Urinary tract infections or UTIs are one of the common types of infections that affect women. Approximately eight million visits to the hospital are caused by UTIs. So, what causes UTI and how can it be treated? Plus, what are the natural remedies for UTI?
What is UTI?
Before that, it is important to learn what UTI is and what causes it. As mentioned, it is one of the common infections to affect women. UTIs are commonly triggered by bacteria known as Escherichia coli. Bacteria that causes this infection affects the ureters, kidneys, bladder, or urethra. However, a UTI is given a different name depending on the location affected.
- Cystitis: infection of the bladder
- Urethritis: infection of the urethra
- Pyelonephritis: infection of the kidneys
Depending on the age and gender of an individual, the symptoms of a UTI vary. It also depends on the part of the urinary tract infected. However, the symptoms commonly associated with UTI include the following.
- Abdominal Pain
- Bloody or Cloudy Urine
- Burning or Painful Sensation When Urinating
- Frequent Urination
- Pungent Urine
- Muscle Pain
- Nausea and Vomiting
Individuals with a catheter may also manifest a fever. As for a specific area of the urinary tract infected, the symptoms vary.
This UTI affects the kidneys. An individual may manifest pain in the side or upper back. It is also accompanied by fatigue, high fever, chills, mental changes, and shaking. Acute pyelonephritis is categorized as a medical emergency. If an individual manifests the symptoms mentioned, then he or she should be brought to the hospital at once.
For infection of the bladder, the symptoms associated include cramps and pressure felt in the lower back and abdomen. It is also accompanied by a low fever.
Bacteria is the common cause of UTIs; thus, antimicrobials or antibiotics are usually prescribed as treatment. Depending on an individual’s medical history and symptoms, the duration and type of medication given varies. When a doctor prescribes antibiotics, the full course of treatment must be followed. This guarantees that the infection is adequately treated and to reduce antibiotic resistance greatly.
For an uncomplicated UTI, it involves an individual with a clear and healthy urinary tract. The infections for this type are treated within two to three days.
A complicated UTI usually occurs in an individual with a weak immune system due to a pre-existing condition such as a heart transplant. This type of infection requires more extended treatment of antibiotics. It usually lasts 7 to 14 days.
UTIs that are left untreated may lead to severe damage to the kidneys. For individuals who manifest symptoms of a UTI, it is highly advised to seek medical attention. Individuals, who are considered high-risk, experiencing UTI should head to the hospital at once. These include the following.
- Adults Over the Age of 60
- People with Diabetes, Cancer, Spinal Cord Injury, or Multiple Sclerosis
- People Recovering from Recent Surgery in the Urinary Tract
- Those with Changes in the Urinary Tract or with Kidney Stones
- Pregnant Women
Infections in the urinary tract may be avoided. Some natural remedies for UTI include the following.
1. Stay Well Hydrated
In a study by the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in 2013, it showed that low fluid intake is linked to UTIs. This is why it is vital to stay well hydrated. Consume at least eight glasses of water in a day. Also, consume one glass of water after every meal to help flush out bacteria which may cause an infection.
2. Practice Proper Hygiene
For women, UTIs are common since the urethra is close to the anus. Thus, it is vital to keep the area clean and dry. Also, it is recommended to wipe the area from front to back. After sexual intercourse, it is also suggested that women urinate and wash the area to flush out bacteria that may lead to infections.
3. Urinate Regularly
When one feels the need to pee, it is important to urinate at once. Holding the urine in the bladder for a long time is linked to bacterial multiplication that may result in an infection.
4. Consume Probiotics
According to the Indian Journal of Urology, bacterial flora prevents microorganism overgrowth that often leads to infections. Regularly consuming probiotics support the balance of the body’s natural bacterial flora. This flora recolonizes the bladder with beneficial bacteria that fight infections. Some of the healthiest probiotics include sauerkraut, kombucha, raw cheese, kimchi, probiotic yogurt, and kefir.
5. Avoid Spermicide Use
In a study by the New England Journal of Medicine done in 1996, it stated that UTI is strongly linked with the use of spermicide. This is because spermicides allow bacterial growth. Opt for other methods of birth control and avoid the use of spermicides.
6. Drink Cranberry Juice
Studies state that consuming cranberry juice decreases the risk of getting UTI within a 12-month period. Further studies suggest that cranberries prove to be a preventive strategy against UTIs. Cranberry works by inhibiting bacterial growth and colonization that leads to infections.
7. Consume Vitamin C
Vitamin C contributes to the acidic quality of urine which, in turn, inhibits the growth of bacteria. According to a study done in 2007, consuming 100 milligrams of vitamin C each day helps treat UTIs in pregnant women.
8. Use Clove Oil
According to Phytotherapy Research, clove oil contains antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and antifungal properties. It may relieve pain as well as promote healing. Clove oil may be consumed for a continuous two weeks but must be done at the supervision of a healthcare professional.
9. Use Oregano Oil
Other than clove oil, another oil that has active antibacterial compounds is oregano oil. According to a study done in 2012, oregano oil inhibited the growth and proliferation of E. coli. Oregano oil is mixed with water and may be consumed for a continuous two weeks. However, like the use of clove oil, consuming oregano oil must be done with the supervision and guidance of a healthcare provider.