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The most common cause of UTI is bacterial infection especially the Escherichia coli (E.coli), that lives on the skin near the rectum or in the vagina, it spreads from bowel and enters the urinary tract through urethra and travels upwards into the bladder and other parts of urinary tract. Other bacteria responsible for UTI are proteus, pseudomonas species, streptococci or staphylococcus epidermis.

Other causes for UTI:-

  1. Reduced water intake
  2. In female – shorter urethra is one of the reason for UTI
  3. Some of the STD’S like herpes simplex, virus and Chlamydia are the possible causes of urethritis.
  4. In infants – unhygienic conditions like, bacteria from soiled diapers can enter the urethra and cause UTI.
  5. Abnormal structure of the bladder- it can be since birth or develops later in life.
  6. Foreign body in the urinary tract.
  7. Habit of waiting too long to urinate.
  8. Diabetes mellitus
  9. Calculi in the urinary tract
  10. BPH (benign prostatic hypertrophy)
  11. Multiple sexual partners
  12. Menopause
  13. Diabetes
  14. Pregnancy
Signs and symptoms :

It is not necessary that every person with UTI will have symptoms but majority of people have at least some symptoms like -

  • Frequent urge to urinate. Despite the urge a little amount of urine is passed.
  • Pain or burning feeling in the bladder or urethra while urinating.
  • There could be pain even when not urinating
  • A general tired or washed out or feverish feeling.
  • Females have a sensation of pressure above the pubic bone where as men experiences fullness in the rectum.
  • The color of urine can be milky or cloudy and sometimes even reddish or brown, if blood is present.
  • Strong smelling urine.
  • In severe cases if the infection has reached high up to the kidneys one can have fever with chills and nausea vomiting.

Children or infants are most likely to have fever and show no other symptoms. A physician should be consulted especially when a change in the child’s urinary pattern is noted.

Complications :

UTI if not treated for a long time, can lead to acute or chronic pyelonephritis, which can permanently damage the kidneys.

Preventive measures:

  1. Drink plenty of fluids.
  2. Vitamin C helps prevent UTI, drinking 2 glasses of orange juice helps prevent UTI especially who are prone to UTI.
  3. To urinate frequently – avoid retaining urine for a long time after you feel the urge to void.
  4. For females – to wipe from front to back after urinating and after a bowel movement helps prevent bacteria in the and region from spreading to the vagina and urethra.
  5. Avoid using deodorant, douches and powders in the genital areas.


  1. Maintain good personal hygiene
  2. Empty the bladder before and after intercourse
  3. In children ask them to empty the bladder before going to bed at night.
  4. Medicinal treatment based on symptom totality.

Homeopathic treatment:
In all cases of UTI following homeopathic remedies can be used very effectively -

  1. Berberis Vulgaris – This medicine is most indicated in UTI especially when it is accompanied with left sided renal stone. Inflammation of kidney with colicky pain. Haematuria, urine with thick mucus and bright red meaty sediment. There is burning of urethra especially when not urinating. Frequent urge to urinate.
  2. Cantharis – This is the most commonly indicated medicine for UTI, where there is frequent and urgent urge to urinate with cutting pains during urination, pain can still persist even after urinating. Scalding sensation for long after urination. Though urge to urinate few drops are passed. The urge to urinate is so persistent and constant that even after urinating one has sensation as if the bladder is filled with urine.  
  3. Chimaphila Umbellate – It is best suited in cases of acute and chronic catarrh of the bladder. Urine is scanty and loaded with ropy, muco-purulent sediment or brick color copious bloody sediment. There is frequent urge to  urinate especially at night. One has to starin to urinate. Also indicated in prostatic enlargement.
  4. Coccus Cacti – It is indicated when one has severe burning pain in the urethra when urinating. The urine is deep colored, yellow, turbid and thick in consistency. In cases of haematuria, urine is passed with brick red sediment. Frequent urge to urinate and large quantity is passed.
  5. Hydrangea – It is best suited in renal colic. Blood is present in urine with white amorphous salts. Severe cutting pains in ureter, in the loins especially left. Burning pain in urethra with frequent desire to urinate and spasmodic stricture of urethra.
  6. Ocimum Canum – it is best suited for people with uric acid diathesis.

There are many more indicated remedies like –
Aconite, Apis, Belladonna, Equisetum, Lycopodium, Nux vomica, Sarsaparilla, Sepia, Staphysagria etc. But the selection of the right remedy depends on the symptom totality and that varies from individual to individual. Thus the intervention of a qualified homeopath is required.
Note: Kindly do not self medicate, consult your homeopath before taking any homeopathic medicines.

Dr Premal Shah

Role of Diet in High Blood Pressure


Blood pressure which remains consistently high and not just once / twice is termed hypertension.
Blood pressure is measured in two parameters. One is systolic (upper) and second is diastolic (lower), 120/80 mm of mercury, is the normal reading. But a lot of doctors consider 140/90 mm of mercury within the normal range in young adults.


• In most cases the cause for high blood pressure is not known.
• Familial heredity.
• Stress.
• Kidney pathology 
• Hormonal imbalance.
• More than 80% of hypertension is "Essential hypertension" for which no cause can be found.


• Stroke 
• Heart attack.
• Damage to kidney.

Sign and symptoms:

• Majority cases of hypertension are detected accidentally as many are asymptomatic.
• Headaches on exertion or from sun.
• Chest pain or tightness.
• Palpitations.
• Tingling and numbness
• Muscle cramps.
• Nosebleeds and profuse perspiration are rare symptoms.

Some dietary tips to manage hypertension:

• Cut down salt (common table salt) intake in your diet; do not exceed more then 2 to 2.5 gm a day.
• In case of severe hypertension do not consume salt at all till the blood pressure lowers down. Later you can start with balanced diet with low salt and fats in your diet.
• Do not add salt over the table to cooked food.
• Avoid other sources of salts like- baking powder and baking soda (sodium bicarbonate), monosodium glutamate and sodium benzoate. These are commonly known as Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, onion salt, garlic salt and buillon salt.
• Avoid salt-preserved foods like ketchups, sauces, pickles, canned and processed foods.
• In case of severe hypertension avoid foods rich in sodium like- milk, egg white, meat, poultry, fish, radish, cauliflower, lotus stem, pulses etc. Later when blood pressure lowers down gradually can resume fresh fruits and vegetables.
• Consumption of Bindweed (Shankhapushpi) is recommended, is beneficial in hypertension
• Consume food rich in magnesium:
- Animal foods: sea food - shellfish - crab, oyster etc are rich source of magnesium but are a good source of fats too hence should be avoided or consumed little and not more then once a week.
- Plant foods: Green leafy vegetables are best source of magnesium and they are devoid of fats and cholesterol.
- Sea plants like Japanese sea plants are very good source of magnesium.
- Nuts- ground nuts, walnut, almond and cashew nuts are most concentrated source of magnesium but should be consumed in a very limited quantity as they are high in fats. Nuts like ground nuts and rice bran oils are high in cholesterol, hence should be avoided.
- Magnesium is also obtained from Whole grains - wheat, brown rice and millets. 
- Other food source of magnesium are peas, lotus stem, pulses, legumes and oil seeds.
• Increase calcium intake:-
- Animal foods: milk and sea food are good source of calcium and a good source of fats too hence should be avoided or consumed little and not more then once a week, you can have semi-skimmed or skimmed milk instead of whole fat milk.
- Nuts are also a good source of calcium and considerably high in fats so should be consumed in a very limited quantity as they are high in fats.
- Green leafy vegetables - mustard leaves, broccoli, fenugreek leaves, collards, kale, turnip greens, colocasia leaves and bok choy or Chinese cabbage are good sources of calcium. 
- Whole grains - wheat, brown rice and millets especially finger millet is high in calcium.
- Certain fruits like - custard apple, guava and banana are high in calcium.
- Other food sources are peas, lotus stem, pulses, legumes and oil seeds.
• Reduce intake of diet rich in saturated fats e.g. meat, eggs, milk products, cheese, butter etc.
• Avoid foods rich in cholesterol: ground nut oil, ghee, butter, whole milk, egg yolk, lard (fats derived from pig meat), tallow (fats derived from goat or sheep mutton), oily fish, meats and red meat - all non-vegetarian food contain cholesterol in varied amount. 
• Avoid non-vegetarian food especially red meat.
• Increase intake of foods that contain PUFA's (poly unsaturated fatty acids): flax / linseed oil is the richest source of PUFA's. Other oils that contain PUFA's are safflower oil, soybean oil, cottonseed oil, maize oil, sesame oil, rich bran oil, ground nut oil, mustard oil and olive oil. As all oils are high in fats, its consumption should be limited. The intake of oils should not exceed 20gms a day.
• Consume whole grain cereals and whole pulses. 
• Take high fiber diet - whole grains, bran, oat, green leafy vegetables, peas, beans, potatoes, raw vegetables, salads, dried fruits and fresh fruits.
• Eat fruits and vegetables with the skin.
• Cut down the intake of sugar and other sweeteners.
• Replace whole milk with semi-skimmed or skimmed milk.
• Avoid fat-rich portions of flesh foods. Instead have lean meat.
• Avoid fat-rich desserts and fried snacks like cakes, pastries, puddings etc
• Instead of frying food boil, steam, grill or roast food.
• Avoid coffee and caffeinated drinks.


• Quit smoking and alcohol. 
• Reduce weight if obese
• Walk every day briskly for at least 30 minutes. 
• Meditation & yoga will help to reduce and tackle stress. 
• Take medicines regularly and go for regular checkups.

All information provided in this article is presented for general informational purposes only. While we make reasonable efforts to include accurate and up-to-date information, it should not be considered complete or exhaustive. We are not responsible or liable for any problem arising from utilization of the information from this site. Kindly consult a qualified dietician before making any dietary changes in your life style.

Dr Varsha B Patel

Diet for a healthy pregnancy

For a mum-to-be, it is even more important to have a well balanced diet, as what you eat has to meet the needs of the mother as well as the developing baby in the womb. In the first trimester most of the physical and mental growth of the baby takes place, one should be very careful in terms of health and diet. During these 1st three months, important organs and the nervous system are developed, hence it is essential to eat a balanced diet from the beginning. The baby takes up room in the abdomen leaving less space for the stomach and thus making it harder for one to eat also leading to morning sickness, yet one need to eat nutritious diet to ensure proper growth and development of the baby.

A nutritious diet includes adequate amount of proteins, fats, carbohydrates, minerals and vitamins, selected from five basic groups – fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grain products, proteins (meat, fish, pulses, and lentils), milk and other dairy products. Eat a variety of food as possible but in moderation, as too much of any food can cause excessive weight gain. Try and eat 3 big meals and 3 small meals throughout the day.

Some essential nutrients to be considered while planning the diet:

Folic acid: it is one of the key ingredients required for the development of the nervous system. Deficiency of folic acid in first few weeks would cause neural tube defect and other birth defects like cleft lip and congenital heart disease. At least 4 mg of folic acid should be consumed from the day of conception and during the first trimester. Natural sources of folic acid – dark green leafy vegetables, liver, yeast, beans, citrus fruits and now also available in fortified bread and cereals. As folic acid is easily destroyed while cooking, best is to either steam the vegetables or eat them raw. Folic acid supplements can be taken under your physician’s supervision.

Iron: iron aids the production of hemoglobin. As the blood volume increases during pregnancy, hemoglobin levels should also increase, for which the iron requirement also increases. An average woman needs about 15 mg of iron daily and during pregnancy the requirement doubles up to 30-50 mg per day. Include food rich in iron like – potatoes, raisins, dates, broccoli, green leafy vegetables, whole grain breads, meat and iron fortified cereals. Iron derived from food is not enough to combat the need hence iron supplements should be consumed under the guidance of your physician. Iron is best absorbed when taken along with vitamin C, hence the supplements should be consumed with an orange or sweet lime juice. Also certain medications, calcium rich food, caffeinated drinks and antacids inhibits absorption of iron so should be avoided with iron supplements.

Calcium: it is essential for the development of bones and teeth of the baby. It starts forming about the eight week of pregnancy. One needs about double (1200 mg) the quantity of calcium than normal. One needs to consume at least 3 servings of milk and milk products. Apart from dairy products foods high in calcium are – green leafy vegetables, salmon, tofu, broccoli, peas, okra, beans, brussel sprouts, sesame seeds, bok choy, almonds.

Proteins: Protein is most important nutrient required for the proper development of the baby. Eat variety of protein rich foods to ensure adequate protein intake. Incorporate vitamin B6 along for proper utilization of protein. Sources – nuts, peas, lentils, beans, dairy products, egg white, fish and meat. Animal sources are also high in fat, so choose lean cuts of meat and limit your intake.

Vitamin A: essential for the embryonic growth of the baby, for the development of heart, lungs, kidneys, eyes and bones, the circulatory, respiratory and the central nervous system. Vitamin A is also essential during the third trimester as after the birth of the baby, it helps mother with the postpartum repair. But Vitamin A intake should not exceed the recommended dosage (750mg /2500 IU). Over dose of vitamin A can cause birth defects and liver toxicity.

Vitamin C: it helps in development of a strong placenta, improves your immunity thus prevents infections, it also enhances iron absorption. As vitamin C is not restored in our body, a daily supply is essential. A considerable amount of vitamin is lost in prolonged storage and while cooking, hence it is best to eat fresh food and steam the vegetables or eat them raw. Sources – fresh fruits like – strawberries, raspberries, kiwi, grapefruit, passion fruit, orange, sweet lime etc, fresh vegetables – green leafy vegetables, beans, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, tomatoes etc. 

Fiber: constipation and piles are most common conditions during pregnancy; high fiber diet should be consumed to prevent it. Sources- fresh fruits and vegetable, brown rice, beans, nuts, cereals and pulses are very good sources of fiber.

Water: pregnant women should drink at least 8 to 10 glasses of water per day. It plays important role during pregnancy – carries nutrients from mother’s food to the baby, it prevents constipation, piles, UTI and during last trimester drinking enough water prevents from dehydration and thus prevents contractions and premature labor. Juices can replace for fluids but they are high in calories and one can gain extra weight. Tea, coffee and aerated drinks cannot be included in total amount of fluids as they contain caffeine which reduces the amount of fluid in our body.

Certain foods are no no during pregnancy:-

  • Canned and processed food
  • Spicy food
  • Tea, coffee, aerated drinks. Caffeine is linked to low birth weight, it is also one of the cause for miscarriage.
  • Hot chocolate, sugary foods like cakes, candies, sodas, colas.
  • Reduce salt intake, especially when you have swelling and high blood pressure during pregnancy. Do not completely avoid salt as it is an important nutrient.
  • Shark, swordfish, marlin, they may have high levels of mercury.
  • Raw sea food such as oyster and sushi.
  • Raw or undercooked meat, poultry and eggs, they may contain bacteria which can harm your baby.
  • Certain cheese like brie and camembert and blue veined cheese like stilton, they all contain listeria, a bacteria that can harm your unborn child.
  • Liver and liver products as they are high in retinol a form of Vitamin A, too much of this vitamin is not good for the development of the baby.
  • Junk, fatty and sugary food.
  • Do not eat left over, frozen and deep frozen food.
  • Avoid alcohol and tobacco during pregnancy. It is known to cause physical defects and learning disabilities and emotional disturbances in children. If you have to drink, u can have no more than one or two units of alcohol and not more than twice a week. DON’T GET DRUNK.
  • Do not go on diet during pregnancy can harm you and the developing baby. Remember weight gain during pregnancy is a very positive sign for a healthy pregnancy.

Treat yourself occasionally
If you are pregnant does not mean that you have to give up all your favorite food. Once in a while you can enjoy the luxury of an ice cream or desserts, but it should not be the mainstay of your diet. But when you occasionally indulge, don’t feel guilty. ENJOY EVERY BITE!

Note: All information provided in this article is presented for general informational purposes only. While we make reasonable efforts to include accurate and up-to-date information, it should not be considered complete or exhaustive. We are not responsible or liable for any problem arising from utilization of the information from this site. Kindly consult a qualified dietician before making any dietary changes in your life style.

Dr Varsha B Patel

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