Bladder infections are a common problem for women, accounting for more than 6 million office visits each year. Bacteria from the skin or rectal area can easily move the short distance from a woman’s urethral opening into the bladder, particularly after sexual intercourse. Men, because of the greater distance between their bladder and urethral opening, only rarely develop bladder infections.
The primary symptoms of a bladder infection are burning during urination, increased frequency of urination, and an urgent need to urinate, possibly accompanied by pain in the lower abdomen and cloudy or bloody urine. Occasionally, the infection spreads upward into the kidneys, producing symptoms such as intense back pain, high fever, chills, nausea, and diarrhea.
A 1-month, single-blind, placebo-controlled study of 200 women who complained of developing bladder infections after sexual intercourse evaluated the effectiveness of Staphysagria 30c.1 The results were positive. In the treatment group, 90% of the participants stopped developing bladder-related symptoms, 8% were very much better, and 2% remained unchanged—a much better outcome than in the placebo group. However, the fact that the study was single- rather than double-blind severely diminishes its credibility. (If the researchers were predisposed to find homeopathy effective, they would tend to bias the results. See Why Does This Database Rely on Double-blind Studies? for more information.)
In classical homeopathy, there are many possible homeopathic treatments for bladder infections, to be chosen based on various specific details of the person seeking treatment.
The symptom picture of homeopathic Belladonna includes frequent and intense urges to urinate, cramping in the bladder, and dark yellow urine released in small amounts, accompanied by fever, flushing, and restless irritability.
A bladder infection with twinges of cutting pain or a burning feeling that extends to the urethra and its opening may indicate a need for the Berberis vulgaris remedy. The urinary passage may also burn at times when no attempt at urination is being made. After emptying the bladder, the person feels as if some urine still remains inside, and the urge to urinate is often made worse by walking.
When the passage of urine is associated with sharp cutting pains, homeopathic Cantharis might be recommended.
Equisetum is typically associated with a sensation of pain and fullness in the bladder that are worsened rather than improved by emptying the bladder.