Acupuncture and Bladder Infection or Urinary Tract Infection, UTI, Cystitis

Find out about acupuncture, bladder infection, urinary tract infection, UTI or cystitis plus important tips to help you prevent bladder infection.

Chinese medicine is very effective for the treatment of bladder infection or cystitis, which is commonly referred to as Urinary Tract Infection or UTI.

A very common condition treated in my acupuncture clinic, the problem evolves when the urinary bladder or urethra becomes inflamed due to bacterial infection.

Over 90% of cases of cystitis are caused by E. Coli bacteria, which enter the urethra and bladder causing the inflammation and infection.

Normally, the urethra and bladder do not contain bacteria because bacteria that enter the bladder are usually removed during urination. But if the bacteria remain in the bladder, they can easily grow and quickly lead to infection.

Signs and Symptoms

Kidney pain is unlikely (but if kidney pain or back pain is very severe, consider kidney stones.

  • Urination is frequent, urgent and painful
  • Cloudy urine
  • Foul or strong urine odour
  • Nocturia
  • Hematuria
  • Pressure in the lower pelvis
  • Young children usually only have a fever and no other symptoms
  • Elderly can present with confusion only and no other symptoms.

The risk of cystitis is higher when the bladder or urethra becomes blocked, stopping the flow of urine. There is also a risk of infection from medical procedures such as catheterisation or cystoscopy, when instruments are inserted into the urinary tract.

During childhood, 5% of girls are affected; the peak age for first infection is about 3 years old, which overlaps with the toilet training period.

With boys, only about 1% of boys develop UTI. It is much more common among uncircumcised boys. The peak age for UTI is before their first birthday.

Cystitis in children can be promoted by abnormalities in the urinary tract. Children under the age of 5 years deserve special follow-up in order to prevent kidney damage.

With adults, sexual intercourse can increase the risk of urinary tract infections in women because bacteria can be introduced into the bladder through the urethra. Lack of hygiene procedures (see below) and cleanliness of the genital region do contribute to UTI.

Older adults are at high risk for developing cystitis, with incidence in the elderly being as high as 33%. This is due to various factors such as lack of adequate fluids, bowel incontinence, immobility or decreased mobility, and placement in a nursing home can all put the elderly at increased risk of cystitis.

In addition, cystitis can also be due to incomplete emptying of the bladder associated with conditions such as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BHP), prostatitis and urethral strictures.

Helping Yourself

Mild cases of UTI can resolve spontaneously without any need for treatment. However, there is a high risk of infection that spreads to the kidneys so treatment is recommended. If the infection spreads upwards to the kidneys giving rise to kidney pain, back pain, flank pain, abdominal pain and pain that radiates downwards to the thighs and groin, then the condition may have progressed to become acute pyelonephritis or UPPER urinary tract infection. Cystitis is LOWER urinary tract infection.

Children should be treatment promptly in order to protect their developing kidneys.

The elderly has a high mortality rate so again prompt treatment is highly recommended.

Acupuncture tips to help you prevent bladder infection or cystitis, urinary tract infection, UTI

  • Drink at least 8 glasses of pure water each day, frequent urination flushes bacteria out of the bladder. If you are prone to recurrent UTI, drink at least 2 litres of water each day.
  • Completely empty your bladder every 3 hours and before sleep.
  • Urinate immediately before and after sexual intercourse, this helps to flush out the bacteria that may have been introduced during intercourse.
  • Avoid or decrease fluids that irritate the bladder, such as alcohol, citrus juices and caffeine.
  • Hygiene and cleanliness of the genital area will definitely help reduce the chances of introducing bacteria into the urethra.
  • Ladies should Clean and Wipe the genitals from the front to the back to reduce the chance of dragging E. coli from the rectum to the urethra.

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© Copyright Pier Tsui-Po 2005-2014. All Rights Reserved.
Dr Pier Tsui-Po Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine Clinic
Berwick Specialist Suites,
Suite 8 - Level 1, 50 Kangan Drive, Berwick 3806,
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. Telephone: 9796 2388

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