UTI’s & Antibiotic Use
UTI’s, or urinary tract infections are the most common non-hospital related infection in women. It typically happens when e-coli, a common bacteria, gets into the urethra and travels up into the bladder or urinary tract. UTI’s are typically caused by poor hygiene, not urinating after sex, not bathing after exercising, specific period products, and contraceptives that increase your chance of infection. UTI’s can also occur when urine remains in the bladder for too long, or in people with weakened immune systems. When you have a UTI, symptoms typically include feeling like you have to pee all the time, pain, pressure on the bladder, or a burning sensation when urinating.
The typical course of action for a UTI is antibiotic and pain medication to kill off the bacteria (typically e-coli) that is causing the infection. However, with the general overuse of antibiotics, antibiotic resistant UTI’s are becoming more common and something I see in my practice quite frequently.
When we use antibiotics more frequently than we should, our gut health is in major jeopardy. Our gut microbiome is vast, delicate, and responsible for digesting our food and defending our bodies from viruses, parasites, and bad bacteria. Antibiotics wipe out the good bacteria in our gut, leaving it fair game for bad bacteria and pathogens to take over.
In Chinese medicine, we address the root of the problem with acupuncture and herbs, working to strengthen the function of the bladder and kidneys, as well as strengthening the immune system. In addition to prevention, TCM is helpful in reducing the symptoms of an active infection. In Chinese medicine, there are 5 main underlying reasons why people get UTI’s, and your practitioner will work to figure out which diagnosis belongs to you, and address it from there.
One review of studies showed that Chinese herbal medicine, used either in conjunction with antibiotics or alone, worked better than just antibiotics.
Another study showed that women who are prone to getting UTI’s and were treated with acupuncture as preventative care, got a UTI 1/3 as often as women who did not receive acupuncture.
In my office, I use an herbal antibiotic formula that rids your body of the bacteria causing the UTI, and does not affect gut health. It treats antibiotic resistant strains and can be supplemented with an additional formula for symptom management.
How to Prevent UTI’s:
💛 Drink more water, and less coffee and soda which can irritate the bladder.
💛 Dont hold your pee- this contributes to bacterial growth.
💛 Change clothing and shower after working out.
💛 Pee after sex.
💛 Avoid fragrance or chemical products on the genital areas.
Charlotte Morgan, M.S. L.Ac.