Urinary Disorders

The urinary tract is made up of the kidneys, ureters, bladder and urethra. These organs work together to produce, transport, store, and excrete urine, the yellowish fluid that contains waste products removed from the blood. Urine contains the byproducts of our body’s metabolism, salts, toxins and water. For instance, blood, protein or white blood cells in the urine may indicate injury, infection or inflammation of the kidneys. Glucose in the urine may be an indication of diabetes.

Problems in the urinary system can be caused by ageing, illness, congenital disorders or injury. As you get older, changes in the kidneys’ structure cause them to lose some of their ability to remove wastes from the blood. Also, the muscles in your ureters, bladder and urethra tend to lose some of their strength. You may have more urinary infections because the bladder muscles do not tighten enough to empty your bladder completely. A decrease in the strength of muscles of the sphincters and pelvis can also cause incontinence, the unwanted leakage of urine. In addition, illness or injury can prevent the kidneys from filtering the blood completely or block the passage of urine.

Diseases of the Urinary System

The following are the most common urinary disorders:

Burning urine

While passing urine some people feel a burning sensation in the urinary passage. The classic signs of burning urine can be caused by diseases like urinary tract infection, gonorrhea, enlargement of prostate, a stone in the urinary bladder or concentrated urine, as it happens in summer might be responsible for this type of complaint. Burning sensation may occur along with the passage of urine or may occur even after that. It may subside by drinking something alkaline or taking a few glasses of water. Poor hygiene may also contribute a burning sensation.

Hematuria

Presence of blood in the urine is called hematuria. According to Ayurveda, it is a form of Adhoga Rakta Pitta. It is commonly caused by stones or infection in the genito-urinary tract and certain other hemorrhagic conditions. Other causes include:

  • Kidney or bladder cancer
  • Irritation or swelling in your kidneys, prostate or another part of your urinary tract
  • Polycystic kidney disease
  • Blood clots or diseases that cause problems with blood clotting
  • Sickle cell disease
  • Strenuous exercise
  • Tuberculosis

Nephritis

This refers to the inflammation of the kidney. It is of several types and in different stages of the disease it produces different types of symptoms. In Ayurveda, it is called Vrikka Shotha.
Depending upon the type of nephritis, the signs and symptoms differ. The different types of nephritis are as follows:

  • Acute nephritis
  • Chronic nephritis
  • Glomerulonephritis
  • Primary glomerulonephritis
  • Autoimmune nephritis
  • Lupus nephritis
  • Pyelonephritis
  • Interstitial nephritis

The actual cause of the different types of nephritis may differ. In most cases, people suffer from acute nephritis or chronic nephritis. Usually there is edema in the face, which is more prominent in the morning and slowly subsides as the day passes on. The blood pressure may increase and the patient may suffer from biliousness, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, headache and diarrhea.

Bed wetting

It is the involuntary urination at night. After the age of 3 or 4 years, children normally possess sufficient control over their urinary sphincters in as much as they pass urine only when they want. Because of certain reasons, this control does not manifest because of which they continue to pass urine in bed at night. This continues in some cases, even up to the age of 15.

Kidney Stones

Urinary stones are generally formed by calcium, phosphates or oxalates. The main parts of the urinary tract are the kidney, ureter, bladder and urethra. The stones are formed primarily in the kidney and sometimes remain there without being noticed for a long time. In certain circumstances they are slowly dissolved or dislodged and come down. During this process, they become lodged in a narrow part of the tract, giving rise to excruciating pain.

Stones are formed in the body because of Vayu (Air Element) or Vata dosha (biohumor associated with Air and Ether). It creates a type of dryness in the body because of which chemicals start accumulating over the nucleus that ultimately takes the shape of a stone. At times, the entire kidney is filled with these stones and it becomes calcified and stops functioning. If urine is not excreted through the kidneys or excreted in small quantities, uremia sets in and causes many complications. The same phenomenon takes place if a piece of stone gets lodged in the ureter or bladder.

The patient experiences pain in the lumbar region of the kidneys at the back of the body.

Urinary tract infections

Also known as the Fearnes syndrome, they are caused by bacteria in the urinary tract. UTIs are the second most common type of infection after respiratory infection. Women get UTIs more often than men.

The name of the UTI depends on its location in the urinary tract. An infection in the bladder is called cystitis. If the infection is in one or both of the kidneys, the infection is called pyelonephritis. If you wish to take Ayurveda for UTI, please refer to the table below.

Causes of UTI

  • E.coli bacteria is the most common cause of bladder infections.
  • Bacteria can be transferred during sexual intercourse.
  • Dehydration leads to infrequent urination, creating a stagnant and thriving environment for bacteria.
  • Holding it in can cause the urine to “back up,” creating pressure on the valves that prevent urine from traveling back to your kidneys or weakening your bladder. This makes it more difficult to empty out your bladder the next time you go.
  • Soaping, douching or using other artificially scented cleansing products can upset the balance of the good bacteria and pH of your nethers. Please use warm water and a washcloth instead.
  • Poor hygiene might sound antonymous to the previous point but not cleaning often enough can cause bacterial buildup.
  • Synthetic underwear can make it difficult to the skin down under to “breathe.” Always opt for cotton undergarments. Same goes for tight-fitting clothing.
  • Antibiotics can be a troublemaker too. This is because strong antibiotics can kill healthy bacteria in the body. Take probiotics to maintain good bacteria.
  • Vesicoureteral Reflux is a rare condition if you suffer from recurrent bladder infections. This occurs when the valve formed by the ureter does not close properly. While it usually naturally corrected by the mid to late 20’s surgery may be needed in extreme situations to fix the problem.

Prostatitis

It is inflammation of the prostate gland that results in urinary frequency and urgency, burning or painful urination (dysuria), and pain in the lower back and genital area, among other symptoms.
In some cases, prostatitis is caused by bacterial infection. But the more common forms of prostatitis are not associated with any known infecting organism.

Proteinuria

It is the presence of abnormal amounts of protein in the urine. Healthy kidneys take wastes out of the blood but leave in protein. Protein in the urine does not cause a problem by itself. But it may be a sign that your kidneys are not working properly. Prolonged diabetes may causes kidney damage and hence, proteinuria may manifest. To detect kidney problems in the initial stage, the urine microalbumin test needs to be conducted which can help detect very small levels of a blood protein (albumin) in your urine.

Ayurvedic Treatment for Urinary Problem

Diseases affecting the urinary tract and kidneys are broadly termed as Mutravahasrota Roga in Ayurveda.
Generally, the diseases affecting the bladder and urethra are known as Mutraghata.
According to the Madhav Nidaan, Mutraghata is of 13 kinds:
1. Vatakundalika (spasmodic stricture of the bladder)
2. Vatasthila (Enlargement of prostate)
3. Vatavasti (Obstruction of the bladder outlet; retention of urine)
4. Mutratita (Decrease in force of urinary stream; incontinence of urine)
5. Mutrajathara (Distended bladder with urine and gas)
6. Mutrasanga (Stricture of urethra)
7. Mutrakshaya (Anuria)
8. Mutragranthi (Malignant neoplasm/tumor of the bladder)
9. Mutrashukra (Semen in urine)
10. Usnavata (Cystitis, gonorrhea)
11. Vastikundalam (Atonic condition of the bladder)
12. Vidavighat (Retrovesical fistula)
13. Mutrasada (Crystalluria; scanty urination)

Metabolic diseases that are characterized by excessive urination (polyuria) are usually known as Prameha.
As is mentioned before and as the names suggest, disorders of the urinary tract are caused by the Vata dosha. The diseases can be treated with the help of diuretics (mutravirechana). Diuretics stimulate the flow of urine and balance the downward flow of Vata dosha.

Urine Examination (Mutrapariksha)

The color, quality and quantity of urine can be indicative of the biological humor that is causing the problem.
[table id=12 /]

1. Color*

  • Deep yellow = dehydration, high protein diet or taking B-complex supplements
  • Dark/straw colored = Jaundice
  • Green = imbalance in bile production
  • Blackish = malarial problems

2. Burning sensation indicates urinary tract infection
3. Sesame Oil Test: In the ancient texts, the sesame oil test is used to determine diseases and imbalances caused by the various doshas. In order to do this test, we add 2-3 drops of urine to a cup of sesame oil. The urine test is best conducted between 9 a.m. – 11 a.m. for optimal accuracy.

  • Vata – Spreads rapidly
  • Pitta – Spreads with yellowish color
  • Kapha – Spreads slowly

Additional factors of the sesame oil test:

  • Floats = Easily curable diseases
  • Sinks = Hard to cure diseases

Ayurvedic Treatment for Urinary Problem

 

Herbs
  • Shilajit (Mineral Pitch, Asphaltum): Shilajit works on the mutra vahasrotas to clear stagnant Vata and Kapha, redirecting the motion of the Apana Vayu in the pelvic region. This is very helpful in conditions like prostatitis. (Pole, 2006) Shilajit aids in alleviating various urinary problems such as painful urination, cystitis, stones, incontinence and glycosuria. This ancient Ayurvedic herb is also a powerful diuretic by increasing flow of urination, boost kidney and bladder activity, purify toxins and cut out water retention in the tissues. (Tirtha, 1998-2007)
  • Gokshura (Tribulus Terrestris): Gokshura can be very beneficial for urinary tract health and is one of the top bladder infection remedies. You can have 1 teaspoon of gokshura powder in a cup of warm milk.
  • Punarnava (Boerrhavia Diffusa): Punarnava is usually used with gokshura to treat urinary problems holistically. The root is boiled to make a decoction and had with milk every night to increase urine flow. To strengthen the urinary system and prevent UTIs one can also mix 1/4 tsp each of Punarnava, Gokshura and Coriander powders along with 1/8 tsp of Neem. This can be had with warm water thrice daily before meals as one of the most effective natural remedies for urinary tract infection.
  • Guduchi (Tinospora Cordifolia): Another strong diuretic, guduchi helps to remove urinary stones and assists in the management of urinary disorders including urinary tract infections. Giloy juice is very beneficial when consumed on an empty stomach with a little honey.
  • Chandan (Santalum Album): Sandalwood or chandan has been used for centuries in cases or urinary problems owing to its diuretic and antibacterial properties. It can be used in the form of essential oil, added to massage oil.
Ayurvedic Supplements (to be taken under physician’s guidance – Consult Now)  

              Chandraprabha Bati

              Shilajeet Tablets

              Chandanasava

              Gokshuradi Guggulu

              Punarnavadi Guggulu

              Punarnavarishta

             Varunadi Kada

Diet
  • Hot spices are to be strictly avoided. One must drink as much water as possible. Fresh lemon juice, fresh coconut water, orange juice, sugarcane juice and pineapple juice are extremely useful in this condition.
  • The patient should be given fruits like apple, grapes, peaches, berries, pomegranates, figs and plums in good quantity.
  • Lactobacilli bacteria in curds can provide probiotics to your body and help correct any imbalances caused by bacterial infections. This is why curds are very beneficial in case of UTIs. However, do not add sugar to your curds, have them plain.
  • Use cinnamon as a healing spice while cooking or drink herbal tea with cinnamon as it has an antibacterial effect on E.coli which cause infections of the urinary tract.
  • Cardamom is another spice that works wonderfully well as a diuretic. Chew on cardamom pods every day to clean out the urinary tract, bladder, and kidneys, remove waste material, salt, excess water, impurities and combat infections.
  • Nourish and cool your urinary tract with a soothing coriander drink to flush out toxins. Place 3 tablespoons of powdered coriander seeds and 1 tablespoon of mishri (rock candy) in 3 cups of water overnight. It is preferable to keep this mixture in an earthen pot. Stir and drink 1 cup of this mixture thrice a day.
  • Include fiber in your diet by consuming kidney beans and horse gram.
  • Replace salt with pink Himalayan crystal salt, rock salt or sea salt to reduce the burden on the kidneys and bladder.
Lifestyle
  • The patient should not expose himself to sun or heat. Excessive perspiration takes away a lot of water from the body and makes the urine concentrated. Passage of this concentrated urine through the urinary tract causes irritation and gives rise to burning sensation.
  • Never hold back the urge to urinate. This holds up the toxins in your system for longer and allow them to do greater damage.
  • One of the causes of urinary infections is moisture and dampness in and around the urethra. Always wear dry cotton undergarments and clothing that is not too tight.
  • Meditate to stay calm and relaxed because feelings of anger and possessiveness can cause internal inflammation.
  • For problems such as incontinence, one can practice kegel exercises to strengthen the pelvic muscles.
Yoga
  • Gomukhasana (Cow’s Face Pose)
  • Pawanmuktasana (Wind-Relieving Pose)
  • Ardha Matsendrasana (Half Spinal Twist Pose)
  • Uttanpadasana (Raised Leg Pose)
  • Viparita Karani (Legs Up the Wall Pose)
  • Mula Bandha (The Root Lock)