin-tight clothing with synthetic materials as they restrict bacteria and aren’t breathable, instead opt for organic bamboo, Tencel or silk underwear as they are eco-friendly, breathable and reduce risk of vaginal infection/irritation

- Cleanse/wash yourself daily with clean water only - avoid using any soaps/body washes on your vagina as they disrupt the pH levels, which can contribute towards irritation and infection

- Urinate and shower after sexual intercourse activities to avoid any irritation occurring

- Wipe from front to back to prevent any faecal matter being brought into the vaginal area which can contribute towards an infection


With any infectious presentation, identifying the driving factor(s) predisposing an individual to chronic infection is key to preventing reoccurrence. Seeking naturopathic support can help identify those factors for you, as well as providing both sympathetic relief through natural therapeutic approaches and preventative measures to prevent re-infection in the management of recurrent UTIs.


If you’re looking for further support with recurrent UTIs, please contact Tayla via email hello@curawellness.co, Instagram @curawellness.co or book in for a naturopathic consultation

(Australia-wide only).

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