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Quick Guide To Treating and Preventing Urinary Tract Infections

home remedy how to Aug 06, 2018

Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are a more common complaint among women than men thanks to our anatomy – the entrance to our urethra's are just more exposed. It is estimated that nearly half of all women will experience at least one UTI in their lifetimes. These infections typically happen when bacteria from the vagina or the rectum that have made their way into the urinary tract. More than a simple nuisance, these infections can cause some serious discomfort for women.

Common Symptoms of A UTI

  • burning on urination
  • smelly urine
  • cloudy urine
  • lower abdominal aches/pain
  • lower back aches/pain
  • urinary frequency and urgency
  • nausea, fatigue, dizziness, or headaches often show up as secondary symptoms.

Typically, a UTI is diagnosed at your doctors office clinically (i.e. by your symptoms) and with a simple in-office urine test. Sometimes, if a patient is experiencing recurrent or resistant UTI's we will run a urine culture which takes 3-5 days to get back from the lab to determine what microbe exactly we are dealing with.

UTI's while incredibly uncomfortable, are relatively harmless in and of themselves. It's what they can develop into that is the real risk to your health! It is important to treat them urgently, because if they are left to fester can lead to bladder and kidney infections – both of which are no joke. Kidney infections can be lethal if not addressed in a timely manner!

Conventionally, they are typically treated with a 5-7 day course of antibiotics. Usually amoxicillin, but also cephalexin if you are not a candidate for a pennicillin derivative medication for any reason (allergies, etc). There are others too.

For my an uncomplicated UTI, I often advise trying the natural protocols below at the first sign of symptoms, and if there are no signs of improvement within the first 48 hours, to see your MD for the prescription medications. While natural treatments can and do work well in many cases, the risk of developing a kidney infection is too high to warrant postponing medication any longer than this.

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Natural Steps To Treating an Active UTI:

  1. Book an appointment with your MD for 48 hours out in case you will need it.
  2. Start with drinking 1L per day of pure cranberry juice at the first sign of symptoms. It's important to drink the sour kind, with no sugar added. “Cranberry cocktails” will not work. Cranberry has constituent in (proanthocyanidins) it that interfere with bacteria's ability to adhere to the walls of the urethra, helping to flush the little baddies out.
  3. Continue to drink water! You will want to flush your system with at least 2-3L of water in addition to the cranberry juice.
  4. Try taking a baking soda bath. This will help symptomatically with any pain/burning in the opening of the urethra. It's just soothing.
  5. If you have not seen improvement within 48 hours, see your doctor.

Note: If you're suffering with recurrent UTIs and you've tried cranberry juice/extract and it's not working to resolve your issue, speak with your MD or ND about D-mannose. It works via a different mechanism to clear the infection and may be an option, pending a urine culture test.

Natural Steps To Preventing UTIs:

  1. Always wipe from front to back to avoid moving bacteria toward the urinary tract.
  2. Always pee after sex. This flushes the entrance to the urethra afterward.
  3. Wear natural fiber (i.e. Cotton) underwear and always change them after a work out to keep the area clean and aerated.
  4. If you suffer recurrent UTI's, try a glass of pure cranberry juice once per day. This often helps prevent a mild infection from taking root and becoming full blown. If you prefer to take cranberry extract capsules, this can be effective too. Please consult with your MD or ND on an appropriate brand/product as not all supplements are created equal. You want to make sure you are getting a clinically effective dose.
  5. Consider taking a probiotic at the recommendation of your MD or ND. Balancing out your internal beneficial microbes can be very effective at reducing frequency and severity of recurrent UTIs in my clinical experience. There are targeted products and microbial strains to look for for this purpose, which is why I recommend you consult with your healthcare provider.


As always, I hope this post has helped you improve your health.




Other episodes you might enjoy : 

Feeling The Itch? Vaginal Yeast Infections & What To Do About 'Em

What's The Deal With: PROBIOTICS?

WATER: Are You Getting Enough?



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