A Naturopathic Approach to Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs) and the association with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and Small Intestine Bacteria Overgrowth (SIBO)
Over 50% of women will suffer from a urinary tract infection (UTI) during their lifetime. One-third to one-half of these women will have a recurrent UTI within one year. Recurrent UTI’s are defined as three or more UTI’s in a 12 month period (1). The most commonly used conventional therapies for these conditions are antibiotics. There is increased awareness and concern about antibiotic resistance with repetitive use of these medicines. This growing concern has created an interest in alternative treatments for UTI’s. The purpose of this article is discuss this conditions, the causes, and alternative treatments for cure and further prevention.
This article will also illuminate the link between UTI’s and an imbalanced gut microbiome, otherwise known as dysbiosis. Gastrointestinal conditions associated with dysbiosis such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO) are common in those with bladder infections.
Urinary Tract Infections (UTI’s)
The Link to Common Gastrointestinal Conditions such as IBS and SIBO
To read more about IBS and SIBO, please see my original article here - SIBO article). The underlying root cause for both IBS and SIBO is dysbiosis, or an imbalanced microflora in the gastrointestinal tract. There has been an increased correlation with these gastrointestinal conditions and UTI’s (10). An article by Ojetti et al. has identified that the treatment of constipation from SIBO may avoid the reinfection of E. coli in the urinary tract from the rectal reservoir (11). The treatment of IBS and/or SIBO is mentioned in my article referenced above.
Conclusion: A Well Rounded Approach to UTI’s
There are numerous studies demonstrating the effectiveness of natural substances for prevention and treatment of UTI’s. The most studied of these are discussed in this article including: cranberry, uva ursi, d-mannose and probiotics. The increased prevalence of UTI’s occurring concurrently with conditions such as IBS and SIBO suggests the need to address these gastrointestinal ailments in conjunction with using the above researched therapies for UTI’s. A well rounded approach for UTI’s which addresses dysbiosis in the gastrointestinal tract, as well as using the above natural UTI remedies, shows promise for treatment and long-term prevention of UTI’s.
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Interstitial cystitis (IC) is a condition of the bladder that affects millions of women, men, and children worldwide. Also known as bladder pain syndrome (BPS), IC is a chronic inflammatory condition that results in recurring discomfort or pain in the bladder and the surround pelvic region. Other symptoms may include increased pressure in the pelvic region, increased urgency, and/or increased frequency to urinate.
Diagnosis of IC
The American Urological Association defines IC/BPS as follows:
“An unpleasant sensation (pain, pressure, or discomfort) perceived to be related to the urinary bladder, and associated with lower urinary tract symptoms of more than six weeks duration in the absence of infection or other identifiable cause.”
Iron deficiency is the most common nutrient deficiency in the world (1). Many women are iron deficient, especially those who are menstruating, pregnant, post-partum or breastfeeding. Iron deficiency is also commonly seen in those with chronic blood loss and/or gastrointestinal absorption issues. Untreated iron deficiency can lead to iron deficiency anemia, which occurs when the body lacks sufficient amounts of iron to form normal red blood cells. Without enough iron, the body can’t produce enough hemoglobin for red blood cells to deliver oxygen from the lungs to the tissues.
These are some of the symptoms that one may experience with iron deficiency or anemia (2):
Our hormone system (medically known as our endocrine system) is complex. Our endocrine system consists of 6 different organs (our pituitary gland, pineal gland, thyroid, pancreas, ovaries/testis, and adrenal glands) and each of these glands is responsible for producing certain hormones (i.e. the ovary producing estrogen and progesterone, the adrenal glands producing cortisol). What makes our hormones complex is not just the individual organs and the hormones they produce, but how these systems affect each other and result in certain hormonal conditions.
Common signs of Hormonal Imbalance include:
Dr. Lara is a Naturopathic Doctor who is passionate about helping and empowering her patients in their journey towards lifelong health and wellness