by Stef Cordes and Lisa Baird
A urinary tract infection (UTI) is an infection in any part of the urinary system — the kidneys, ureters, bladder and urethra. Most infections involve the lower urinary tract, i.e. the bladder and the urethra.
Infection limited to the bladder & urethra can be painful and irritating. Serious consequences can occur if a UTI spreads to your kidneys; if you have a kidney infection we strongly recommend you see a doctor ASAP or go to the emergency room.
Urinary tract infections don’t always cause signs and symptoms, but when they do they may include:
- A strong, persistent urge to urinate
- A burning sensation while urinating
- Passing small, frequent amounts of urine
- Urine that appears cloudy
- Red, bright pink or brown urine (signs of blood in the urine)
- Strong-smelling urine
- Pelvic pain, particularly in the center of the pelvis and around the area of the pubic bone
We always recommend that you see your doctor if you suspect that you have a UTI. If you don’t have a GP, you can check our website for a list (updated monthly) of walk-in clinics and doctors in Guelph who are taking new patients.
That being said, community acupuncture can really help with the pain and discomfort of a UTI, and support your body to fight off the infection. (This is a good time to remind you that we practise distal-style acupuncture, meaning, we don’t needle directly into the pain/discomfort. We treat UTIs using points below the knees and elbows.)
What about chronic UTIs?
Chronic UTIs are long-lasting infections that frequently reoccur. This can happen due to a compromised immune system, or other reasons; certain oral antibiotics can change vaginal bacteria, which can contribute to a buildup of harmful bacteria in the bladder. An enlarged prostate can also prevent the bladder from emptying completely, which can also cause bacteria to grow. Or changing hormones levels can alter the microbiome of the urinary tract and vagina resulting in increased susceptibility to infection. We’ve seen community acupuncture give effective relief in all of these cases.
It’s worth noting that occasionally we meet folks who have done multiple courses of antibiotics without getting relief from chronic UTIs. We are not medical doctors and will never make recommendations against taking antibiotics. But, whether or not you decide to start another course of antibiotics, we do find that frequent regular acupuncture treatments can be very effective in supporting the body’s natural defence system and give you some extra support to fight off the chronic infections.
There are many reasons why folks get UTIs; hormonal changes, new sexual partners, antibiotic treatment, diabetes, BPH (benign prostatic hyperplasia), etc. We also see some people who get UTIs whenever they get stressed-out and run-down. But whatever the reason, we have seen community acupuncture reduce the pain, urinary frequency, and general discomfort associated with UTIs.
If you have any questions about how community acupuncture can help with UTIs, please get in touch.