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UTIsHave you ever wondered why menopause or post-menopause women are getting more frequent UTIs than young women? When people talk about UTIs, in most cases they are referring to a bladder infection.

The urinary tract is comprised of bladder, kidneys, and the tubes connecting them that produce urine and carry it out of the metabolism system. Urine is a by-product of metabolism; it contains waste that needs to be removed. Just because the urinary tract has to perform the job to remove the urine, it does not mean it has to be contaminated by the germs contained in the urine. In contrast, the urinary tract must be free from those bad bacteria to do the job properly. When contaminated by the bacteria, the urinary tract suffers from infections. The medical term for such a condition is called Urinary Tract Infection (UTI).

Among all organs that comprise the urinary tract, the bladder is the most commonly infected by bacteria. Bladder infection is not uncommon, and not serious when treated properly right away. But if it is poorly treated, the infection can spread to other organs, for example, the kidneys, and cause serious health issues. The human metabolism system has developed a natural mechanism to defend against UTIs; we call this mechanism urination. As the urine flows from the kidneys through ureters to the bladder, bacteria are flushed out when you urinate. This system is effective to prevent bacteria from settling down and inhabiting the urinary tract. Unfortunately, this defense mechanism does not always work as it should.

I had great compassion and empathy for a client I saw a few years ago. She was suffering from frequent UTIs in the past few years and she was taking antibiotics almost non-stop since then. She said with sadness and frustration in her eyes, “I cannot swim or move freely with the catheter in my body, the UTIs affect my daily life and the antibiotics don’t work at all. What is the point of living? I just want to die.” She was only 65 years old. I told her the story that how I helped my mother overcome this challenge after she had a hysterectomy a few years ago, and she has been free of UTIs since then. My suggestions ignited hope in her eyes.

Now, let’s first talk about the causes and risk factors for UTIs.

Risk Factors

People of all ages can develop UTIs, but teens and adult women are the most vulnerable for these reasons:

  • Women have a shorter urethra than men. It means that the bacteria have an easier way to travel and infect a woman’s bladder.
  • In women, the opening to the urethra is closer to the rectum. Bacteria that cause bladder infection may live in the rectum.

Let’s back to the question from the very beginning: why do women experience more frequent UTIs when they enter menopause or post-menopause? I think the main cause is hormone issues, especially for those women with estrogen dominance syndrome. Estrogen dominance is a condition where a woman can have deficient, normal, or excessive estrogen, but has little or no progesterone to balance its effects in the body. There are some hormone receptors in the bladder and they are turned off due to hormone imbalance, especially with estrogen dominance syndrome. When these hormone receptors are turned off in the bladder, they affect PH balance in the bladder, so the PH level rises, which promotes the growth of bad bacteria in the bladder and causes UTIs, such as E. coli bacteria. Today our environment is loaded with environmental estrogens such as petroleum-based solvents and plastics. These foreign chemicals compete with the natural hormone receptors in our body. As a result, progesterone is squeezed out of the body. Now you understand why estrogen dominance syndrome is becoming more and more prevalent among women. Can antibiotics resolve this issue? The answer is NO.

How to resolve estrogen dominance syndrome and balance your hormones? From a dietary perspective, it is important to follow a clean and healthy diet and limit gluten, dairy, and sugar. Today, our wheat products are hybridized, therefore gluten is considered a foreign compound to the gut and damage intestine linings. Did you know that 70% of immune cells are located in your gut? Your gut health is critical for your immune function. Dairy products are also inflammatory to the gut, think about what are in the dairy products: growth hormones and antibiotics. Did you know that cow’s milk is allowed to have feces in it? Most cow’s milk has measurable quantities of herbicides, pesticides, dioxins, and a variety of powerful antibiotics in it.  Refined sugar contributes to chronic inflammation in the body because it triggers inflammatory responses in the body. To limit foreign estrogens from our environment, you can incorporate phytoestrogen-rich food into your diet. These phytoestrogens have much smaller structures than environmental estrogens, they can occupy the hormone receptors in our body to kick these foreign estrogens out of our body. Foods rich in phytoestrogens provide a wide range of health benefits, including the following: relieve PMS and menopause symptoms, such as hot flashes and night sweats; prevent osteoporosis; help balance hormones and reduce estrogen dominance syndrome; prevent cancers, such as breast cancer, ovarian cancer, prostate cancer, and bowel cancer; lower risks of cardiovascular disease, obesity, metabolic syndrome, and type 2 diabetes. On the other hand, these environmental estrogens are toxins to our body and increase the workload for the liver and other organs to break down and get rid of them. Mother nature always has the wisdom to protect us from invaders. Here are a few examples of phytoestrogens: flax seeds, sesame seeds, peanuts, almonds, cruciferous vegetables, apples, dried fruits, etc. It is a good idea to limit environmental estrogens such as xenohormones, including plastics, petroleum-based cosmetics, commercial deodorants, perfumes, and commercial detergents.

Here are more tips on balancing your hormones.

You can also consider using a wild yam cream to balance estrogen dominance syndrome, wild yam contains diosgenin, which is a compound that has properties similar to the human hormone progesterone. Wild yam cream has been used to treat a wide range of menopause-related issues, it also helps balance your hormones. Your skin is the largest organ and you should take advantage of it.

Another wonderful remedy is castor oil, it can penetrate deep into your skin and heal your internal organs. Castor oil contains therapeutic components including fatty acids, flavonoids, phenolic compounds, amino acids, phytosterols, etc. These compounds provide a variety of healing benefits including anti-inflammatory, antidiabetic, antibacterial, antioxidant properties. Castor oil packshelp heal the damaged liver, promote healthy gut functions, regulate bowel functions, balance hormones, relieve PMS and menopause symptoms, regulate menstruation and reduce menstruation-related cramps, shrink cysts and fibroids in breasts and ovaries, boost your immune system, improve your sleep quality, and reduce anxiety and depression. What is even better is that the anti-inflammatory action of castor oil acts as pain relief and prevents the recurrence of bladder infection as well.

Regardless of the culprits, UTI is a treatable condition. Here are some natural remedies to treat UTIs or prevent their recurrence.

There are many herbal remedies and foods that can help treat UTIs, such as dandelion, D-mannose, marshmallow root, cranberry extract, and corn silk. Dandelion is a very powerful diuretic, and it can help remove bad bacteria from the bladder by flushing the bacteria out along with urine. D-mannose can attach to the E. coli bacteria, so the bacteria can no longer attach to cells and cause infection. D-mannose also helps reduce the risk of recurrent UTIs. Marshmallow has a softening effect on the irritated mucous membranes of the urinary tract. Corn silk also has a diuretic effect and is rich in silica and other minerals, which help strengthen the tissues. Cranberry helps prevent potentially harmful bacteria from sticking to the urinary tract walls and effectively flushes out the bacteria from the urinary tract to promote urinary tract health. Foods with diuretic effects can also help flush out harmful bacteria quicker and get your bladder back on track fast, such as cucumber, beets, watermelon, and cabbage. Hydration is the number one key to detoxifying the body.

Probiotics can also help prevent UTIs and improve your gut health and immune functions. Here are some tips on how to choose the right probiotics.

According to TCM, weak energy flow in the bladder and kidney meridians can also contribute to frequent UTIs. The bladder meridian helps detoxify the body and the kidney meridian is the powerhouse of your life force. When people have energy deficiency in these meridians, they can experience polyuria at night and also UTIs. How to improve energy flow in these meridians? Moxibustion is an ancient technique in TCM to boost energy flow in the body. This ancient technique combines heat through the application of moxa, which is made from the amazing herb – Mugwort. The foundation for this ancient technique is that the body needs to receive heat directly in specific areas such as acupoints in the body to facilitate the healing process. Mugwort is also called wormwood; it is an ancient herb used in TCM for thousands of years, especially in moxibustion. Mugwort helps balance Yin and Yang energy in the body, reduce pain, aid digestion, balance hormones, and relieve menopause symptoms and menstruation cramps for women. It is also a psychedelic herb, you can smoke it and it clears negative energy and pathogens in your body and your environment. The direction of the smoke from moxibustion tells you where the energetic blockage is located in your body. Mugwort also induces lucid dreams and lands you in a vivid dreamland at night. You may not aware that mugwort is also a potent herb to remove parasites and viruses in your body.

Infrared light therapy is another a great tool to reduce abdominal pain caused by UTIs, it also helps reduce inflammation in your bladder and prevent recurrences of UTIs.

Simple lifestyle changes can help prevent the condition in the first place. Here are some examples:

  • Drink plenty of water throughout the day.
  • Urinate as soon as you need it.
  • Take showers instead of a bath to reduce potential risks of infection from an uncleaned tub.
  • Wipe cleanly after you urinate or have a bowel.
  • Change your underwear every day.
  • Choose cotton underwear (the material for your underwear must be breathable to prevent the growth of bacteria).
  • Use sanitary pads instead of tampons during menstruation.
  • Limit commercial hygiene sprays.
These home treatments and prevention have been proven effective, but you should seek health care professionals immediately in severe cases of UTIs. You may need more than just home treatments to manage the pain and infection. Mild cases of UTI typically subside within two or three days when treated properly.

I also create a video version of this blog, please click here to watch the video.


If you are interested in more holistic health from Traditional Chinese Medicine, Please check my eBook. Harness the Magical Power of Ancient Chinese Medicine

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About the author: Lucy Liu
Lucy Liu

As a Holistic Health Practitioner, Registered Dietitian, TCM Practitioner, Energy Healer, Master Hypnotist, Reiki Master, Advanced Theta Healing Practitioner, Author and Speaker, Lucy Liu, the founder of optimalhealthsolutions.ca, has gained a good reputation in holistic health after many years of serving patients and clients as a holistic health practitioner. Lucy has developed a unique and comprehensive approach, which combines Western Medicine, Chinese Medicine, Energy Medicine, and Alternative Medicine together, to help others achieve optimal health by creating harmony between the body, mind, and spirit, and maintain long-term success for healthy lifestyle changes.
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