Posted on Jan 17, 2020, 4 p.m.
Urinary tract infections are unpleasant and they can be painful, as a rule, the chances of developing a UTI are higher among the female population with the US Department of Health and Human Services estimating that up to 60% of all women will experience a UTI at some point in their lives.
Most of Western medicine addresses urinary tract infections with antibiotics, but these can have toxic side effects along with contributing to the emerging public health crisis of antibiotic resistance. Traditional medicine prefers to focus on more natural and non-toxic approaches to both prevention and treatment.
Urinary tract infections are typically caused by pathogenic bacteria; S. saprophyticus and E. coli account for close to 80% of all cases. The infections fall into two categories, either being upper or lower. Lower infections may clear up on their own, but they can sometimes lead to more serious upper urinary tract infections if left untreated which can involve the kidneys and ureters, and can in turn lead to life threatening sepsis.
Symptoms of a lower UTI can include but are not limited to burning pain when urinating, frequent urination, urine that is cloudy, dark, reddish or odorous, and pelvic pain as well as fever may be present. Symptoms of an upper UTI include vomiting, fever, and pain in the flanks. These symptoms call for immediate medical professional diagnosis, treatment, and advise.
Consumption of cranberry juice has been linked to fewer urinary tract infections, and to combat infection by multiple mechanisms. They are rich in anthocyanins that have potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties to fight disease; studies suggest the quinic acid content increases levels of hippuric acid which is an antibacterial agent in urine. Cranberry juice helps to prevent adhesion of bacteria to mucous membranes to promote them to be flushed out of the system while preventing large communities of bacteria from accumulating as well as prevent the growth of treatment resistant biofilms.
Vitamin C is a water-soluble essential vitamin that is key to a healthy immune system which fights disease with its amazing antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that are particularly important when it comes to avoiding UTIs by acidifying urine to convert bacterial nitrites into bacteria killing nitric oxide.
When it comes to urinary tract health probiotics that promote the survival and function of beneficial bacteria can be beneficial, studies show that they combat UTIs in three different ways: they prevent bacteria from adhering to the uterine walls, while producing natural antibacterial chemical, and compete with pathogenic bacteria for resources; those containing bacteria from the Lactobacillus family have been shown in clinical studies to help prevent UTIs.
The flowers and leaves of the colorful hibiscus plant contain powerful antibacterial, antioxidant, and antifungal compounds which can help to discourage urinary tract infections, and they have a diuretic effect which will help to flush out bacteria while cleansing the urinary system. These fragrant bloom’s potent power comes from the strong natural antibacterial gossypetin agent which has been shown to be effective against common bacteria that cause UTIs. Additionally taking a hibiscus extract was shown to have a 77% reduction in UTI occurrence in women.
Pumpkin seeds may offer some protection against urinary tract infections, the fatty acids they contain have disease fighting antioxidant and antii-inflammatory effects that have been shown to help improve bladder tone and support healthy bladder function as well as urination; natural healers will often recommend 500mg a day of pumpkin seed oil to help fight a UTI.
When it comes to bladder health “holding it in” is not good, when you feel the need to urinate you should go as soon as you can. Some suggest that it is ideal to be urinating at least once every 2-3 hours a day to ensure proper removal of unwanted waste products; of course this amount will differ from person to person and may fluctuate depending on how much a person has ate/drank. Studies have shown that women who delay urination for more than one hour past the urge to go have an increased risk of urinary tract infection.
The best way to defeat a UTI is by drinking plenty of clean water throughout the day which will help to flush bacteria from the urinary tract. Low fluid intake will result in infrequent urination which is directly linked to an increased risk of urinary tract infection.
When it comes to urinary tract health one would do well to avoid tight fitting restrictive undergarments and opt for comfortable more breathable cotton options. Commercial bubble baths can also have uncomfortable consequences as the chemicals can trigger allergic reactions causing irritation that can set the stage for entry of bacteria.
One final tip, after going to the bathroom, make sure that you wipe from front to back, this is the gold standard for practical advice on avoidance of pesky infections. Urinary tract infections are very uncomfortable and they can pose serious health hazards. Taking easy steps can help to dramatically decrease the risk of having to experience having a UTI.
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This article is not intended to provide medical diagnosis, advice, treatment, or endorsement.