When I was in my 20’s, I went through a period of being susceptible to bladder infections. If I sat on a cold bench or my feet got wet, then I would end up with a niggling feeling and urinary discomfort. Thanks to the wisdom of my mother and our European traditions, it was always treated successfully with herbal teas, a hot water bottle and bed rest. I didn’t know about homeopathy back then, as I do now, and I feel so lucky to have two sets of tools in my basket now: herbal teas for milder symptoms and homeopathic remedies when symptoms become stronger.
A word of caution:
Bladder infections should never be left unattended, as bacteria can travel to the kidneys, turning a minor infection into a serious one. If niggling symptoms (noticeable pain during urination and frequent urging) do not improve within a day—or a strong set of symptoms (pain during or after urination and/or blood in the urine) do not improve within a few hours, then a prescription may be necessary. If unsure, check with your physician. In my experience, antibiotics can be avoided in most cases, but use your common sense and pay attention.
Homeopathic remedies for bladder infections:
When choosing a homeopathy for a bladder infection, it’s important to remember that there is no generic remedy. Instead, the symptoms must be carefully assessed and a remedy must be chosen according to the unique characteristic a person experiences. Here are my favourite remedies:
1. Cantharis 30ch: the number one cystitis remedy when pain is the main symptom. Cantharis is an excellent remedy when symptoms are sudden and clear, with burning pain on urinating, frequent urging to urinate and rapid development of inflammatory symptoms. Because these symptoms are typical of bladder infections, Cantharis is often recommended as THE cystitis remedy, but beware. Homeopathy works best when the symptoms fit the remedy, so read through all remedies before choosing.
2. Sarsaparilla 30ch: is an excellent remedy for cystitis when urine burns at the end of urination with a frequent urge to urinate. The pain may be mild or it may be severe, but the characteristic is that it comes on at the end of urinating. Unfortunately, this remedy is not typically found in a homeopathy first aid kit or travel kit, but you may find it at your local homeopathy pharmacy. Otherwise, choose the next best medicine.
3. Pulsatilla 30ch: is the remedy when symptoms are not as severe and symptoms are changeable and unclear. Urging is typically worse lying down, especially lying on the back. Think of Pulsatilla when burning pain tends to be towards the end of urination (like Sarsaparilla) or if urine is lost easily and one must hasten to urinate. If symptoms begin after having cold, wet feet or sitting in a wet bathing suit—and the symptoms are not severe like Cantharis—then Pulsatilla is a good match.
4. Nux vomica 30ch: when frequent urging and irritation is the main symptom. Nux vomica is the correct remedy for a type of irritable bladder when there is an almost constant urge to urinate, but only small amounts come out. The burning pain is felt especially before but may also be felt while urinating. Like for Pulsatilla, the person must rush or urine will escape. The cystitis may have begun after catching cold or during a period of high stress, and a hot water bottle helps soothe.
How to take homeopathic remedies: Choose the best match for your symptoms, in a 30ch potency, dissolving 3-5 pills on the tongue, and repeating every 2 hours for 3-4 doses—more often if the symptoms are strong and less often when they are weak. Remedies should work quickly, so if there is no change within 3 doses, consult a homeopath for a more suitable remedy. Take care not to allow symptoms to linger. Once symptoms disappear, stop the remedies altogether.
Additional recommendations: Even when taking remedies, make sure you drink lots and lots of fluid–as water and herbal tea, not as coffee or black tea. Adding vitamin C and/or unsweetened cranberry juice is often recommended to acidify pH. Herbal tea combinations typically include Uva ursi, Yarrow and Goldenrod, but I’ve seen many different combinations including Corn silk and Horsetail, among others. These diuretics and anti-bacterials help flush out the kidneys and bladder. Use with a homeopathic remedy to increase your fluid intake or use alone if bladder infections are so mild that symptoms are unclear.
For recurring bladder infections: You must consult a homeopath for a constitutional remedy when symptoms recur or linger. Constitutional treatment is amazing at strengthening overall health and to help reduce recurrences.
Curious about the effectiveness of homeopathy in urinary tract infections? Read the British Medical Journal Editorial with links to homeopathic research. Curious to learn more about homeopathy as a home remedy and live in Vancouver? Take a workshop: www.vancouverhomeopath.com/events.
Please note: homeopathy is a natural medicine which works best as an integrative and complementary treatment, for instance, when home remedies are needed or for chronic, constitutional care to build overall health. Continue to see your physician for diagnoses, check-ups and emergencies.