A lot of research is being conducted on acupuncture treatment for recurrent UTIs. UTIs or urinary infections are a result of inflammation of the bladder. It is one of the most common conditions that mostly affects women of all ages. In the United States alone, it is estimated that there are more than 7 million episodes of cystitis which is the inflammation of the urinary tract. The aforementioned study on acupuncture for cystitis treatment has shown that the acupuncture group developed fewer UTIs compared to the control group. The World Health Organization recognizes acupuncture to be effective for urinary tract infections along with over 50 medical conditions.
Let us study how you can use acupuncture for urine infection prevention.
What is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture involves the insertion of fine needles into specific points on the body to influence the flow of energy. Traditional Chinese Medicine or TCM for short is based on the principle that there are energy meridians in the human body which are described with terms like Qi (Chi) or yin and yang. Disharmony occurs when the Yin and Yang are imbalanced. By inserting needles in specific points, one can stimulate them to remove energy blockages. Western acupuncture therapists use a more scientific acupuncture technique through principles of anatomy and physiology.
What are symptoms of a UTI?
Nearly 80% of urinary tract infections are caused by bacterium called e.coli. These live in the intestines but can travel into the urinary tract. Many women do not suffer from any UTI symptoms at all. Some patients show the following symptoms:
- Frequent and urgent need to urinate but unable to produce more than a few drops
- Pain in the abdomen and back
- Cloudy, smelly or bloody urine
- Burning stinging sensation in the vagina
Nausea, vomiting and other gastrointestinal issues can also be present sometimes.
Study on Acupuncture for UTI
The study on acupuncture for UTI was conducted in Bergen, Norway. It consisted of 100 women in the age groups of 18 to 60 who had had 3 or more episodes of urinary issues like dysuria and frequent urination. For 4 weeks, twice a week, the women were treated to these sessions. Needles were inserted at CV-3, CV-4, BL-23, BL 28 or KI-3, SP-6/9, ST-36 and LR-3 points which are the main acupuncture points for treating all kinds of urinary issues. The women also gave urine samples following the treatment.
After the treatment, nearly 73% women were free from UTI symptoms during the 6 month observation period. Compared to this, the control group showed only 52% women being free from symptoms.
Researchers concluded that acupuncture seemed a worthwhile alternative in prevention of recurring UTI.
Basic Rules before seeking acupuncture
There are more than 1000 acupuncture points on the human body. So it is very important that you choose an experienced practitioner in order to make the most out of the therapy. Your therapist will feel your pulse through palpation to identify the diseased organ as well as the pathogen causing the disease. It is also important that you choose a licensed practitioner. If possible, get one through word of mouth reviews. You can also read reviews of registered, certified practitioners online. Once you have shortlisted a few candidates, do consider factors like how convenient they are from location point of view and also their expertise, cost and facilities. You can also contact your insurance company to find therapists covered in your policy.
How to make the most out of your acupuncture treatment for UTI
Many people choose acupuncture alongside conventional treatment for treating disorders and the same goes for acupuncture for UTIs too. In general, women can continue taking antibiotics for UTI while undergoing acupuncture. One can also consider this alternative therapy as a means of preventing UTIs. It is very important to take following precautions when using this alternative remedy for UTI:
- Drink plenty of fluids. Fresh fruit juices, cranberry juice and water are best. You can also take herbal teas.
- Avoid consumption of tea and coffee during this period. Also limit intake of alcohol.
- If possible, stay away from sugary foods. These precautions are necessary to prevent inflammation in the body.
- Urinate frequently to throw out the pathogens.
- Commit to a reasonable frequency of treatment sessions.
- Get plenty of rest.
- Yoga, qigong or other stress reduction techniques can also make the treatment more effective.
A study has also shown that patients need to believe in the treatment and also keep their optimism levels up during the course of the therapy.
Acupressure points for urine flow
Discuss your treatment with your therapist. The more involved you are in your treatment, the better it would be. Here are the main puncture points for urinary issues:
Acupuncture seems to be a promising treatment for UTI prevention and healing. Discuss your concerns with your doctor before seeking it.