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How to treat a Urinary Tract Infection

by Tina Sendin December 09, 2019

How to treat a Urinary Tract Infection

TL;DR Urinary Tract Infection is common among women throughout the world. It's caused by many factors, including hygiene, contraceptives, and certain health conditions. Luckily, there are various ways to treat and prevent UTI.

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It's one of the painful things most women go through in their lifetime. In fact, the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases reports that 40-60% of women will suffer from it at least once in their lifetime. [1]

Urinary Tract Infection, commonly known as UTI, is “an infection that affects any part of the urinary tract, including the kidneys, ureters, bladder or urethra.” [2, 3]

While the infection can be brought about by fungi and viruses, most of the time UTI is caused by bacteria from the bowel. These are known as the Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus saprophyticus, which are present in 80% of cases. [4]

 

UTI is such a common occurrence that it’s the second most prevalent infection affecting around 8 million people every year. [5]

While it can practically happen to anyone, women are usually affected by it.

Why are women more prone to it, you ask?

Simple - women have a shorter urethra. Because of this, bacteria from the intimate area can easily enter the bladder and urinary tract.

On the other hand, cases among men are due to an enlarged prostate that holds up urine flow. This is another cause for bacteria accumulating in the urinary tract.

 

What causes UTI?

There are various reasons why a person can contract UTI. The following are common causes and risk factors for getting it: [6]

  • Sex, because the act may move around the bacteria from the bum area to the urinary tract. 
  • Protection such as spermicides, diaphragms, and condoms
  • Genetics and natural structure of the urinary tract, i.e. some have shorter urinary tracts than others 
  • Diabetes, due to a weak immune system and lower capability to get rid of infections [7]
  • Pregnancy
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Kidney stones
  • Stroke

 

What are the signs and symptoms of UTI?

If you experience any of the following, odds are you may be suffering from UTI [8,9]:

  • Painful urination, usually described as a burning sensation
  • Frequent urination, or urge to urinate even right after the trip to the toilet
  • Cloudy, bloody, dark and/or strong-smelling urine
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • A feeling of incomplete bladder emptying
  • Pelvic, abdominal and other muscle aches and pains

How can you treat UTI?

Antibiotics

According to Mayo Clinic, antibiotics are the first line of treatment for UTI. [10] How long the treatment and the specific drugs to take all depend on the severity of the infection.

 

Plenty of water

One way of getting rid of bacteria, viruses or fungi in the urinary tract? Keep peeing. It’s a surefire way of flushing them all out.

And drinking plenty of water helps you pee more.

Don’t hold your pee. It may be painful, but it has to be done. Keeping it in will only multiply the bacteria in the urinary tract.

 

Go for cranberries

This fruit is your best bet when it comes to treating UTI. Cranberries contain ingredients that get rid of bacteria and take them off the urinary walls. Head over to the grocery store and get some cranberry juice, supplements or dried cranberry snacks.

 

Try probiotics

Complement your cranberry intake with probiotics, which are known to help with digestion as well as UTI treatment and prevention. Probiotics also have good bacteria called Lactobacillus, which can replace the bad ones.

 

 

How can you prevent UTI?

Steer clear of this pesky infection by remembering the 3H's: [6]

HYGIENE

  • Before sex, make sure your genital area is clean. After sex, don’t forget to pee. It flushes out the bacteria that may have entered the urinary tract.
  • When wiping, remember this direction, and NEVER the other way around: front to back.
  • Keep your intimate area dry by wiping after peeing and wearing cotton underwear that is not too tight. Wearing tight-fitting jeans may hold the moisture in and encourage the accumulation of bacteria in the area.

 

HABIT

  • Drink plenty of water and pee regularly - don’t hold it in!
  • Go for showers over baths.
  • Avoid douching and using hygiene sprays as they alter the pH level in your vaginal area and increase bacteria.

 

HEALTH

  • If you notice that you get UTI after using unlubricated condoms, spermicides, diaphragms and other protection, consider alternatives. These products tend to increase the likelihood of infection.
  • Take supplements that help prevent UTI. Supplements containing D-Mannose, a type of sugar found in cranberries, can help you prevent UTI in the first place, and can help you get rid of a painful UTI without taking antibiotics. 

Sources

[1] https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/urologic-diseases/bladder-infection-uti-in-adults/definition-facts

[2https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMHT0024568/

[3] https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/uti-home-remedies#section1

[4] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3108201/

[5] https://medlineplus.gov/urinarytractinfections.html

[6] https://www.webmd.com/women/guide/your-guide-urinary-tract-infections#2

[7] https://www.webmd.com/diabetes/features/type-2-diabetes-women

[8] https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/uti-home-remedies#section1

[9] https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/189953.php

[10] https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/urinary-tract-infection/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20353453




Tina Sendin
Tina Sendin

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