Dr. Angela Agrios, ND
My very talented Naturopathic Doctor
She treats a wide variety of conditions
Office & phone appointments available
Los Angeles, CA (Pacific Palisades)
Urinary Tract Infections
Naturopathic Medicine Treatment Interview with Dr. Maggie Ney, ND
A urinary tract infection is a bacterial infection of the urinary tract that leads to symptoms of burning on urination, urgency and urinary frequency. The conventional treatment for urinary tract infections are antibiotics. The problem with antibiotics is that they create a disruption in the good bacteria in the body, and that can weaken your immune system and actually lead to more urinary tract infections. Diagnosing a urinary tract infection is relatively straightforward. What’s more complicated is if someone gets this urinary tract infection chronically, and then we really need to look at that individual and see whyand answer the question, “Why is she getting it repetitively?” so I take a comprehensive history to figure this out, and look for any triggers like a weakened immune system, or a history of antibiotic use, or possible food sensitivities.
If they’re getting these urinary tract infections after sexual intercoursethat it could be triggered by that, or by condoms, or by spermicide, all of which can contribute to increased urinary tract infections. I also get a urine samplealwaysbecause that will diagnose if there actually is indeed a urinary tract infection. So in the urine, I’m looking for signs of infection such as bacteria, white blood cells, elevated leukocyte esterase, nitrites, bloodand if those are positive it confirms an infection and I send out the urine for a culture and sensitivity, which takes a few days to come back. But when it comes back, I’ll know what bacteria is causing the infection, and which antibiotics that bacteria is sensitive to, so in the unique case that we need to go to the antibiotics, we’ll know the most appropriate one. It’s also important to rule out fever or tenderness where the kidneys are, because that could be a sign of kidney infection, which would require more laboratory tests and more aggressive treatment.
Naturopathic Medicine Urinary Tract Infection Treatment So my treatment for urinary tract infections is to give immune-supportive therapies, antimicrobial therapies, and to address any triggers that might have contributed to the urinary tract infection. So with respect to immune support, I recommend an immune-supportive diet, which limits sugar, since sugar is immune-suppressive; and I would recommend immune-supportive herbs and vitamins like vitamin C, or zinc. I’d also recommend increasing water because water helps to flush bacteria from the bladder, and also unsweetened cranberry juice and unsweetened blueberry juice also help to fight urinary tract infections.
Naturopathic Medicine Urinary Tract Infection Supplements D-mannose is a naturally occurring sugar, which works great for urinary tract infections. What it does is it binds to bacteriacertain types of bacteria, specifically E. coli, which is actually the number-one cause of most urinary tract infectionsand it binds to the E. coli so we just flush it out, so the E. coli can’t bind to the bladder. And I always recommend a probiotic to help balance the flora in the urinary tract and digestive tract. I might even recommend both oral and vaginal probioticsthey really help repopulate the area. When I comes to vitamins, I’ll recommend immune support like vitamin C and zinc; and with respect to herbs, I would recommend herbs that have a really good antimicrobial, immune-supportive effect along the urinary tract, such as buchu or uvaursi, Echinacea, goldenseal, marshmallow, all of which can be very helpful for urinary tract infections. In extreme cases, when natural medicine therapies aren’t effective in treating the urinary tract infection, I would prescribe an antibiotic based upon the culture and sensitivity so that the right antibiotic is prescribed for this infection.
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Natural Medicine Urinary Tract Infection Treatment Success My success rate for treating chronic urinary tract infections is pretty high. Once the cause of the urinary tract infections are identified and corrected, and the body is getting the appropriate vitamins, minerals, and dietary changes it needs to maintain an optimum level of health, most women can remain symptom-free. If someone wants to reverse their chronic urinary tract infections, I recommend a natural living lifestyle that includes a whole-foods, organic diet that limits sugars and refined carbohydrates, drinking a lot of pure water, and I strongly encourage seeing a naturopathic doctor who can accurately identify the triggers for the urinary tract infection and recommend individualized treatment plan.