UTI or Urinary Tract Infection is an infection in your urinary tract, affecting the ureters, bladder, or urethra. The urinary tract is present to make and store urine, one of the waste products of the human body. In our bodies, the kidneys produce urine. It then moves downwards to the ureters and the bladder. The bladder stores the urine till it gets emptied by means of urination.
The most commonly known cause of UTI is the bacteria from your bowel. And according to medical reports, two bacterial strains – Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus saprophyticus – cause nearly 80 percent of infections. However, fungi and viruses can also lead to UTI.
Common symptoms of UTI –
- Burning sensation while urinating
- Urge for frequent urination
- Feeling of incomplete bladder emptying
- Dark urine
- Urine with strong odour
- Pelvic pain
Even though UTI is known to be gender agnostic, women are more prone to catch this type of infection. The reason being, the urethra, or the tube carrying urine from the bladder, is shorter in women than in men. As a result of this, it becomes easier for the bacteria to enter the bladder. Urologist Doctor in Delhi believes almost half of all women will experience UTI at some point in their lives.
Generally antibiotics are prescribed by doctors while treating UTIs and at times the medication is done in low doses for long-term to prevent recurrence. That said, a host of natural ways are there to protect against infections and reduce the risk of recurrence.
Here are some suggested home remedies for urinary tract health:
1. Plenty of fluids
Hydration is an extremely important factor in urinary tract infection as regular urination cleanses bacteria from the urinary tract and prevents infection. Studies have found that low urine output has increased risk of developing UTI. It has also been found that low fluid intake and irregular urination lead to recurrent UTIs while the opposite is also true.
So stay hydrated to meet your fluid needs. You can do this best by drinking water all through the day and also every time you’re thirsty. Liquids aplenty will diminish your risk of UTIs by making you urinate more, removing bacteria from the urinary tract.
2. Take more Vitamin C
Available reports reveal that increase in vitamin C intake can protect you against urinary tract infections. Most medical practitioners believe that Vitamin C increases the acidity levels of urine, thereby killing off the infection causing bacteria.
Fruits and vegetables have high percentages of Vitamin C. Taking these regularly is a good way to increase your Vitamin C intake. In just one serving of red peppers, oranges, grapefruit and kiwifruit you will be able to intake the full recommended amount of vitamin C.
3. Opt for unsweetened cranberry juice
Unsweetened cranberry juice is a highly effective natural remedy for urinary tract infections. This is because cranberries prevent bacteria from sticking on to the urinary tract, and in turn preventing infection.
Studies have revealed that treatment with cranberry juice capsules which are equivalent to two 8-ounce servings of cranberry juice considerably decreases your risk of UTI.
Although some doctors differ in opinion, cranberry juice could be of help in lessening your risk of UTIs. But do remember that the benefits of this therapy are limited to drinking only unsweetened cranberry juice. Sweetened commercial brands won’t work..
4. Take a Probiotic
Probiotics are beneficial microorganisms promoting healthy balance of bacteria in your gut. You can consume them through food like kefir, kimchi, kombucha and probiotic yogurt or through supplements. Doctors often link probiotics intake to enhanced digestive health and improved immune function. Studies have also revealed that some probiotics can lower your risk of catching UTIs.
Another important fact is that taking antibiotics, the main medication against UTIs, can create imbalances in levels of gut bacteria. Probiotics can address this as they have the power of restoring gut bacteria after antibiotic treatment and also decrease side effects occurring from antibiotic use.
5. Embrace healthy habits
Bathroom and hygiene habits can also play a crucial part in addressing and preventing urinary tract infections. Start with not withholding urine for long as it results in build-up of bacteria, which can cause infection.
Urinating after sexual intercourse can also reduce the risk of UTIs as it prevents the spread of bacteria. Also, if you are prone to UTIs you should avoid using spermicide, which can increase UTIs.
Last but not the least, every time after using the toilet, you must always ensure that you wipe front to back. This is because wiping back to front can bring bacteria frm your anal area to your urinary area, and in turn can increase risk of UTIs.
6. Take natural or organic supplements
Many natural and organic supplements are effective in decreasing the risk of UTIs. The most well known of them are –
D-Mannose: It is a type of sugar present in cranberries and is a highly effective in treating and preventing UTIs. Fruits and vegetables containing D-mannose are cranberries (and cranberry juice), apples, oranges, peaches, broccoli and green beans. D-mannose is also present in nutritional supplements, available as capsules or powders. Some contain D-mannose by itself, while others include additional ingredients, like Cranberry, Dandelion extract, hibiscus, rose hips or Probiotics. D-mannose is effective in treating and preventing UTIs as it is blocks the bacteria from growing in the urinary tract.
Bearberry leaf: Or uva-ursi as it is commonly called is also extremely beneficial. A combination of bearberry leaf, dandelion root and dandelion leaf can decrease UTI recurrence to a great extent.
Cranberry extract: Similar to cranberry juice, cranberry extract also has a highly effective impact in preventing bacteria from holding on to the urinary tract.
Garlic extract: Known to have antimicrobial properties, garlic extracts can block bacteria growth and prevent UTIs.
All over the world, urinary tract infections are a common affliction and are known to be very exasperating to deal with. However, if you are careful to keep yourself hydrated, adopt above mentioned healthy habits and add UTI-fighting ingredients to your diet – you can easily reduce your risk of catching UTIs.
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