A urinary tract infection, or bladder infection, is never fun. The odds are, if you’re female, you’re probably familiar with those awful symptoms, as it’s been estimated that about half of all females will have at least one UTI in their lifetime, and about one-quarter of women will have recurrent infections – two or more UTIs in six months.
Symptoms of a UTI include a burning sensation and the feeling that you always have to go. You might notice cloudy urine as well as pain or pressure in the pelvis area, lower abdomen or back, and even a low-grade fever.
While your body does its best to fight off infection on its own, living a healthy lifestyle that includes a nutritious diet and regular exercise helps to boost the immune system so it can do an even better job. As preventing a UTI is far better than having to fight one off once it’s started, there are a number of additional steps you can take to decrease your chances of developing one.
Drink lots of fluids. Drinking plenty of fluids helps to flush out infection-causing bacteria. This serves to dilute the urine and forces you to urinate more frequently, eradicating bacteria from the urinary tract before an infection begins.
As soon as you feel the urge to urinate, heed the call of nature, or else you’ll risk bacteria growth. In addition to drinking at least eight glasses of water each day, cut back on caffeine and alcohol, as these substances are known to irritate the bladder.
Incorporate healthy sexual intercourse habits. Sex can irritate the urethra and is thought to be one of the reasons women who are sexually active are also more prone to UTIs. Urinate as soon as possible after intercourse to help flush out any bacteria that may have been introduced to the body.
Certain types of contraceptives can also increase the risk of a UTI, such as a diaphragm, which compresses the urethra and makes it more difficult to empty the bladder, meaning more bacteria can develop. The use of spermicides can also trigger the growth of bacteria by disturbing the natural balance of the vagina.
Avoid potentially irritating products. Bubble bath, bath oils and any perfumed products used on or near genitals, including douches, powders and deodorant sprays, can raise your risk of developing a UTI. Some healthcare experts also recommend switching from tampons to sanitary pads, as tampons can allow more bacteria to enter the body, irritating the urethra.
If you develop a urinary tract infection, your doctor can prescribe antibiotics, but it’s always best to resolve the problem naturally at the first sign of symptoms. The overuse of antibiotics is dangerous to both human health and the environment, in addition to coming with a number of unwanted side effects.
If natural remedies don’t take care of the infection, be sure to call your healthcare provider to prevent it from becoming worse or even causing serious kidney problems.
In the meantime, these home remedies may often do the trick:
Drink as much water as you can. Drinking plenty of fluids helps to flush out bacteria, putting you on the road to recovery. Herbal teas are also helpful, but avoid caffeinated beverages, including green or black tea, which can irritate the bladder.
Although research has not proven its effectiveness, many people have found that drinking cranberry juice can help. Just be sure to drink the unsweetened form, and preferably organic. It’s also important to urinate frequently and empty the bladder every time you go.
Fight the bad bacteria with good bacteria. Fermented food contains good bacteria known as probiotics that can help battle bad bacteria. Eating organic plain yogurt with live cultures, drinking probiotic beverages or taking high-quality probiotic supplements can help eradicate the infection.
Avoid irritants. Avoid eating or drinking anything that is known to irritate the bladder, which makes it more difficult for the body to heal, including caffeine, alcohol, spicy foods, nicotine, carbonated drinks or artificial sweeteners. Focus on eating as many health foods as you can, including those that contain healthy fats like coconut oil, fresh organic fruits and vegetables.
-The Alternative Daily