What Is a Urinary Tract Infection?
A urinary tract infection (UTI) is a bacterial infection that affects any part of the urinary tract. Although urine contains a variety of fluids, salts, and waste products, it usually does not have bacteria in it. When bacteria get into the bladder or kidney and multiply in the urine, they cause a UTI.
Although they cause discomfort, urinary tract infections can usually be quickly and easily treated when the patient sees a doctor promptly.
Further investigation may include ultrasound scans of the kidneys and bladder or intravenous urography (X-rays of the urological system following intravenous injection of iodinated contrast material). If there is no response to treatments, interstitial cystitis may be a possibility.
During cystitis, uropathogenic Escherichia coli (UPEC) subvert innate defenses by invading superficial umbrella cells and rapidly increasing in numbers to form intracellular bacterial communities (IBCs).
Causes of UTIs
UTIs are most common in sexually active women and increase in people living with diabetes and people with sickle-cell disease or anatomical malformations of the urinary tract.
Allergies can be a hidden factor in urinary tract infections. For example, allergies to foods can irritate the bladder wall and increase susceptibility to urinary tract infections. Keep track of your diet and have allergy testing done to help eliminate foods that may be a problem.
Urinary tract infections after sexual intercourse can be also be due to an allergy to latex condoms, spermicides, or oral contraceptives. In this case review alternative methods of birth control with your doctor.
Elderly individuals, both men and women, are more likely to harbor bacteria in their genitourinary system at any time. These bacteria may be associated with symptoms and thus require treatment with an antibiotic. The presence of bacteria in the urinary tract of older adults, without symptoms or associated consequences, is also a well recognized phenomenon which may not require antibiotics.
This is usually referred to as asymptomatic bacteriuria. The overuse of antibiotics in the context of bacteriuria among the elderly is a concerning and controversial issue.
Women are more prone to UTIs than males because in females, the urethra is much shorter and closer to the anus than in males and they lack the bacteriostatic properties of prostatic secretions.
Among the elderly, UTI frequency is in roughly equal proportions in women and men. A common cause of UTI is an increase in sexual activity, such as vigorous sexual intercourse with a new partner. This is called “honeymoon cystitis”.
UTI Symptoms and Signs
- Frequent urination
- Pain or burning during urination
- Pain in the lower back or abdomen
- Pain above the pubic bone
- Dark, foul-smelling urine
- Blood in the urine
- A feeling of shakiness and fatigue
- Mild fever
Prevention, Treatment for UTIs
- Cleaning the opening of the urethra after intercourse has been shown to be of some benefit; however, whether this is done with an antiseptic or a placebo ointment (an ointment containing no active ingredient) does not appear to matter.
- Always urinate immediately after sexual intercourse.
- Wash before and after sexual intercourse
- Change tampons and sanitary towels frequently during menstruation
- Cranberry juice can decrease the incidence of UTI. A specific type of tannin found only in cranberries and blueberries prevents the adherence of certain pathogens (eg. E. coli) to the epithelium of the urinary bladder. Cranberries (juice and capsules) can prevent recurrent infections in women.
- Avoid using products that may cause irritation of the vaginal area – for e.g. talc, bubble bath, or scented sprays
- Avoid wearing nylon underwear or wet swimsuits for long periods
- While on medication, it is important to avoid caffeine, spicy foods, and sugar
- For post-menopausal women, a randomized controlled trial has shown that intravaginal application of topical estrogen cream can prevent recurrent cystitis. Try applying 0.5 mg of estriol vaginal cream nightly for two weeks followed by twice-weekly applications for eight months.
- Acupuncture has been shown to be effective in preventing new infections in recurrent cases. One study showed that urinary tract infection occurrence was reduced by 50% for 6 months. Acupuncture appears to reduce the total amount of residual urine in the bladder. For sexually active women, urinating within 15 minutes of sexual intercourse to allow the flow of urine to expel the bacteria before specialized extensions anchor the bacteria to the walls of the urethra.
- Having adequate fluid intake, especially water.
- Do not resist the urge to urinate.
- Bathing in warm water without soap, bath foams.
- Practicing good hygiene, including wiping from the front to the back to avoid contamination of the urinary tract by fecal pathogens.
- Avoid sugars and sugary foods. Use stevia or agave syrup as a sugar substitute. Sugars and alcohol can feed the bacteria causing the infection, and worsen pain and other symptoms.
- Taking vitamin C with the last meal of the day can shorten the time duration of the infection. Vitamin C at night raises the acidity of the urine, which retards the growth of bacteria in the urinary tract.
- The essential oil desk reference suggests that Tea tree, Juniper and Oregano are the first recommended essential oils for a urinary tract infection. Other single oils recommended include Mountain Savory, Thyme, Cistus, Rosemary and Clove. Some blends that are recommended include Di-Gize, EndoFlex, R.C., Melrose, Purification, Inspiration and Thieves. The instructions in the essential oil desk reference suggest that you apply an essential oil 1-2 times per day over the bladder followed by a warm compress to help “push” the oils into your system.
- Two remedies from Native Remedies have proven very effective for myself and my daughters. UTI-Clear and UT Tonic. Both are 100% natural and guaranteed (for a year!). UTI-Clear is an herbal formula (and the one we use most often) and we’ve had really great results with it. UT Tonic is homeopathic and has also worked well. We typically use UTI-Clear along with ImmunityPlus when one of us gets a UTI. I highly recommend these products, they rock!
If there is pain in the back (suggesting kidney infection) or if pain persists, if there is fever, or if blood is present in the urine, doctor care is recommended.
Natural Remedies for UTIs
Natural remedies and holistic therapy can be very effective and have been used for centuries to alleviate pain and discomfort as well as address the underlying symptoms. Natural remedies for urinary tract infections are safe and cause no side effects. They also support one’s physical, mental, and emotional health, rather than simply treating UTI symptoms.
Using herbal and homeopathic remedies for urinary tract infections is also less likely to contribute to recurring infections, and can therefore provide a safe and longer-lasting solution to this common yet distressing medical condition.
Commonly recommended herbs include Agothosma betulina (Buchu), Arctostaphylos uva-ursi , Melissa officinalis (Lemon balm), Avena sativa , Hypericum perforatum (St. John’s Wort), Vaccinium myrtillus (Billberry) and Echinacea angustifolia, while specific homeopathic and natural remedies for urinary tract infections may be used depending on the UTI symptoms and physical composition of the individual.
Herbs for UTI
UTI-Clear is a safe, proven, clinically developed herbal formula that clears and prevents bladder infections, cystitis, and UTI (urinary tract infections). This effective herbal remedy can be a better solution than antibiotics which, over time, become less effective as you develop a tolerance for them.
Being natural, with no artificial preservatives, UTI-Clear is safe for adults and children, is non-addictive and has NO SIDE EFFECTS. It has become the formula of choice by thousands of satisfied customers around the world for treating and preventing cystitis, bladder and urinary tract infections.
UTI-Clear was formulated by the Native Remedies team of experts in natural medicine and is pharmaceutically manufactured to the highest standards.
Stay Informed!Fill out the form below to sign up to our free natural health and healing newsletter and e-zine and stay up to date on our latest articles and informed about holistic healing therapies and effective home remedies for common ailments.
As a thank you for joining our newsletter, we'll also send you The Healing Art of Reflexology mini-course - at absolutely no cost!