Urinary Tract Infections

Urinary Tract Infections Overview:

Urinary tract infections can ocurr anywhere along the urinary tract. They are very common, with as many as 1 out of 5 women experiencing at least one in their lifetime. They are in fact the second most common type of bacterial infection seen by health care providers.

Lower urinary tract infections can be effectively treated with phytotherapy, and is especially useful in recurrent infections that return after antibiotic therapy. Polynephritis can also be treated, though caution is advised and medical intervention should be the first attempt at treating this type of infection as it can become a medical emergency in a very short period of time.



  • more common in women than men
  • Recurrent infection after apparently successful treatment could indicate an unresolved renal or prostatic infection, or regular re-infection.
  • Symptomatic urinary infections in men under 50 is rare. 
  • Usually bacterial (Mainly E. coli)

+ Upper Urinary Tract Infection

Upper urinary tract infections involve the kidneys. All forms of kidney infection (polynephritis) is severe and in need of immediate medical attention.

Nephritis may be symptomatic or asymptomatic and present at one or more sites.

Upper urinary tract infection is most often caused by the spreading of invading bacteria from the bladder or urethra up into the kidneys. The most common infecting agent is E. coli. If improperly treated, upper urinary tract infection can lead to sepsis, renal abscesses, chronic kidney failure, and death.

+ Lower Urinary Tract Infection

Lower urinary tract infections can involve:

  • Urethritis (Urethra)
  • Cystitis (Bladder)
  • Prostatitis (Prostate)

Causes include urinary stones or other obstruction, polycystic kidneys, papillary necrosis, diabetes mellitus, analgesic nephropathy, pregnancy, bladder catederisation, sexual intercourse, and sickle cell disease.

Lower urinary tract infection is characterised by frequent urination, lower abdominal or suprapubic discomfort, burning on urination, and macroscopic or microscopic hematuria. Fever and other signs of infection may also be present in more severe cases.




Lower Urinary Tract Infection


Increased urinary frequency

Urinary urgency





Burning sensation during urination

Cloudy Urine


Upper Urinary Tract Infection





Back pain

Changes in vital signs




Cloudy Urine



Diagnostic Considerations:


Therapeutic Aims:

1. Mechanical Flushing

Wherever possible, use infusions and decoctions.

  • Urinary antiseptics ()
  • Urinary demulcents ()
  • Drink plenty of water

2. Sterilise The Urinary Tract

With any infection, a key mechanism of treatment is to attack the invading microorganism.

  • Urinary antiseptics (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi)

3. Stimulate or Modulate The Immune System

  • Immuno stimulants ()
  • Immunomodulators ()

4. Continue Treatment 1-2 weeks after symptoms disappear.


Differential Diagnosis:

  • Renal infection
  • Prostatic infection
  • STI


Polynephritis with insulin-dependant diabetics is a red flag and should be referred to hospital immediatly.

All patients presenting with recurrent urinary tract infections should be screened for type II diabetes.

Individuals who are pregnant, elderly, or have prexisting urinary tract disease may present with atypical symptoms and may progress to sepsis or acute renal failure. Caution advised with these individuals.


Herbs For Urinary Tract Infections


Urinary Tract Infection Formula

Herb Name Ratio Amount in mL
Echinaceae purpurea 1:2 35 mL
Barosma betulina 1:2 20 mL
Glycyrrhiza glabra 1:1 15 mL
Zea mays 1:2 30 mL
Total 100 mL


Justin Cooke

The Sunlight Experiment

Updated: June 2018

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