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Jessi had excruciating pain in her hips and lower back since 2 days. Every time she experienced strong waves of pain, especially on her right side, her body tensed and took her breath away. She wasn t comfortable lying down or sitting or standing; nothing she could do that eased her pain a bit. On the third day she started vomiting and was also running a high fever. She felt too tired to move. Jessi was rushed to the hospital where she was diagnosed with kidney infection. Medically termed pyelonephritis, is a form of urinary tract infection that usually begins in the bladder and travels up to the kidney/s.
Apart from the symptoms that Jessi had pain in the side, hips, and lower back, vomiting, fever, and fatigue you may also feel a discomfort in your groin; loss of appetite and sometimes even diarrhoea. Frequent urination, burning sensation or pain during urination, cloudy and foul smelling urine, and sometimes blood or pus in the urine are also the symptoms of kidney infection.
Seek immediate medical treatment if you get the symptoms of kidney infection as it could lead to life-threatening complications. Unfortunately, for many people it is not a one-time ailment. It can come back time and again. And if you are tired of taking antibiotics (it is the first line of treatment for kidney infection) every time, you may consider alternative remedies for kidney infections.
Ayurveda for kidney infection
According to Ayurveda, any imbalance in the Vata, Kapha, or Pitta (Doshas) imbalance causes disease. Although all three are essential for proper kidney function, Pitta or specifically Pachaka Pitta is said to be responsible for kidney infections to a great extent. Again, treatment is not the same for everyone. Your Ayurveda doctor will treat your kidney infection based on your body constitution. You will be given a specific diet depending upon your body type and the type and severity of your infection.
For example, the herb Gokshura(Tribulusterrestris) is known for its diuretic, antiseptic, and anti-inflammatory properties. This herb is used in Ayurvedic preparation for treating painful urination, kidney infections and urinary stones.
In one study, 100 renal failure patients were given the following Ayurvedic preparation and they showed more than 50 percent relief in all the signs and symptoms, including an increase in haemoglobin level and urine output.
Interestingly, Tribulusterrestris (baiji li) has been used in Chinese medicine for over four hundred years to treat a variety of liver, kidney, and cardiovascular diseases.
Cystone and Chandraprabha are some other Ayruvedic preparations that help improve kidney and urinary tract infections. (Read: Natural remedies to relieve kidney infections)
Herbs that help manage urinary tract infections and kidney infections
E. coli, Klebsiellapneumoniae, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Enterococcus faecalis are the major pathogens that cause UTI and kidney infections. There are many herbs and natural ingredients that can help eliminate these pathogens from the system. For example, cranberry juice and blueberry juice prevent E.coli bacteria to adhere to the urinary tract lining, thus preventing the development of kidney infection. So do common kitchen ingredients such as ginger and pomegranate. Research has shown that these herbs have strong antibacterial activity against E. coli.
Similarly, Cinnamomum cassia (cinnamon) showed maximum antibacterial activity against Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Azadirachtaindica(neem)and Ocimum sanctum (tulsi)exhibited antibacterial activity against Enterococcus faecalis.
In general, garlic, onion, pepper, cabbage family veggies, and olive oil help reduce inflammation. So try including these foods in your diet to safeguard your kidneys.
Acupuncture for kidney infection and UTI
Acupuncture is based on the principle that disease occurs when the flow of chi (life force / vital energy) in the body is blocked. The treatment thus lies in enabling free flowing of chi. This is done through various acupuncture points situated in the meridians in the body.
Some of the points acupuncturists use to treat urinary tract infection and kidney infection are
CV1 Hui Yin Conception Vessel Meridian
CV3 ZhongJi Conception Vessel Meridian
CV5 Shi Men Conception Vessel Meridian
GV1 Chang Quian Governing Vessel Meridian
HT8 Shao Fu Heart Vessel Meridian
SP9 Yin Ling Quan Spleen Meridian
SP11 Ji Men Spleen Meridian
ST28 Shui Dao Stomach Meridian
These points are however not the only ones, your acupuncturists will decide which acupuncture points will be most effective for you. Along with acupuncture, you will also be given some specific formulas and herb extracts for your kidney infection. (Read: 5 foods to help you recover from kidney disease)
Homeopathy for kidney infection
Homeopathic pills are made from plants and minerals and are added to lactose pills. Homeopathic medicines are highly diluted. That doesn t mean that they are ineffective. However, homeopath professionals believe that homeopathy can treat urinary tract infection effectively and prevent kidney infection, but kidney infection is best treated with antibiotics to prevent permanent damage to kidneys.
That said, some of the symptoms can be relieved with the following two homeopathic medicines:
Whatever treatment you choose, it is important that you remain properly hydrated. Drink lots of fluids. It is going to help flush out bacteria from the urinary tract. Also avoid caffeinated drinks until your infection is cured. (Read: 10 tips to prevent kidney disease)
Photo source: Getty images
NedStars B.V. (Eindhoven, T. (2014). Ayurveda and the kidneys - AyurvedischGezondheidscentrum Nederland | meerdan 30 jaarervaring. [online] Agn-ayurveda.com.
Patel, M., Patel, N. and Gupta, S. (2011). Effects of Ayurvedic treatment on 100 patients of chronic renal failure (other than diabetic nephropathy). AYU (An International Quarterly Journal of Research in Ayurveda), 32(4), p.483.
Sharma, A., Chandraker, S., Patel, V. and Ramteke, P. (2009). Antibacterial activity of medicinal plants against pathogens causing complicated urinary tract infections. Indian Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences, 71(2), p.136.
Yinyanghouse.com, (2014). Natural and Alternative Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) Treatment Options | Yin Yang House. Available at: http://www.yinyanghouse.com/conditions-treated/alternative-natural-options-for-urinary-tract-infection-uti.
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