Chronic Bladder Infections in Women
By Dr. Donata Girolamo, Naturopathic Doctor
Is drinking cranberry juice enough? Chronic Urinary Tract infections may be very common among sexually active women, but should not be quickly overlooked. While pure cranberry juice is very effective at causing the bacteria e. Coli not to adhere to the epithelial wall of the urethra, it is not the only indication or solution, and can lead to serious complications if the bacteria present is not e.coli, and is not treated properly.
If we look a bit deeper, the question is ‘why is the woman getting recurrent bladder infections?’
Hormonal factors are thought to influence bacterial attachment to the cells of the urethra. The bacteria have been found to adhere to the urethral wall during peak estrogen phases of the cycle. An excess of estrogen can also influence the body’s flora.
The flora is an integral aspect of the immune system. The flora of the vagina and urinary system is usually compromised in recurrent bladder infections. This good bacteria keeps the pH at the appropriate level, keeps yeast in check, and is associated with fewer infections. One study found that weekly vaginal instillation of Lactobacillus casei for 1 year in premenopausal women lowered the rate of UTIs by approximately 80%.
The adrenal gland, the stress gland which is associated with the kidneys in Traditional Chinese Medicine, also plays a role. According to Zhu Dan-xi “When the Kidneys are
deficient the Bladder will generate heat”. Translated, this refers to adrenal fatigue – a response to stress -causing an increased tendency to urinary tract infections.
Work with your Naturopathic Doctor to ensure your hormones are balanced. Check your acidity level with pH strips, and first morning urine sample. The urine should read between 6.8 and 7.2. If less than 6.8, alkalinize your body by eliminating caffeine, and increasing vegetables, beans, water, deep breathing, and meditating. Coincidentally, all these factors will improve flora, the immune system, and support the adrenal gland – all the major areas to focus on when treating chronic Urinary Tract Infections.