Prevent Urinary Tract Infections Naturally
For many women, urinary tract infections (UTIs) cause missed work, strained sexual relationships and significant pain. Frequent UTIs can destroy more than physical health. Women with frequent UTIs can develop co-morbid diagnoses of anxiety and depression.
UTIs occur in both men and women, but the shorter length of a woman’s urethra makes it considerably easier for bacteria to travel to the bladder. Since untreated bladder infections can lead to kidney infection, women do well to visit their doctors to rule this out, especially if they’re experiencing lower back pain. Once they are sure the true cause of the agony is an infection, not any other underlying condition, many women find it possible to treat mild urinary tract infections safely and naturally in the comfort of their homes. Here’s how.
1. Drink Up
The easiest way to ward off UTIs is keeping hydrated. Keep that reusable water bottle handy at all times. The old folk wisdom is true: Those waiting until they feel thirsty to drink are already dehydrated.
Even though the thought of waking up minus a cup of joe or winding down at night without a glass of Merlot might sound depressing, taking a temporary break from both substances can help soothe the inflammation of the urinary tract.
While drinking both substances does increase urine output, many of the bacteria and particulates remain, causing the opposite effect.
2. Cranberry Extract
Many women reach for the cranberry juice when things down below begin burning a bit. And while they have the right idea, most commercial juices contain amounts too little to prove productive. At present, scientists remain split as to the efficacy of cranberries in fighting infection.
Cranberries contain substances known as proanthocyanidins, which prevent bacteria from sticking to the walls of the urinary tract. Using a pure cranberry extract may reduce symptoms quickly. However, the effects do not stay in the body for long. Therefore, women prone to repeated infections benefit from daily supplementation of the extract.
3. Don’t Try to Hold It
Highway rest stops aren’t the most pleasant places, but failing to stop at one when nature calls can bring on UTIs. That happens due to bacteria in the urine remaining and getting cozy in your urethra and bladder.
Whenever possible, use the restroom when the urge to go first arises. And yes, this rule applies to those in professions where they rarely find time to even breathe. Remember, caring for others becomes much harder to do while ill.
4. Pee After Intercourse
George Michael once sang, “Sex is natural, sex is good,” and he could have followed those lyrics with, “Not everybody pees after, but everybody should!” Even when a couple remains monogamous, thrusting during intercourse can push bacteria into the urethra.
Using the restroom after flushes out these germs — and as a win-win, doing so provides a chance to check the mirror and erase those raccoon eyes from smeared mascara and eyeliner.
5. Try OTC Tests
Because UTIs mimic the symptoms of many other diseases such as endometriosis, interstitial cystitis, and even cancer, women benefit by testing to make sure infection is the actual cause of their discomfort. At-home test kits exist for those who suffer frequent infections, although no home test can provide the benefit gained from a comprehensive professional exam. Due to lingering professional bias, 82 percent of all women suffer delays in getting treated. Most doctors automatically assume specific symptoms mean a UTI — home test results can help corroborate a woman’s account if she does suffer from another condition.
6. Wipe Correctly
While most women learn as children to wipe front to back, not vice versa, a surprising number still unwittingly cause infection through their toilet habits. E. coli, the bacteria responsible for most UTIs, flourish in the colon, and when a woman wipes from the back to the front, she exposes her urethra to these bacteria.
Pat dry after using the loo or gently wipe from the front to the back. Or, go for a more global approach to the goal. Many nations use bidets to gently wash after going to the bathroom, and some American companies have picked up on the trend with devices to transform the “throne” room.
Relieving UTI Pain
Those who get frequent UTIs suffer physically and also mentally from the various health problems associated with them. While women with severe UTIs may need a trip to the ER to obtain antibiotics, many others with milder cases can relieve their suffering through more natural means. And practicing better hygiene habits helps keep future UTIs from recurring.