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