Sometimes referred to as bladder infection, urinary tract infections are a condition characterized by the frequent urge to urinate, and a painful, burning sensation during and after urinating.
If bacteria affects either the kidney or the ureters, it is classed as an upper urinary tract infection. If it affects the bladder or the urethra, it is referred to as a lower urinary tract infection.
Women are more susceptible to developing a UTI due to their physiologic or body structure. The location of the woman’s urethra is very near the anus which makes it easier for the bacteria to travel to the urinary tract. Sexual activities can also make them more susceptible. A history of diabetes, pregnancy or insufficient water intake will increase risks of a UTI occurring.
At the onset of symptoms, it’s important to take prompt treatment action to avoid further complications such as a kidney infection. You can take remedial action right away with a few natural remedies listed below.
Cranberries – Cranberries top the list of the most popular remedies for urinary tract infections. The cranberry juice contains a natural antimicrobial property – proanthocyanidins – that fight off invading organisms and keeps the body healthy. It prevents bacteria from reaching the urethra walls. It also has mild antibiotic effects. The antibacterial effects of cranberry juice can be present in the urine for hours after the last intake.
It is recommended to take pure cranberry juice, about half a glass daily. This amount is enough to keep infection at bay. In the absence of pure cranberry juice, cranberry supplements may prove helpful.
Blueberries – Blueberries are another member of the “berry” family that is known to be effective in relieving the symptoms of Urinary Tract Infections. Blueberries contain bacteria inhibiting properties.
Regular consumption of blueberries helps prevent the growth of bacteria, so drink a glass of blueberry juice in the morning and at night for faster relief from UTI symptoms. You may like to add some fresh blueberries to your morning cereal or mix some blueberries in your cranberry juice.
Pineapples – Pineapples are a rich source of bromelain that helps reduce inflammation caused by a urinary tract infection. It also contains vitamin C that boosts your body’s ability to fight off the infection. Regularly eating a cupful of pineapple can help prevent the recurrence of a UTI.
Eat fresh pineapple juice instead of canned products that may contain preservatives, or take bromelain supplements if fresh pineapples are out of season.
Uva Ursi – For thousands of years, Uva ursi has been used by Native Americans and the Chinese in treating Urinary Tract Infections. It is an herb that contains arbutin, a substance that is converted to hydroquinone in the urine that provides an antiseptic effect. Uva Ursi is also a diuretic herb that helps in flushing out the bacteria from the kidneys.
If you are under Uva Ursi treatment, make sure you replace your potassium levels, as you may become deficient as you flush away fluids from your body.
Apple Cider Vinegar – Apple cider vinegar contains potassium and other enzymes that are helpful for treating UTI and preventing the bacteria from multiplying. Apple cider vinegar also contains active compounds that act as antibiotics.
Add two or three teaspoons of apple cider vinegar to a glass of water every day to prevent urinary tract infections and promote good health!
Vitamin C – Vitamin C is an excellent vitamin for boosting the immune system and protecting against many infections. For people who have recurrent urinary tract infections, doctors may recommend taking at least 5,000 mg of vitamin C daily.
Vitamin C can easily be obtained from food sources, such as citrus fruits, papaya, guava, watermelon, kiwi fruit and raspberries, however when large dosages are required supplementation may be necessary. Consuming these types of foods will create an environment that is not conducive for bacteria and pathogens to grow.
Drink Plenty of Water – The importance of adequate hydration, even more than normal, cannot be overstated. Quite often a person with a UTI tries not to drink as it is painful to urinate. Don’t do this!
Water helps flush the bacteria out. Make sure you drink at least 8 glasses of water every day. Apply a hot water compress on your lower abdomen to ease the burning sensation when urinating.
Diuretic Herbs – There are plenty of herbs that can be used as part of your urinary tract infection treatment plan. One example is the horsetail plant which has diuretic properties, which hastens the recovery of a UTI through an increased urine flow. As more urine passes through the bladder, more the bacteria are flushed away.
Other examples of plants that have diuretic properties include hydrangea and dandelion. Parsley is also an herb that can promote urination and at the same time reduce inflammation.
Urinary tract infections can be greatly avoided by eating a healthy diet rich with food sources the bacteria can’t live in, drinking plenty of water, and watching hygiene practices.