Control-D to Bookmark

Cause of Bladder Infection: The Alternative Medicine Perspective


An understanding of the traditional chinese idea still yields some insight into the cause of bladder infection.


Also see:



Cause of Bladder Infection

Todd Luger, LAc

According to modern medicine, bacteria are the likely cause of bladder infection. There are all kinds of normal bacteria that live on the surface of the body and in the mucosal membranes of tissues like the mouth, rectum and vagina. In addition, these areas of the body are easily susceptible to pathogenic bacteria from external sources. Under normal circumstances, these microorganisms are held in balance or never take root. However if the immune system is compromised through diet, stress, toxins, etc., the delicate balance can change rapidly.

While western medicine doesn't have much idea actually what dietary factors, etc. may be the culprit in predisposing one to bladder infections, Chinese medicine has developed some distinct ideas about the cause of bladder infection. In Chinese medicine, patients with bladder infections are usually given the diagnosis of "damp heat". Logically, if one can avoid or eliminate dampheat, the likelihood of infection will decrease. A little discussion of the concept of dampheat as the term is used in Chinese medicine should clarify things.

First, the idea of damp heat or any Chinese style pattern diagnosis is not meant to be a description of a bacteria, but rather a description of an imbalance of the human who is infected by the bacteria. The Chinese had no idea bacteria existed. So dampheat refers to an imbalanced state of the body. Now from a modern perspective, we know bacteria is one cause of this imbalance. However an understanding of the traditional chinese idea still yields some insight into the cause of bladder infection.

Chinese medicine describes health and disease using metaphors from the natural environment. Their metaphors typically describe the nature of the bodily terrain that responds to disease causing factors rather than the factors themselves. This idea is very similar concept introduced at the dawn of the germ theory of illness by a rival of Pasteur named Claude Bernard and later embraced by Pasteur himself. Just like the natural terrain can be hot and humid, so can the internal terrain. The idea of dampness in Chinese medicine refers to imbalances in the body that involve fluids, while the idea of heat refers to imbalance of temperature. Taken together they refer to the climate of the body.

Dampness is wet and occurs in those who do not process fluids well, whether from their diet or their local climate. The same is true of heat. Either diet or climate can disrupt the system of those who do not regulate heat well. If this heat and dampness collect in the same body, the dampness will make the heat sink into the lower body because water flows downward. However the heat will burn up the collected fluids, turn them yellow as they concentrate and irritate all the local tissues in the process. So how does one alter the hot humid climate in their guts?

Chinese medicine advocates the avoidance of foods that produce damp heat such as alcohol, sugar, refined flour and, in general, anything that is greasy or sweet or spicy. These foods are thought to aggravate the cause of bladder infection if one considers the bodily terrain a factor. This not to suggest, correct diet can cure an active bladder infection. If a bladder infection can be demonstrated to be bacterial, antibiotic treatment is indicated. However, a trained Chinese herbalist should be able to treat the infection reliably with antibacterial herbs in many.

You may be able to treat the cause of bladder infection with
a Urinary Tract Infection Home Remedy

Todd Luger, Licensed Acupuncturist and Herbalist, has 14 years of clinical experience in Chinese Medicine, focused on chronic pain and illness, has been a professor of Herbology and Clinical Medicine at Pacific College of Oriental Medicine since 2000, and is director of the Chinese Herb Academy. You can read more of his articles on, at the Chinese Herb Academy, or on his Health Weblog.
About The PULSE
All information herein provided is for educational use only and not meant to substitute for the advice of appropriate local experts and authorities.

Copyright 1999-2074, Pulse Media International, Brian Carter, MSci, LAc, Editor