Urinary Tract Infection (UTI’s)

A UTI, or urinary tract infection, is definitely no fun. It is not only uncomfortable, but often very painful. A UTI is an infection in any part of your urinary system including your kidneys, ureters, bladder and urethra. Most commonly, infections are found in the lower urinary tract, which is the bladder and the urethra.
A UTI is more common in women as we are more likely to develop an infection. The typical treatment for a UTI is your physician’s prescription for antibiotics, and some Tylenol or ibuprofen for pain management. The problem arises if your UTI spreads to your kidneys where serious consequences can occur.
You can take these steps to reduce your chances of developing an infection in the first place.

Signs & Symptoms

If you have never experienced a UTI, you may be wondering what signs and symptoms to watch for.
You may find you have a strong and persistent urge to urinate and when you do you could experience a burning sensation.
You may also find that you are only passing frequent yet small amounts of urine. Your urine may look cloudy, have a strong smell, and in some cases can look red, bright pink or cola colored, signaling that there is blood in the urine.
You may also experience pain in the center of the pelvic area and around the pubic bone. It’s also important to note that not all UTIs present with signs and symptoms.

Natural Prevention from UTIs

  • Drink Plenty of Water
    Drinking water will help dilute your urine and cause you to have to urinate frequently. By doing so, you eliminate bacteria faster which keeps an infection from starting in the first place.
  • Keep the Area Clean
    • You always want to keep the area clean and dry. Wash the area regularly and refrain from using feminine products such as douches, sprays and powders that only end up irritating the urethra and can cause an infection. Wear dry, clean underwear, loose-fitting clothing whenever you can. If you go swimming, be sure to change out of your bathing suit bottoms as soon as you can. Prolonged exposure to wet or damp clothes to your genital area gives bacteria a place to grow. This also applies after exercise, be sure to change from sweaty clothes and tight fit clothing like spandex shorts or yoga leggings.
    • After using the bathroom, practice wiping from front to back, this will ensure that any bacteria from urination or from a bowel movement will not spread to the vagina or urethra.
  • Empty Your Bladder After Intercourse
    By going to the bathroom and urinating after sex, bacteria will be flushed out. Also drink a full glass of water to help keep flushing out bacteria.
  • Birth Control Method
    Condoms that are not lubricated or treated with spermicide can contribute to bacterial growth. This is also true if you use a diaphragm.
  • Supplements
    Here are a few supplements that have been studied:
    • D-Mannose: This is a type of sugar that is found in cranberries and has been shown to be effective in treating UTIs and preventing recurrence (Click here for Trusted Source)
    • Bearberry leaf: Also known as uva-ursi. One study showed that a combination of bearberry leaf, dandelion root and dandelion leaf decreased UTI recurrence (Click here for Trusted Source)
    • Cranberry extract: Like cranberry juice, cranberry extract works by preventing bacteria from adhering to the urinary tract.
    • Garlic extract: Garlic has been shown to have antimicrobial properties and may be able to block the growth of bacteria to prevent UTIs (Click here for Trusted Source)

Natural Treatments for UTIs

  • Drinking Plenty of Water
    Again, drinking water is key. Studies have shown time and again that your hydration status is directly linked to UTIs and the frequency of occurrence. This is due to the profound effect it has on flushing out bacteria when you go to the bathroom. In addition to drinking water, make sure you limit sugary drinks, alcohol and drinks with caffeine. All three of these ingredients can cause an irritated bladder.
  • Get Plenty of Vitamin C
    • Vitamin C boosts immune function and strengthens the fight against UTI’s. Vitamin C may also decrease the risk of developing a UTI due to its acidic properties that it produces in your urine, killing off bacteria. Get vitamin C from citrus fruits and vegetables, or simply by taking a supplement each day. Research shows that women who take 100mg of Vitamin C everyday cut their risk of developing a UTI by half.
    • Red peppers, oranges, grapefruit and kiwifruit all contain the full recommended amount of vitamin C in just one serving.
  • Probiotics
    • Probiotics are beneficial microorganisms that are consumed through food or supplements. They can promote a healthy balance of bacteria in your gut.
    • Probiotics could help prevent UTIs when used alone or in combination with antibiotics. Probiotics have been linked to everything from improved digestive gut health to enhanced immune support. Probiotics can also be taken as a preventative measure as studies have shown that certain strains of probiotics may reduce the risk of developing UTIs. Probiotics can be found naturally in fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kefir, greek yogurt kimchi, and kombucha. They can also come in supplement form. If you choose to supplement your probiotics, it is vital you purchase very high quality strains of probiotics, preferable ones that need to be refrigerated as they are living microorganisms. Double check the strains and make sure you choose probiotics that contain the specific strain of Lactobacillus, same thing when you buy yogurt. This strain of probiotics has specifically been studied and has shown to reduce risk and prevent UTIs in women. Probiotics also play an important part of keeping your gut healthy if you are prescribed antibiotics for a UTI. Antibiotics kill both bad and good bacteria causing an imbalance. Probiotics can help replenish the good bacteria in your gut while under antibiotic treatment.
  • Use Heat
    If you are experiencing pain in the pelvic area, applying heat, such as a hot water bottle wrapped in a towel or a heating pad to your stomach and pelvic region will help with any discomfort.
  • Apple Cider Vinegar
    Mixing just a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar to 16oz of water can be helpful in preventing the bacteria from multiplying and spreading. This is because there are acidic components and enzymes that apple cider vinegar contains that help reduce and eliminate bacteria growth.

*If symptoms continue to persist after using these home remedies, please make an appointment to see a physician as soon as possible. Your doctor may prescribe antibiotics as a form of treatment. If you are prescribed antibiotics it is highly advised that you take the full course of prescribed medication to prevent reinfection.