Urinary System By the urinary tract we mean the tubes which carry urine from the kidneys where it is made (the ureters), the bladder, and the single tube carrying urine from the bladder to the outside (the urethra). In women the urethra is about 1 ins (4 cms) in length, while in men it is considerably longer, as it has to pass through the penis. Because of this, women are generally more susceptible to bladder infections, chiefly cystitis, caused by bacterial infection from the outside.

Many attacks of cystitis originate as urethritis, and the infection passes quite quickly up the urethra into the bladder. Very prompt treatment at the beginning of an attack can sometimes prevent the infection being transmitted in this way. (See the entry for CYSTITIS for method.) No bladder infection should ever be neglected because of the risk of infection spreading via the ureters to the kidneys. While continuing with aromatherapy treatment, do not hestitate to consult a doctor if symptoms have not gone within two days, or if they are severe with fever, blood or pus in the urine.

Quite a number of essential oils are urinary tract antiseptics, the most valuable being Bergamot, Camomile, Eucalyptus, Juniper, Sandalwood and Tea tree. They should be applied in repeated hot compresses over the lower abdomen. At the same time, copious drinks of spring water and Camomile tea should be taken. Fresh garlic or capsules will reinforce the treatment.

Hot compresses are also used to relieve the discomfort of prostatitis in men. The prostate gland becomes enlarged - a problem usually arising in middle age or later, and because this gland surrounds the outlet of the urethra from the bladder, it obstructs the flow of urine. If the problem is neglected until it becomes acute, or when the onset is sudden, the retention of urine may be total, placing great strain upon the kidneys. Hot compresses of Camomile, Juniper or Pine, placed immediately over the bladder area, will often produce a flow of urine, but medical help must also be urgently obtained. Compresses over the lower back (kidney area) may also help.

See also entries for CYSTITIS, BLADDER and URETHRITIS.

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