UTI - It was a hot summer in the fields...
Recalling a current Patient that had been working long days harvesting crops in her family homestead field, during a particularly hot summer. She spent long days tending to normal tasks, but additionally, harvesting days are notably more physically demanding.
Its easy to get dehydrated, sure. Most of us don't really think about our body's sweat, and how the combination of dehydration with warm, damp clothing can impact our Urinary System.
Fluids are expended (lost) through:
-- Breath. We lose water through normal respiration, and with the heat and physical exertion, heart rate + respiration rate with fluid loss increases.
-- Skin. We lose water through sweat to cool the body.
Dehydration adds to reduced urine output, so we are less able to flush the bacterium effectively.
Add to that, Bacteria and Fungus thrive in warm, damp, and dark conditions.
Its a self-perpetuating cycle, and it can quickly escalate from a Bladder Infection, traveling upwards to the Kidneys and into the blood stream. So, we cannot mess about if symptoms are advancing.
Swift attention is critical, if we wish to manage this naturally.
Most people have learned that cranberries act to reduce the bacteria from adhering (sticking) to the lining of the bladder, but of course, taking cranberry juice loaded with sugar can actually FEED the bacteria and yeast load, making matters worse.
As early sensations of a Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) in this Patient began with slight burning on urination, increased frequency, cloudy urine, and a sense of urgency with very little urine flow, this savvy Patient knew to begin a focused flushing with increased water intake, and splashing unsweetened cranberry concentrate into the water.
It was the ideal "first step" toward nipping this early to avoid the need for conventional intervention.
Fortunately, she was already an established Patient, and called me on DAY ONE of mild daytime symptoms. If she had called after a few days of symptoms thinking it would just "go away" on its own -- and/or with symptoms of a fever, back pain, headache and fatigue -- prescription medication would have been unavoidable. It is essential that we paid attention to whether she was having Night Sweats in the days prior, because breaking fevers overnight are also signs of Urinary Tract Infection.*
*Individual Variables: Sometimes Night Sweats without additional symptoms can be a tricky symptom to associate to the Urinary Tract, because in this particular Patient, she had a Full Hysterectomy a number of years previously, with a history of Anxiety and Mild Depression. We manage her Hormonal Balance and Moods naturally (without HRT or Anti-depressant medications), so sometimes we must adjust her primary formulations if Night Sweats are actually Hot Flushes related to fluctuating hormone levels and life circumstances triggering Anxiety. Clarification of the symptom nuances were reviewed on our phone call, so we could appreciate precisely what to address. In this case, it was very clear. Considering the Individual's ENTIRE medical history is where the puzzle pieces assemble a big picture for appropriate direction.
We spoke to clarify everything that same first day of early symptoms. I then formulated and compounded an herbal medicine preparation addressing the budding infection, and shipped immediately for next-day delivery. In certain situations like UTIs, expediency is the key to successful care.
Partly, we worked to increase the flow of urine even more than increasing water intake on its own. We also addressed the bacterium, and when we do so, we pay some attention to Candida (yeast) because of the natural co-existence and relationship between the two. Additionally, certain nutrients and constituents found in key medicinal plants reinforce recovery by soothing and healing the bladder's irritated, inflamed lining.
This included reducing excessive dietary sugar intake -- including natural fruit sugars and starchy foods -- since bacterium and yeast thrive on sugar.
I had prepared a 1-week formulation at a more assertive dose, and kept an eye on it for the first 24-48 hours of starting the herbs to ensure it was improving. If symptoms were not abating to some degree within that time frame, conventional evaluation would have been essential.
It was a "fruitful" week, both in her homestead fields and in resolving a common speed-bump of UTIs during summertime heat and increased physical activity.
Important to note some added LIFESTYLE recommendations we discussed:
-- Wear COTTON underwear whenever possible, notably with tendency toward any Genital or Urinary Infections. Not just a cotton panel inside synthetic material.
-- Increase non-sweetened fluid intake. This can include VEGETABLE juices, full strength or diluted with plain water.
-- Change out of wet bathing suits or saturated workout clothing as soon as possible. Most are synthetic material blends which can effectively trap heat and moisture -- even if they claim to "wick" moisture.
NOTE: Sometimes symptoms similar to UTIs (such as increased frequency/urgency and a sense of bladder fullness) that are not related to infections are associated with chronic conditions such as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Epstein-Barr Virus activity. They can also accompany common Post-Menopausal issues. These conditions respond well to Herbal Medicine care, but require additional considerations within the formula. Having had this Patient's Full Medical History, I already possessed knowledge of any potential contributors to symptoms, and factored them into her formulation.
Either way, if symptoms persist or worsen within a relatively narrow window of time, a doctor's evaluation is indicated and strongly advised.
It is all about timing, truly. If this Patient had waited a day or two longer, we may not have been able to manage it with herbs alone. I always encourage my Patients to reach out to me with anything out of the ordinary as they become aware of it, so we can troubleshoot together and come up with the safest and most effective plan when timing is of the essence.
Tami Bronstein, BSc Phyt (Hons), MNIMH, RH(AHG) is an Internationally-qualified Clinical Medical Herbalist-Physiologist. Specialisation: Hormone - Metabolic - Immune related imbalances, and applying Custom Compounded Plant Medicines along with Nutritional Support for Functional Natural Care. Her practice is exclusively Telemedicine-based with Concierge-style Care, and works with Individuals across the USA.
See website for Bio: https://medherbalist.com