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The Underlying Patterns Causing UTIs and How To Address Them And Their Symptoms Using Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine

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Although more known as bladder infection, UTI or urinary tract infection can be due to bacteria in any part of the urinary tract, including the bladder (the sac that “stores” urine prior to its release via the urethra), the urethra (the tube that empties the bladder during urination), ureter ( the tube that brings urine to the bladder), and the kidneys. UTIs are caused by bacteria that usually infiltrate the urethra and move up to the urinary tract.

Womenare much more likely to develop UTI, although men can get UTI in the urinary tract, as well. There are various reasons why women are more prone to UTI than men. One reason is that the urethra of a womanis shorter than a man’s which makes it much easier for the bacteria to reach the bladder. Another reason is that pregnant women may be quite susceptible to kidney infections due to the fact the fetus can bear pressure on the ureter. One last reason is that during sexual intercourse, bacteria can be pushed into the urethra. If a woman wears a diaphragm, it can exert pressure on the urethra making it more difficult for her to empty her bladder completely. This causes bacteria to accumulate and thrive in the retained urine.

UTI symptoms are the same for women and men. They include urination difficulty (there is urgency to urinate but only small amounts of urine are excreted) and frequent, painful urination. There are two types of UTI: chronic and acute. Several factors raise the likelihood of urinary tract infection: not drinking enough water, a low protein high carbohydrate diet, and a new sexual partner.

In TCM (traditional Chinese medicine) the underlying pattern of chronic UTIs is oftentimes deficiency of kidney yin. Symptoms manifested by this pattern may include night sweats, irritability, and a reddish tongue with scanty fur. Chronic inflammation can set in due to the heat generated by kidney yin inadequacy caused by the depletion of the cooling aspect of the kidneys.

When it comes to Western medicine UTIs are treated with antibiotics, but if the root problem of yin deficiency remains unresolved, the patient should expect another infection setting in as soon as one infection is resolved with antibiotics. This can lead to a never ending cycle of infection and drugs resulting in other problems caused by the drugs’ side effects. The standard Chinese medicine treatment for chronic UTI is to clear heat and tonify yin using a formula known as Shi Bai Di Wang Wan.

Dampheat in the urinary bladder is the most common Chinese medicine diagnostic pattern related to acute UTIs. Acute UTI symptoms may include a slippery and full pulse, reddish tongue with yellow thick fur, frequent urge to urinate, lower back pain, pain in the lower stomach, burning urination, chills, and fever. At this stage, the infection becomes more serious and can lead to kidney infection.

A potent decoction known as Long Dan Hsie Wan, using the classic formula Ba Sheng San (“Eight Ingredient Powder to Resolve Urinary Problems”) is usually recommended.

Herbal formulas and acupuncture in Portland can be extremely effective for acute UTI conditions. They are so effective that within a few days or even within hours, the infection is cured. Theacupoint commonly used for acute UTI is the Middle Summit acupoint or the Ren 3 point, which is found directly above the urinary bladder. The “Tomb Spring” or Spleen 9 point found along the inside of the tibia bone just below the knee is extremely sensitive to pressure. This point is extremely helpful for curing several urinary tract imbalances. Traditionally, the Spleen 9 acupoint is used to benefit the lower burner and convert damp stagnation. Itis important to avoid sweets completely if you are in the midst of a Chinese medicine UTI treatment. To make the urine more acidic and less livable for the bacteria, eat protein based products at every meal; for preventing a damp environment and better air circulation in the groin, wear cotton underwear;it’s advised that you refrain from any sexual activity with your partner, but if that’s not possible, to avoid further bacterial infiltration into the urinary tract, both you and your partner should shower before engaging in intercourse.

Written by Valerie

January 9th, 2017 at 10:11 pm

Posted in Acupuncture

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