AUNT MILLY writes
AUNT Milly shares tips from Dr Rachael Link on dealing with urinary tract infections naturally.
Urinary tract infections affect millions of people every year. Though they’re traditionally treated with antibiotics, there are also many home remedies available that help treat them and prevent them from reoccurring.
A urinary tract infection (UTI) is an infection that affects any part of the urinary tract, including the kidneys, ureters, bladder or urethra.
Bacteria from the bowel are the most common cause of UTIs, but fungi and viruses can also cause infection.
The two strains of bacteria Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus saprophyticus account for about 80% of cases.
Common symptoms of UTI include:
A burning sensation when peeing
Cloudy or dark urine
Urine with a strong odour
A feeling of incomplete bladder emptying
Though UTIs can affect anyone, women are more prone to infection. This is because the urethra, the tube that carries urine out of the bladder, is shorter in women than men. This makes it easier for bacteria to enter and reach the bladder (2).
In fact, nearly half of all women will experience a UTI at some point in their lives.
Antibiotics are used to treat UTIs and are sometimes used in low doses long-term to prevent recurrence.
Preventing urinary tract infections starts with practicing a few good bathroom and hygiene habits.
First, it’s important not to hold urine for too long. This can lead to a build-up of bacteria, resulting in infection.
Peeing after sexual intercourse can also reduce the risk of UTIs by preventing the spread of bacteria.
Additionally, those who are prone to UTIs should avoid using spermicide, since it has been linked to an increase in UTIs.
Finally, when you use the toilet, make sure you wipe front to back. Wiping from back to front can cause bacteria to spread to the urinary tract and is associated with an increased risk of UTIs.
There are also several natural ways to protect against infections and reduce the risk of recurrence.
Without further ado, here are the top 6 home remedies to fight UTI.
Hydration status has been linked to the risk of urinary tract infection.
This is because regular urination can help flush bacteria from the urinary tract to prevent infection.
One study examined participants with long-term urinary catheters and found that low urine output was associated with an increased risk of developing a UTI.
A 2003 study looked at 141 girls and showed that low fluid intake and infrequent urination were both linked to recurrent UTIs.
In another study, 28 women self-monitored their hydration status using a probe to measure their urine concentration. They found that an increase in fluid intake led to a decrease in UTI frequency.
To stay hydrated and meet your fluid needs, it’s best to drink water throughout the day and always when you’re thirsty.
Drinking plenty of liquids can decrease the risk of UTIs by making you pee more, which helps remove bacteria from the urinary tract.
There are no home remedies that can cure a UTI, but there are some things that you can do that can help your medication work better.
These home remedies for UTIs, like drinking more water, may help your body clear the infection faster.
Vitamin C is thought to work by increasing the acidity of the urine, thereby killing off the bacteria that cause infection.
A 2007 study of UTIs in pregnant women looked at the effects of taking 100 mg of vitamin C every day.
The study found that vitamin C had a protective effect, cutting the risk of UTIs by more than half in those taking vitamin C compared to the control group.
Another study looked at behavioral factors that affected the risk of UTIs and found that a high vitamin C intake decreased the risk.
Fruits and vegetables are especially high in vitamin C and are a good way to increase your intake.
TAKE A PROBIOTIC
Probiotics are beneficial micro-organisms that are consumed through food or supplements. They can promote a healthy balance of bacteria in your gut.
Probiotics are available in supplement form or can be found in fermented foods, such as kefir, kimchi, kombucha and probiotic yogurt.
The use of probiotics has been linked to everything from improved digestive health to enhanced immune function.
Some studies also show that certain strains of probiotics may decrease the risk of UTIs.
One study found that Lactobacillus, a common probiotic strain, helped prevent UTIs in adult women.
Another study found that taking both probiotics and antibiotics was more effective at preventing recurrent UTIs than using antibiotics alone (22Trusted Source).
Antibiotics, the main line of defence against UTIs, can cause disturbances in levels of gut bacteria. Probiotics may be beneficial in restoring gut bacteria after antibiotic treatment.
Several natural supplements may decrease the risk of developing a UTI.
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.
Bearberry leaf: Also known as uva-ursi. One study showed that a combination of bearberry leaf, dandelion root and dandelion leaf decreased UTI recurrence.
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.
While cranberries are a popular remedy, the research on their effect on UTIs is mixed. More conclusive studies are needed.
Cranberry juice or cranberries don’t treat a UTI once it’s started.
However, a chemical in cranberries may help prevent certain types of bacteria that can cause a bacterial UTI from attaching to the lining of your bladder. This may be helpful in preventing future UTIs.