Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) is a common condition that arises when there is an infection caused by bacteria. The infection usually starts in the urethra and then travels up to the bladder and other parts of the urinary tract. There is a burning feeling when urinating and an increased frequency of urination. The condition is more common in females, as the urethra is smaller (becomes infected more easily) and near the anus (a source of contamination). Conditions such as diabetes, bowel incontinence, kidney stones, immobility, reduced intake of fluids, and pregnancy can also contribute to Urinary Tract Infection.
Increased intake of sour, salty, bitter, oily, spicy, and fried foods and tea, coffee, and alcoholic beverages aggravate Pitta (Fire) in the body, which leads to the condition of UTI. Working in the sun or hot weather and excessive physical exertion aggravates the condition.
The most common symptom is a burning sensation while passing urine. There is discomfort, pain, or a burning sensation at the urethra. There may be the presence of pus or blood in the urine and fever. Also there is increased frequency of urination, along with the feeling of needing to pass urine even when the bladder is not full. The need to urinate during the night may increase.
According to Ayurveda, Urinary Tract Infection or Pittaj Mutrakrichhra, is caused by the aggravation of Pitta Dosha. Pitta is an Ayurvedic humor that symbolizes heat or fire. So, a diet and lifestyle that increases Pitta causes UTI. Aggravated Pitta produces heating toxins in the body. These heating toxins accumulate in the mutravahi strotas (urinary channels) and create an imbalance in the infection-fighting properties of the urinary system. It might lead to bacterial growth in the system, amounting to UTI. Many chemical drugs work on bacteria, but these do not work for infection-fighting properties and heating toxins. Thus, such infection can often recur. Ayurvedic medicine, on the other hand, balances the infection-fighting properties of the urinary system and pacifies heating toxins, thereby giving long-term relief to the patient.
Diet & Lifestyle Advice
- Avoid intake of hot, oily, spicy, sour, salty, and bitter foods.
- Increase intake of liquids in the form of water, juices, coconut water, and other cooling drinks.
- Increase intake of pitta-pacifying herbs like green cardamom, coriander, red sandalwood, licorice root, etc.
- Avoid working in the sun or in a hot atmosphere such as near furnaces and boilers.
- Take a cold-water bath 2-3 times a day with ½ teaspoon of powdered red sandalwood added to the water.
Some Home Remedies
- Put 3 tablespoons of powdered coriander seeds and 1 tablespoon of powdered rock candy (or unrefined sugar) in a vessel (preferably an earthen pot) containing 3 cups of water. Keep it overnight. Mix well and drink 1 cup of the liquid 3 times a day. This is a very good home remedy for pacifying Pitta in the urinary tract.
- Mix 1 teaspoon of roasted barley water in 1 cup of water. Add ½ teaspoon powdered rock candy (or unrefined sugar). Have this twice a day. This is a very good diuretic and cooling preparation.
- Have 1 cup of radish leaf juice on an empty stomach in the morning.