Urination is the product of the passage of blood through the kidneys, which acts as a filtration system taking out most toxins. Urine is predominantly water with a variety of minerals and compounds known as electrolytes, which include sodium, potassium, hydrogen and chloride. These, more so than the minerals such as calcium, magnesium and sulphates are sacrificed in an attempt by the kidneys to keep the blood at a balanced level of acidity:alkalinity. Urine obtains its name from the presence of urea, a nitrogenous waste product of the body’s metabolism.
Because the body generally produces acid in its metabolic pathways, the urine removes this and is therefore usually mildly acidic. This is an important factor because many bacteria prefer an acidic environment and changing the pH to make it more alkaline may be an effective treatment for bladder and urinary problems.
Urination is the outflow of this waste product and can amount to between one to two-and-a-half litres in a normal, healthy adult. The more we drink and the more diuretics we take in the form of caffeine, alcohol and refined sugars, the more we pass urine.
The need to urinate is governed by stretch receptors within the bladder wall. A full bladder will take the stretch of these neurones beyond a threshold and an impulse will be sent to the brain saying ‘empty’. Our consciousness registers a discomfort and we generally make our way to the bathroom. Stretch receptors may be influenced by pressure from outside of the bladder as well as from inside. Any ‘growth’ in the lower pelvis may trigger the desire to urinate. Pregnancy, enlargement of the prostate and obesity are common factors. A full rectum or lower ‘sigmoid’ colon can apply pressure, as can an enlarged prostate. More sinister causes include nerve damage from diseases such as multiple sclerosis and tumours, either benign, such as fibroids in the uterus, or cancerous.
The urethra has sensitive nerves that, if irritated, can send impulses to the brain recommending urination. The intention is to have a flow of urine pass over the irritated area to try to wash out any causative agent.
An excessive desire to urinate, whilst usually representing a mild condition, may be an indication of metabolic disease such as diabetes or pelvic pathology and should always be reviewed by a GP.
Please refer to the relevant section here once an underlying cause has been established.
The inability to hold urine is known as incontinence. An overfilled bladder in association with increased abdominal pressure from sneezing or laughing may cause a natural incontinence. Attention should be paid if a mild rise of abdominal pressure by coughing, laughing or sneezing creates a leakage. This is known as stress incontinence. Pregnancy and pelvic tumours may cause pressure that overwhelms the valves, causing incontinence. Inflammation of the urethra or bladder, as in cystitis, will encourage urinary flow to flush out any irritant.
Neurological problems may affect both the voluntary and involuntary valves, and in men inflammation or enlargement of the prostate may alter the valve control. Incontinence is part of the picture of prostatitis . Women may have weakness of the muscles and ligaments that hold the uterus in place, especially due to overstretching in pregnancy or to the diminution in oestrogen levels following menopause. If the uterus should drop down it would put pressure on the bladder, thereby encouraging incontinence. The bladder itself may lose its supports for the same reasons and a bladder prolapse may also be a cause.
Anxiety and nervousness may trigger bladder emptying by a mechanism described in the section on stress . Very often this may create such an impulse to urinate that a dash to find a toilet is inevitable. This is known as urgency incontinence.
Obtain the opinion of a urological specialist if urination or incontinence is a problem.
If a specific cause is isolated, try to remedy it by following the instructions in the appropriate section here.
The homeopathic remedies Ferrum phosphoricum or Causticum, potency 30 taken four times a day, may be beneficial until a more specific homeopathic remedy is selected.
Urination should never be painful. Elimination from the body is usually an enjoyable experience and a mildly pleasant sensation is usually associated, although not noticed until it is pointed out! The body likes to have its toxins removed and the nervous system generally says thank you.
Painful urination must thereby be considered an important warning. Generally, inflammation in the bladder or the urethra is the cause but tumours and neurological diseases need to be excluded if the problems do not resolve under basic medical care.
Painful urination that does not respond to the advice given in the section on cystitis must be reviewed by a GP initially .
Homeopathic remedies Berberis, Juniper and Cantharis may be used at potency 6 until a definite diagnosis has been made and more specific homeopathic remedies are chosen on the symptoms as a whole.
Retention of urine
Retention of urine is the inability to pass the bladder contents. A desire to urinate usually occurs when the bladder is holding approximately a pint of urine . Pain will increase if the bladder is not emptied when approximately one and a half pints is retained. The bladder can stretch and accommodate up to five pints of urine but the pain becomes excruciating.
The reason is due to outlet obstruction and needs to be treated as an emergency because the back-pressure from the full bladder up the ureters will lead to the kidneys developing hydronephrosis that in turn will damage the kidney function.
Obstruction may slowly develop due to an enlarged prostate in males or an increased worsening of bladder or uterine prolapse in women. Strictures from a chronic infection or acute inflammation of the urethra and prostate may all obstruct the flow. Rarely, but more frequently in children, foreign objects may impede urine flow. Trauma to the urethra from external injury or internally from operative procedures or catheterization may anatomically block the flow or encourage inflammation. Tumours at the neck of the bladder or, very rarely, in the urethra may be a problem.
An inability to pass urine must always be seen by a doctor immediately. A catheter may need to be passed.
If retention is noted, stop drinking until attention is sought and found.
The unusual remedy Tarantula cubensis 6 can be used in a dose every lOmin and may relieve the situation. If Tarantula cubensis is not available try Ignatia or Arnica at the same potency and frequency.
The urine should have a clear yellow colour. The presence of any opacity or a darkening or redness of the urine is abnormal. The colour and viscosity is dependent upon the food eaten and those who take vitamin B complexes will note that their urine may appear a much darker yellow or even a light orange. A reason for colour change must be obvious otherwise it should be assumed that blood is present and this is pathological. Colourless urine is associated with overdilution and is triggered most frequently by drinking diuretics such as alcohol and caffeine. Provided that an obvious reason for this colour deficiency is apparent, then no further action needs to be taken.
Any change in colour of the urine that is not clearly related to a dietetic change must be reviewed by a physician.
Any sign of orange, brown or pink blood in the urine, bleeding within the urogenital tract must be assumed and investigated.
Always take a first-morning urine sample and refrigerate if the appointment with your physician is not within 3hr. In any case, collect the next urine sample after any abnormality is noted.
Until a firm diagnosis is made, any suggestion of blood in the urine should be treated by the remedy Phosphorus 6, one dose every hour.
Urinary urgency is an uncontrollable desire to empty the bladder. It is a sensation unlike any other and is controlled by information from the nerves in the area. The brain can sense urgency because of an over-stretched bladder, inflammation of the bladder or urethra or by injury or stimulation of the nervous system between the bladder and the brain.
Inflammation caused by infection will encourage the bladder to empty in an attempt to flush out the invading organism but often irritation from trauma or overly acidic or alkaline urine may have the same effect. In males, an enlarged prostate will push up on the bladder exit and send false information about the bladder fullness to the brain. A tilted pelvis or malaigned lower spine may pinch the sensory nerves of the bladder, telling the brain that the bladder is full when it is not. Spinal injury or problems within the brain itself may also do this.
When nervous or under stress the body produces adrenaline, which moves blood to areas such as the muscles, heart and lungs in preparation for fight or flight. This blood has to come from somewhere and will be taken from the skin , the bowel and the bladder . Stress and anxiety will encourage the desire for urination and may be the cause of urgency. The brain is sensitive to habit and once a problem with the bladder has been triggered the consciousness is concentrated on this area and an individual becomes even more sensitive.
Weak urinary flow or stream
A weak flow is an indication of nerve damage to or from the bladder muscle or a partial obstruction, which may be due to a developing stricture, inflammation or tumour but is most frequently associated in men with an enlarging prostate. The enlargement narrows the urethral lumen.
Attention should be paid to any cause of a weak flow; if uncertain, please see a doctor or urological specialist.
Please treat the underlying cause by following instructions from the relevant section here.
Ensure good hydration because a concentrated acidic or alkaline urine will trigger urgency.
Isolate the possibility of any psychological stress or nervousness and use relaxation, meditation or counselling techniques to remove this.
If the problem is sporadic, consider a food allergy or intolerance tumour that forms in the part of a fertilized ovum that attaches to the uterine wall that will become, or already is, the placenta. Hydatidiform moles can mimic pregnancy and may be dangerous because of the potential for a serious haemorrhage. If caught early , treatment is by dilatation and curettage , but those that are not noticed may require a hysterectomy. Clearly, this is a devastating condition to have and I believe one that should be dealt with by modern medicine.
A hydatidiform mole is likely to be spotted only by an experienced physician or an ultrasound. Follow orthodox advice.
Consult a complementary medical practitioner for constitutional support.
See Operations and surgery.
Uterine prolapse is the displacement of the uterus downwards through the vagina. A mild prolapse may not be noticed and is quite common after several pregnancies but may descend to fill the vaginal vault and even become exposed. The latter produces several problems as the cervix and the lower part of the uterus will be exposed and lose its moist, protective environment. As the uterus descends it puts pressure on the bladder, causing a frequent desire for urination and incontinence. Pain may be formed by the pressure.
Prolapse is usually the outcome of a weakening of the ligaments that hold the uterus in the pelvis.