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Help for urinary tract infections

A patient of mine with chronic diarrhea of many years' duration was doing great after a few months of homeopathic treatment. Her diarrhea was associated with the bacteria, Clostridium difficile, an organism that causes diarrhea in some patients after antibiotic use. She continued to do well until she returned from vacation.
     "What happened?" I inquired, surprised at the return of her problem. "While I was out of town I got a bladder infection and went to a local clinic," she replied. "They gave me a ten-day course of antibiotics. After seven days on the antibiotics, my diarrhea came back. That was about two weeks ago." "How long did it take for your bladder infection to clear up?" I asked. "One to two days," she answered.
     This is a classic and common example of antibiotic overuse. The bladder infection was clear in a day or two and the patient dutifully took the remaining eight days of antibiotic resulting in serious problems. In my experience, antibiotics are rarely needed for bladder infections at all, and then usually for two to five days.
     I treat my patients who get bladder infections primarily with homeopathic remedies. The results are very gratifying and often dramatic. A nurse I treated at a social service conference last year was so astonished at the rapid curative action of the indicated remedy (Sarsaparilla in her case) that she still can't stop talking about it. "I've never seen anything like it! It's incredible!" she exclaims in her southern accent to anyone who will listen. Experiences like this make believers in homeopathy.
     As in all complaints, there is no single homeopathic remedy for everyone with a bladder infection. A remedy that is rapidly curative in one patient may offer no benefit to another patient. The following remedies are ones that I have found useful in a majority of patients. They are common, easily obtained, and have some clear distinguishing features.
     Sarsaparilla: I have found this to be one of the most commonly indicated remedies for patients with bladder infections. Its great characteristic is that the discomfort that the patient experiences with urination is worse at the close of urination. This may feel like a spasm or sharp pain at the end of urination. This characteristic is so reliable that when found in a patient with a bladder infection it is rarely necessary to look further.
     Pulsatilla: Unlike the Sarsaparilla, there is no single great characteristic in the patient with a bladder infection that indicates its use. Here the general characteristics of the remedy must be found in the patient. These are a weepy, tearful mood; averse to heat; desire for open air; little thirst. The patient may have a crampy feeling after urination (somewhat like the Sarsaparilla) and may be worse lying down, but the general characteristics of the remedy will be found in the patient to indicate its use.
     Nux vomica: The usual Nux vomica symptoms will be found in a patient with a bladder infection who needs this remedy. These symptoms are a chilly, irritable patient who is having painful ineffectual urges to urinate. The patient is often oversensitive, intolerant of any pain, and typically constipated.
     Cantharis: When I first studied homeopathy, this remedy was introduced as the leading remedy for patients with bladder infections. What I found in practice, of course, was that the characteristics of the remedy must be found in the patient for it to work. This remedy is associated with a rapid and intense violence. The urine is burning or scalding, and the pains are cutting. There is an intense urging or straining, often ineffectual. There is often an associated sexual excitement.
     Staphysagria: This remedy is famous for ineffectual urging to urinate in "newly married women," which means in women who have recently started having sexual intercourse. A great many remedies (including the ones above) might be indicated in such patients, but this is always one to consider. There is often a burning in the urethra when not urinating. The patient is often angry or has suppressed anger.
     There are many other homeopathic remedies that might be needed in a patient with a bladder infection. If the remedies above don't seem to fit and you have access to other homeopathic books or resources, consider Aconite, Apis, Terebintha, and Equisetum.
     How to take the remedy: The 30X or 30C potency is available in most natural food stores. Take 2 or 3 of the pellets under the tongue every 2 to 4 hours, and decrease the frequency of the dosing as the patient responds. Discontinue use when the symptoms are gone. Patients usually respond quickly to an indicated remedy (eg., overnight), though it may take a few days for the symptoms to completely resolve
     Remember to have the patient drink lots of fluids. Cranberry juice really does help (try to use the extract without sugar). Patients with recurrent infections should probably see a homeopathic practitioner since a more "constitutional" remedy may be needed to stop the recurrences.
     A word of warning: the danger of bladder infections is that the infection can travel up the ureters and infect the kidneys. A persistent bladder infection, or one associated with high fevers or back pain, should be evaluated by a physician.
     (P.S. The patient in the story at the beginning of the article responded quickly to further homeopathic treatment, and her diarrhea once again abated.)

About the author:
Dr. Timothy R. Dooley is a graduate of National College of Naturopathic Medicine as well as Oregon Health Sciences University School of Medicine. He practices homeopathy in San Diego, California, and teaches at the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine and Health Sciences. He is the author of the easy-to-read introductory book, Homeopathy: Beyond Flat Earth Medicine. The complete text can be read on-line at For more information, visit He can be reached at (619) 297-8641 or