Cause of Bladder Infection
Todd Luger, LAc
According to modern medicine, bacteria are the likely cause of
bladder infection. There are all kinds of normal bacteria that
live on the surface of the body and in the mucosal membranes of
tissues like the mouth, rectum and vagina. In addition, these
areas of the body are easily susceptible to pathogenic bacteria
from external sources. Under normal circumstances, these microorganisms
are held in balance or never take root. However if the immune
system is compromised through diet, stress, toxins, etc., the
delicate balance can change rapidly.
While western medicine doesn't have much idea actually what dietary
factors, etc. may be the culprit in predisposing one to bladder
infections, Chinese medicine has developed some distinct ideas
about the cause of bladder infection. In Chinese medicine, patients
with bladder infections are usually given the diagnosis of "damp
heat". Logically, if one can avoid or eliminate dampheat,
the likelihood of infection will decrease. A little discussion
of the concept of dampheat as the term is used in Chinese medicine
should clarify things.
First, the idea of damp heat or any Chinese style pattern diagnosis
is not meant to be a description of a bacteria, but rather a description
of an imbalance of the human who is infected by the bacteria.
The Chinese had no idea bacteria existed. So dampheat refers to
an imbalanced state of the body. Now from a modern perspective,
we know bacteria is one cause of this imbalance. However an understanding
of the traditional chinese idea still yields some insight into
the cause of bladder infection.
Chinese medicine describes health and disease using metaphors
from the natural environment. Their metaphors typically describe
the nature of the bodily terrain that responds to disease causing
factors rather than the factors themselves. This
idea is very similar concept introduced at the dawn of the germ
theory of illness by a rival of Pasteur named Claude Bernard
and later embraced by Pasteur himself. Just like the natural terrain
can be hot and humid, so can the internal terrain. The idea of
dampness in Chinese medicine refers to imbalances in the body
that involve fluids, while the idea of heat refers to imbalance
of temperature. Taken together they refer to the climate of the
Dampness is wet and occurs in those who do not process fluids
well, whether from their diet or their local climate. The same
is true of heat. Either diet or climate can disrupt the system of
those who do not regulate heat well. If this heat and dampness
collect in the same body, the dampness will make the heat sink
into the lower body because water flows downward. However the
heat will burn up the collected fluids, turn them yellow as they
concentrate and irritate all the local tissues in the process.
So how does one alter the hot humid climate in their guts?
Chinese medicine advocates the avoidance of foods that produce
damp heat such as alcohol, sugar, refined flour and, in general,
anything that is greasy or sweet or spicy. These foods are thought
to aggravate the cause of bladder infection if one considers the
bodily terrain a factor. This not to suggest, correct diet can
cure an active bladder infection. If a bladder infection can be
demonstrated to be bacterial, antibiotic treatment is indicated.
However, a trained Chinese herbalist should be able to treat
the infection reliably with antibacterial herbs in many.
You may be
able to treat the cause of bladder infection with
a Urinary Tract Infection Home Remedy
||Todd Luger, Licensed
Acupuncturist and Herbalist, has 14 years of clinical
experience in Chinese Medicine, focused on chronic pain and
illness, has been a professor of Herbology and Clinical Medicine
at Pacific College of Oriental Medicine since 2000, and is
director of the Chinese
Herb Academy. You can read more of his articles on PulseMed.org,
at the Chinese Herb Academy, or on
his Health Weblog.