Thursday, April 2, 2009

Urinary Tract Infection – 4 Alternative Treatments

According to a National Institute of Health publication, about 14.8 million women and men experienced a UTI in 1995, and with the infections' propensity to recur, especially in women, can some alternative medicine treatments be helpful too?

Urinary tract infections being the second most common type of infections affecting people, accompanies symptoms such as pain/burning while passing water, fever, tiredness/shakiness, urge to use the toilet often, etc. Doctors usually prescribe genitourinary drugs to kill the infection and a relief can be experienced, usually in a day or two.

Following are some natural remedies used on UTI sufferers.

1. Forskolin: This is an extract from the Indian coleus plant. And researchers at the Duke University Medical Center experimenting on mice found that it helps by flushing out hiding colonies of bacteria from the urinary tract. As a result make bacteria susceptible to antibiotic medications. The study appeared in the April 8, 2007 issue of the journal Nature Medicine.

2. Cranberry: According to a study from the Journal of Medicinal Food - a peer-reviewed journal, it's the chemicals present in cranberries rather than the acidity of cranberry juice that prevent infectious bacteria from attaching to urinary tract's cell lining. Further, a National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) article suggests that some studies testing the efficacy of cranberry products in forestalling UTIs have shown promise. At the same time the results can't be considered conclusive.

3. Echinacea Purpurea: Often known as the purple coneflower, this herb has been used on urinary tract infection sufferers, either based on tradition or scientific theories. However, a National Library of Medicine article informs that this use hasn't been thoroughly tested in humans. Also, the safety and effectiveness too hasn't been proven for such use, always.

4. Probiotics: Also known as "friendly bacteria" or "good bacteria," these refer to live microorganisms that don't generally harm people. According to a conference report released in November 2005, an assessment of the use of probiotics to prevent and treat infections of the urinary tract or the female genital tract had turned out promising evidence. The conference was cofunded by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) and convened by the American Society for Microbiology.

With the UTI's burdening the healthcare system with over $2 billion in treatment costs (annual), if alternative medications can complement conventional treatments in fighting it, then they should be more than welcome.

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