Bladder Infections

Western medicine prescribes antibiotics to treat a urinary tract infection (UTI). While these can reduce symptoms fairly quickly, they also produce strong adverse reactions, including oral or vaginal thrush, constipation, and gastric problems. Additionally, the recurrence rate of UTI is very high. Chinese medicine looks at UTIs differently. The main aspect of the infection is due to excess heat in the body. In the case of an infection of the urinary tract, that infection is due to the heat accumulating in the lower heater bladder.

Traditional Chinese Medicine looks at this problem in a very different way.

1. Damp heat accumulation, caused by external pathogenic factors, such as dampness, phlegm and heat accumulating in the body from over-consumption of fatty, oily, sweet or hot spicy, creamy food and alcohol. These substances damage the normal function of spleen and stomach. Damp and phlegm accumulate and generate heat. The density of the damp heat descends to the lower organ bladder causing obstruction that results in UTI or cystitis.

2. Heart fire and liver fire is caused by emotional stress, such as sorrow, sadness, jealousy, anger, and frustration. Negative emotions can cause damage to the human spirit, which is very much supported by the ,essence'- a yin aspect of the human body. When yin is damaged or depleted, a condition called yin deficiency will give rise to a condition called yang rising, which is a heat condition. Chronic stress causes yin deficiency, which causes heat rising; heat dehydrates the body fluids, resulting in overly concentrated urine. This condition in turn provides a perfect environment for the growth of microorganisms, resulting in UTI or cystitis.

Traditionally, for women who present symptoms of UTI are considered to be sexually active - and frequent sexual contact can produce tissue irritation, especially if intercourse takes place while the woman has thrush, or is menstruating. However, both the above conditions can occur without any sexual activity.

There is another type of condition that is often incorrectly treated as UTI. Patients mainly present symptoms of frequent and urgent urination, but without the accompanying burning or pain. In TCM this condition, which is associated with lower back pain and general weakness, is caused by spleen and kidney deficiency due to overwork, overindulgence in sexual activity, old age, chronic sickness, weak bladder tone, or being bed bound. The differences between this condition and UTI are as follows:

Many people suffering from acute and chronic UTI have been successfully helped using Chinese herbs and acupuncture. The herbal complex used is called San Jin, a traditional Chinese formula now developed into a modernised herbal complex. Eighteen state owned hospitals in China have trialled this formula against antibiotics for the treatment of UTI, cystitis, polynephritis, and prostatitis. Results showed an effective rate of 96 percent, which is significantly better than the antibiotics. In addition to its superb anti-inflammatory activities, the herbal complex tonifies the kidneys, purifies the blood and acts as a strong membrane tonic for urogenital organs. For acute infection, it can alleviate pain and burning in just two to four hours. Chinese herbal teas are also used: Jin Qian Cao, or golden money grass; Andrographitis, Paniculatae, artemisiae, and Jade grass. These herbs are simmered for only two minutes, and drunk through the day.