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Different Approach to Urinary Tract Infection

by Dr Angela Jones(more info)

listed in infections, originally published in issue 41 - June 1999

Melanie was a chronic cystitis sufferer. She had had bouts all her life, but, over the year prior to her first consultation with me, the situation had deteriorated significantly. In previous years, she had always found Cantharis 6c very effective. She had chosen this with the help of a complementary self help guide on the basis that her main symptom was severe burning. Cantharis is the Spanish fly and its bite results in terrible burning which in turn is characteristic of conditions which respond to Cantharis homeopathically.

On the first few occasions, the Cantharis worked like a dream. However, to Melanie's dismay, it seemed to gradually lose its effectiveness. She had to increase the potency to 30c, a manoeuvre which was initially successful, However, ultimately, the Cantharis stopped working altogether and she was forced to go to her GP . When I saw her, she was on her fourth course of antibiotics in eight weeks.

Melanie had a significant past history in that she had had bilateral hydronephrosis (enlarged obstructed kidneys) as a child which had required surgical correction. She was under the care of the renal surgeons and had had a recent scan which had failed to reveal any serious cause for the recurrent infections. Indeed, specimens sent away on each occasion grew coliform organisms, which are normal gut bacteria and a common cause of urinary infection. The specialists felt that daily antibiotics were the only option but Melanie was not at all keen on this option as she always felt 'below par' when on antibiotics and she was also frightened of developing thrush or other yeast infections.

I was relieved that Melanie had been fully investigated as I would have felt that such tests were vital in order to exclude a serious underlying cause. As it was, I was faced with a thirty-five year old with recurrent coliform urinary infections who had stopped responding to Cantharis. The reason for this lack of response became clear as Melanie described her current symptoms. Her urine was no longer burning, as it had done previously. The feeling was rather of a hypersensitivity in the region of the bladder, unaccompanied by pain. She would feel this sensation building up in the bladder with a gripping raw sensation. Her urine would smell unpleasant and she would have to pass frequent small amounts. The only pain was inside the low stomach, after micturition. On direct questioning, Melanie divulged that the problem had worsened since a recent increase in sexual activity.

Apart from the urinary problem, Melanie was generally fit. She was single and had no children. Her general tendency was to be a chilly person without marked perspiration. Foodwise, she liked salty things, alcohol and chocolate and hated fat. However, she was not especially thirsty and found the drinking that she had to do to clear her urine, quite wearisome.

She admitted to having a pretty short fuse and to tend to throw things in temper. On the basis of this characteristic, on the relation of the problem to sexual intercourse and to the nature of the symptoms (hypersensitivity, pain after passing water (rather than during the stream)), I prescribed Staphisagria 30c in a single dose.

Staphisagria is a plant of the delphinium family. Its use as a homoeopathic medicine covers many areas from post natal depression to migraine. In Melanie's case it caused a mild worsening of symptoms for about two weeks. After that time, she felt generally better in herself with more energy and the infections settled for two months. When they recurred, we repeated the dose, expecting a similar positive outcome. Unfortunately, no improvement occurred and Melanie had to resort to antibiotics, much to her annoyance.

The logical next step was to increase the strength or potency of the medicine. This we did, but sadly, the 200c and even the 1M had no effect whatsoever. Melanie was getting very twitchy and despondent and I feared that she was going to abandon homoeopathy as a 'bad job'.

I was left with my last resort, a technique known as Isopathy. This is where a homoeopathic preparation of the actual infecting organism is prepared and administered orally, almost as if using it as a form of immunisation. In Melanie's case we used E. coli nosode 30c, prepared from coliform organisms which were Melanie's main cause of infection but diluted down to infinitesimal quantities so that they contained no infectious matter. I prescribed a weekly dose of the nosode and hoped for the best.

The good news is that, since on this medicine, Melanie has had only one infection in six months. This represents a tremendous improvement on the prior situation and has made both the patient and myself very happy. I have gradually reduced the frequency to fortnightly and now monthly. Eventually, I hope to be able to stop the nosode altogether. This may not be possible though, as Melanie does have an inborn weakness in this area which one will not necessarily be able to overcome totally. Even if she had to continue on an occasional dose, this would still be a very satisfactory outcome. Melanie prefers to take occasional homoeopathy to continuous antibiotics and the side effects of the E. coli nosode have been zero, which is more than can be said for long term antimicrobials.

I often relegate the isopathic approach to second or even third place in my hierarchy of preferred therapeutic approaches. Intellectually, it is not especially challenging as one simply prescribes an 'antidoting' dose of whatever substance, be it poison, allergen or infectious agent is causing the original complaint. Isopathy has, however, been painstakingly tested by the team at the Glasgow Homoeopathic Hospital led by Dr David Reilly and has performed better than placebo in properly performed clinical trials. It is, therefore, of proven efficacy and, as such, should perhaps be used more. Homoeopathic vets make extensive use of isopathic nosodes in the treatment of animals and in particular in the control of infections such as kennel cough, mastitis, etc. Potencies of pollen and house dust mite can be very useful for allergy, be it hay fever or perennial rhinitis and perhaps I shall use them more in future.

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About Dr Angela Jones

Dr Angela Jones works in NHS general practice and also privately, using homeopathy alongside conventional medicine. Dr Jones can be contacted via the Faculty of Homeopathy on Tel: 020-7566 7800.

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