Urinary tract infections affect millions of people a year, and the pain associated with them can be debilitating.
Though they’re traditionally treated with antibiotics, there are also many home remedies available that help treat UTI’s and prevent them from reoccurring.
What Is a Urinary Tract Infection?
A urinary tract infection (UTI) is an infection that affects any part of the urinary tract, including the kidneys, ureters, bladder or urethra.
What Causes a Urinary Tract Infection?
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:
- Urine with a strong odor
- A feeling of incomplete bladder emptying
- Pelvic pain
- A burning sensation when peeing
- Frequent urination
- Cloudy or dark urine
UTIs can affect anyone, though are far more prevalent in women as the shorter urethra makes it much easier for bacteria to enter and reach the bladder.
It is estimated that nearly half of all women will experience a UTI at some point in their lives. While antibiotics are the most common treatment for UTIs, there are also several natural ways to protect against infections and reduce the risk of recurrence.
Here are the top 5 home remedies to help fight UTI.
- Drink Plenty of Fluids
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.
- Increase Vitamin C Intake
Vitamin C is thought to work by increasing the acidity of the urine, thereby killing off the bacteria that cause infection.
Fruits and vegetables are especially high in vitamin C and are a good way to increase your intake. Red peppers, oranges, grapefruit and kiwifruit all contain the full recommended amount of vitamin C in just one serving.
Summary: Increasing vitamin C intake may decrease the risk of UTIs by making the urine more acidic, thus killing off infection-causing bacteria.
- Drink Unsweetened Cranberry Juice
Drinking unsweetened cranberry juice is one of the most well-known natural remedies for urinary tract infections.
Cranberries work by preventing bacteria from adhering to the urinary tract, thus preventing infection.
Summary: Some studies show that unsweetened cranberry juice could help reduce the risk of urinary tract infections by preventing bacteria from adhering to the urinary tract.
- Take a Probiotic
Probiotics are beneficial microorganisms 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.
Summary: Probiotics could help prevent UTIs when used alone or in combination with antibiotics.
- Practice These Healthy Habits
Preventing urinary tract infections starts with practicing a few good bathroom and hygiene habits.
- Do not hold urine for too long. This can lead to a buildup of bacteria, resulting in infection.
- Peeing after sexual intercourse can also reduce the risk of UTIs by preventing the spread of bacteria.
- Those who are prone to UTIs should avoid using spermicide, since it has been linked to an increase in UTIs.
- 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.
Summary: Urinating frequently and after sexual intercourse can reduce the risk of UTI. Spermicide use and wiping from back to front may increase the risk of UTI.
Urinary tract infections are a common problem and can be frustrating to deal with.
However, practicing healthy habits such as staying hydrated and supplementing your diet with UTI-fighting ingredients lower your risk of being affected.
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