Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) is one of the most common reasons for outpatient visits to hospitals. This infection can occur in both men and women, but women are more affected than men. Nearly 50 to 60% of women experience UTI at least once in their lifetime.
A study published in the Open Forum Infectious Diseases put the number of UTI related hospitalizations at approximately 400,000 in 2011. Between 1998 and 2011 there was an increase of almost 52% of the cases.
One reason for the increased prevalence of UTIs is microbial resistance to antibiotics, making it one of the more stubborn infections to treat.
In this article, we will learn about UTIs and how CBD can help this infection and provide relief from the symptoms.
Urinary Tract Infection And CBD:
A UTI is an infection that occurs in your urinary system. It can affect any part of the system such as kidneys, urinary bladder, urethra, and uterus, with the bladder and the urethra being the most common infection sites.
It starts with the infection-causing bacteria entering the bladder through the urethra. The bacteria then start multiplying. The body’s defense mechanism kicks-in, leading to inflammation and pain in the affected part. Fever also develops in some cases. The affected person suffers from severe burning when passing urine.
When the body’s defense mechanism isn’t enough to fight the bacteria, it develops into a full-blown infection, causing excruciating pain and other related symptoms.
A person suffering from UTI will experience the following symptoms.
- Urine appears cloudy. It smells strong with a foul odor.
- There is a strong and frequent urge to pass urine. But only a small quantity is expelled each time
- Severe pain and burning sensation while passing urine is a typical symptom of the infection.
- In severe cases, the urine may start a dark-red or a dark-brown tinge. This is a sign of blood in the urine. This symptom warrants an immediate hospital visit.
- Most women having the infection will also experience pain in the pelvic region, while men may experience rectal pain.
- Fever, chills, nausea, and vomitings are the other symptoms seen in patients suffering from the infection.
While this infection can occur in anyone, some people are at a higher risk of contracting it.
- If you have experienced this infection once, chances are that it will repeat itself. This is because residual bacteria lodges itself in the body. When you are experiencing low immunity, the infection may recur.
- Women have shorter urethra when compared to men. The structural differences of the urethra between men and women put men at a lesser risk of contracting the infection when compared to women.
- Women who are sexually more active are at a higher risk of contracting this infection when compared to women who aren’t.
- Among the general population, children and older people are susceptible to the infection.
- Children who haven’t been potty trained or are potty-training can get the infection due to hygiene issues.
- Older men can get the infection due to changes in the urinary tract that may occur due to conditions such a prostate enlargement, epididymitis, or the use of urinary catheters.
- Blocked urinary tract, certain surgical procedures, or a suppressed immune system can also cause urinary tract infections.
Since UTI is a bacterial infection, antibiotics are the first line of treatment. Your doctor will prescribe a course of antibiotics and pain medication if you are experiencing pain and discomfort.
You will be able to get rid of the infection by religiously following the medication and drinking lots of water.
Following the doctor’s advice can help curb the infection temporarily but it can recur at any time. The latest strain of UTI-causing bacteria are evolving to be resistant to the current generation of antibiotics. These factors are forcing medical experts to look for alternatives that can kill the bacteria and eliminate the infection.
CBD is gaining traction as an effective treatment for various conditions. The hemp plant extract contains over a hundred different compounds called cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids. These compounds render the therapeutic properties to the hemp plant.
Among all the cannabinoids, CBD and THC are of interest to scientists and researchers analyzing the hemp plant’s therapeutic properties.
How Can CBD Help Treat UTI?
Some of the symptoms of UTI include pain at the site of infection and a burning sensation while passing urine, fever, nausea, and vomitings. CBD may provide relief from some of these symptoms. The antibacterial properties of CBD also can help fight the UTI-causing bacteria and help treat the infection.
CBD For Pain And Inflammation:
Urinary Tract infection is characterized by pain and inflammation. When the microbes enter the body and target the urinary system, the body’s defense mechanism triggers a fight with them. White blood cells and protein bodies called cytokines launch an attack on the infection-causing bacteria.
This process triggers pain and inflammation in the affected area, resulting in extreme discomfort.
The endocannabinoid system of the human body is responsible for controlling various systems such as the cardiovascular system, the reproductive system, the digestive system, etc. It is also responsible for controlling various brain activities.
This system works through a network of receptors, with each receptor controlling a set of functions. The complete network constitutes the ECS system and ensures that all the systems work coordinately leading to a normal body metabolism.
Two important receptors, the CB1 and CB2 are entrusted with the responsibility of pain and inflammation management. CB1 receptors are present in the central nervous system and certain peripheral tissues and are responsible for managing pain.
CB2 receptors are present in the peripheral tissues and are responsible for managing pain and inflammation.
CBD plays an important role in encouraging the ECS system to work better. It attaches to the CB1 and CB2 receptors and influences them to bring down the pain and inflammation.
One of the important symptoms of UTI is pain in the lower pelvic region and infected areas. Bacteria present in the area cause inflammation resulting in pain.
CBD can help treat the pain and infection that occurs due to the presence of the UTI bacteria by influencing the pain receptors of the ECS system to numb the pain sensation.
CBD and Antimicrobial Properties:
The antibacterial properties of CBD have piqued the interest of researchers and scientists, paving way for trials to see if it can be used to treat various infections.
The current generation of antibiotics may sometimes prove ineffective against the ever-evolving UTI-causing bacteria. Some bacteria remain in the body, even after the infection has reduced completely, increasing the chances for re-infection. Most of the antibiotics cause unwanted side effects too.
All these factors have led to an interest in CBD as a possible treatment for UTI.
CBD for Incontinence:
An important symptom of the UTI is incontinence or an urge to constantly pass urine.
A study published in the Indian Journal of Urology states that CBD was able to reduce the urge to pass urine and improve bladder control in a randomized trial. It was also able to improve many of the bladder related symptoms.
This study raises hopes for those suffering from UTI as it provides significant relief from the troubling symptoms.
CBD For Nausea And Vomitings:
The Endocannabinoid system is responsible for the different organ systems in the body and controls functions such as appetite, moods, etc. An article published in the British Pharmacological Society Journal states that the ECS system can be manipulated to control nausea and vomitings.
CBD was able to effectively control severe nausea and vomitings that occurred due to chemotherapy done as a part of cancer treatments. CB1 is the receptor that controls vomiting. By influencing the ECS system and promoting the CB1 agonism, CBD may suppress the feeling of nausea and vomitings for a patient suffering from UTI.
CBD For Treatment Of Side-Effects:
UTI is a strong infection and may sometimes require strong antibiotics to eliminate it from the system. Although these antibiotics are effective, they can also cause side effects such as lack of appetite, nausea, and vomitings.
We already know that the ECS system is responsible for controlling the brain’s appetite center. CBD can influence hunger receptors to create more appetite. The anti-emetic properties of CBD also treat antibiotic-induced nausea and vomitings. Thus CBD may effectively counter the unwanted effects of UTI medication.
CBD For a Healthy Immune System:
An annoying fact about the UTI is that once it affects you, it keeps recurring. One way to stop recurring infections is by developing a healthy immune system so that the bacteria doesn’t find the vulnerability it needs to re-attack your urinary system.
The ECS system is responsible for modulating the immune system and making sure that it efficiently fights infections. Sometimes, due to unknown reasons, or due to lowered resistance, the ECS system doesn’t function to its full capacity in fighting diseases.
CBD can influence the ECS system and its receptors to perform at their full ability and fight the existing infection and eliminate the microbes. While doing this CBD also makes sure that the immune system is strengthened and any chances for future UTI reinfection are reduced or even prevented.
In effect, by strengthening the immune system, CBD may eliminate the existing infection. It may also prevent future re-occurrences.
CBD also exhibits antioxidant properties, providing further support to the immune system.
To sum up, CBD can provide relief from UTI by acting as an analgesic, anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, and anti-emetic agent. It also may strengthen the immune system to prevent future reinfections.
How To Use CBD For Urinary Tract Infection:
CBD is most commonly used in the CBD oil form to treat various conditions such as pain and infection. CBD oil is of three types:
Full Spectrum CBD oil:
This hemp extract contains the full spectrum of nutrients present in the hemp plant. Full-spectrum oil contains the complete profile of cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids present in the hemp plant, including THC.
In effect, this is a nutrient powerhouse that provides many benefits to those suffering from UTI.
The role of THC in UTI is unclear and we do not know if CBD acts alone or needs THC to show positive effects.
However, a research article published in the Indian Journal of Urology suggests that THC was able to bring in many positive changes in the bladder such as a reduction in incontinence and improvement in bladder hold.
The research also pointed out that the other cannabinoids present in the hemp extract, i.e., the CBD and CBN may antagonize some of the undesirable effects of THC such as intoxication, sedation, and tachycardia.
This research study provides hope for the users of full-spectrum CBD oil to control and treat UTI and its symptoms.
Broad Spectrum CBD oil:
This second category of the hemp extract contains all the compounds of the hemp plant minus the THC.
If you plan to use hemp products to treat UTI and are sensitive to THC or do not want to use it for any other reason, broad-spectrum CBD oil is a good choice.
This oil retains all the other cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids, providing you the necessary support as you fight the UTI.
This is the purest form of CBD. It is devoid of any other cannabinoids, flavonoids, terpenes, and even THC. Isolates are generally sold in a crystal form and are odorless and tasteless. Isolates can be mixed with carrier oils, resulting in CBD oil and tincture.
Isolates retain the full therapeutic properties of cannabidiol and imbibe the nutritional properties of the carrier oil.
Urinary tract infection is quite a debilitating condition with painful symptoms. The fact that this infection can recur any time makes it difficult to deal with. Though there is a need for more research, CBD can provide hope for those suffering from this infection.
With its analgesic, anti-inflammatory, and anti-bacterial properties, CBD may effectively fight the bacteria, provide relief from the symptoms, and may even prevent future recurrences.
CBD combined with a few lifestyle changes such as proper hydration, hygiene habits, and good nutrition may provide hope for those suffering from this infection.
Before starting CBD for UTI, always consult a physician or a practitioner who has expertise in the field. Talk to your doctor about any pre-existing condition if you plan to start CBD. CBD can interfere with medications for conditions such as diabetes and hypertension. Make sure that CBD is safe for you by talking to a medical expert.
Another crucial factor to consider is the source of CBD. Always buy your CBD from reputed and trusted sources. This will ensure that you are getting an authentic product, which in turn is essential for effective treatment of the UTI infection.