Sujal Torgal Patil
The management of any imbalance goes through two phases, first is to subside the acute manifestation by analysing the immediate cause of imbalance, removing it and treating the condition. The second phase is to analyse the long-term causes, the exact root of the disorder and pathology behind it and later manage it with diet, lifestyle changes, rational medication and end the management with ‘apunarbhav chikitsa’. Apunarbhav literally means “causing no-recurrence”. So the treatment modality that prevents recurrence of any given disorder in the body is apunarbhav chikitsa. This is significant in treating any disease through Ayurved, and the chikitsa or the treatment is said to be incomplete without it.
The approach of management varies with every disorder, but while holistically managing any urinary disorder the following plan of action is taken:
DIET- In severe infection or inflammation, the diet should be vegetarian-based, warm and lighter for digestion like rice gruel or vegetable soup devoid of oil. One should avoid non-vegetarian, oily, fried food, dairy products, raw food, juices etc. Avoid salty and sour food and include bitter foods in the diet during the inflammatory stage. This should be followed until the acuteness of the infection subsides.
In non-inflammatory condition avoid food that is hot, acrid, and acidic and dry. Old rice, green gram, sugar candy, buttermilk, ghee, milk, ash gourd, bottle gourd, pointed gourd, cucumber, pumpkin, dates, tender coconut, gooseberries, clean river water are extremely beneficial for all urinary disorders in general. Dry fruits like pistachio, almonds and chilgoza, if consumed after soaking, is beneficial for the kidneys but avoid salted ones. Having medicated coriander seed decoction is beneficial instead of normal water. Include coconut water, vetiver syrup, and lime water every day in the diet. Blueberry and cranberry flesh and seeds are good to correct increased urination and glycosuria (sugar in urine). Pomegranate fruits, as well as peel, are extremely beneficial too. Bel fruit helps in urine retention. Black grapes and raisins are helpful in burning and scanty urination. Kidney beans, carrot, beetroot, wheatgrass, coriander and parsley are alkaline and kidney-friendly. Replace normal salt with Himalayan rock salt. One can have non-vegetarian food two-three times in a month.
Drink water according to the thirst quotient. It is not advisable to drink litres of water at one go especially in the morning or on an empty stomach as it reduces metabolism, puts a strain on the kidneys and even increases congestion if you are suffering from congestive or mucoid disorders. Recurrent kidney stones are due to hampered metabolism and food habits are more relevant to this than drinking water.
While following the diet, especially if one is suffering from chronic renal failure, one has to be cautious and better to seek expert advice.
Avoid alcoholic beverages, tea, coffee, salty-sour food, seafood, ginger, chillies, beans, spinach, tomatoes, ladyfingers, fried foods, asafoetida, sesame seeds, mustard seeds, black gram etc. Also, avoid incompatible food combinations. Go for low protein diet if you have a kidney issue. Meat, eggs or seafood should completely be avoided.
Lifestyle changes – Avoid suppression of urge to urinate, over-exertion, avoid exposure to extreme weather especially hotter environments, excessive sex, excessive travelling, sitting uncomfortably.
Wipe properly after urinating or having a bowel movement (from front to back in women).
Wear comfortable, cotton undergarments and also avoid tight pants.
Avoid bathtubs, have showers instead.
Avoid usage of strong soaps, feminine hygiene products and antiseptic creams which may irritate the urethral region.
In painful bladder-conditions do hot compresses over bladder or in the mid/lower back region in case of kidney stones. Do not apply any oil or ointment in severe pain or inflammation.
Yog – The wellbeing of kidneys and the urinary tract is governed by the third chakra-the manipura chakra located at the navel region. Glowing good health, courage, enthusiasm, confidence and vitality are attributes of a balanced manipura chakra. For diseased as well as healthy there are certain poses which will help the urinary system, in general, to remain healthy.
Poses like janu shirshasan, bhujangasan, pawanmuktasan, shalabhasan, halasan, suryanamaskar help in stimulating the kidneys and strengthen them. Pranayam especially kapalbhati has proven to be extremely useful in kidney disorders. Regular cleansing practices like shankhaprakshalan, dhouti are helpful in urinary issues.
Treatment – Dependant on the disorder, patient as an individual, the severity of the disease and other factors, a multidimensional treatment approach is adopted which is ideal. Rule out if there is an underlying disease causing a urinary disorder. E.g. persistent diabetes may cause nephropathy.
As discussed in the last part, it is a prerequisite to correct the digestive system (any kind of inflammation/infection/allergic reaction is triggered with the favourable gut environment) of the patient simultaneous to the urinary system. Minimal science-based evidence-based Ayurvedic medication with a very strict dietary regimen can reverse an episode of UTI in no time without any use of antibiotics or steroids and even prevents the recurrence.
There is a basic understanding among the masses that once an individual suffers from any urinary disorders, it usually recurs. This stands true because the majority of these disorders are lifestyle oriented. Ayurved helps us understand this. Disorders caused due to faulty diet and lifestyle can only be corrected with proper diet or lifestyle, medicines have a secondary role in this!
(Writer is CMO at Traya Natural Health Centre and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)