The urinary system is a very important part of our body which is composed of a pair of kidneys, a pair of ureter tubes, the bladder, and the urethra tube. (Petersen, 2016) When our body is out of a homeostatic balance, it can affect our urinary system in various ways.
One of these, which is very common mainly among women, is cystitis. Cystitis is a very uncomfortable infection within the urethra (the urinary tract). Someone suffering from cystitis would have symptoms which include a frequent feeling of needing to urinate but not passing much urine during these urges, experiencing a painful or burning sensation when urinating, blood or pus in the urine, lower abdominal pain, lower back pain, and also a fever. (Petersen, 2016) This infection, if not treated in a timely manner, can spread to the bladder and kidneys. ("Cystitis - Mayo Clinic", 2015) When cystitis is not being treated immediately, it can become a chronic condition.
There are several causes of cystitis which according to the Mayo Clinic include outside bacteria entering the body through the urinary tract, certain medications, intercourse, radiation, foreign body such as a catheter, chemicals, diabetes, kidney stones, enlarged prostate in men, or spinal cord injuries. ("Cystitis Causes - Mayo Clinic", 2015)
Another condition which can present itself is urethritis. The definition of urethritis defined by Dorene Petersen, president of the American College of Healthcare Sciences, is “inflammation of the urethra, which is usually accompanied by painful or difficult urination.” (Petersen, 2016) Symptoms of urethritis include abdominal pain, vaginal discharge, painful intercourse, frequent or urgent urination, fever or chills, and a burning sensation when urinating. Chronic urethritis can cause other damage when not treated such as scar tissue and damage to the urethra. ("Urethritis: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia", 2016)
To help avoid going through the pain of cystitis or urethritis, it is important to work towards a normal acid-alkaline balance in the body which helps to have minimal bacterial growth within the urinary tract. It is also very important to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of purified or spring water. It is recommended to drink a minimum of 64 ounces per day. Reducing your intake of sugars and refined carbohydrates can also help.
Herbs that are urinary antiseptics can be beneficial in reducing the bacteria in the urinary tract. Some examples of urinary antiseptic herbs are uva ursi (A uva-ursi), barberry (B. vulgaris), and Oregon grape (M. aquifolium). Other alternative and holistic modalities which could be beneficial to ease symptoms of cystitis and urethritis would be the use of aromatherapy, homeopathy, acupuncture, and reflexology. (Petersen, 2016)
As you can see, keeping our urinary system supported and cared for is very important. When it is no longer in a balance of homeostasis, we risk painful conditions such as cystitis and urethritis. These common conditions can be treated holistically when addressed at the first sign of symptoms, but if symptoms continue or get worse, it is important to make an appointment with a medical doctor for further testing and treatment.
Cystitis - Mayo Clinic. (2015). Mayo Clinic. Retrieved 21 April 2017, from http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/cystitis/basics/definition/con-20024076
Cystitis Causes - Mayo Clinic. (2015). Mayo Clinic. Retrieved 21 April 2017, from http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/cystitis/basics/causes/con-20024076
Natural Medicines - Login. (2015). Naturalmedicines.therapeuticresearch.com. Retrieved 21 April 2017, from https://naturalmedicines.therapeuticresearch.com/databases/food,-herbs-supplements/professional.aspx?productid=350
Petersen, D. (2016). NAT 211 Anatomy & Physiology II (1st ed., pp. 291-330). Portland: American College of Healthcare Sciences.