About 150 million people are affected by urinary tract infections (UTI) worldwide. UTI is a general term that refers to infections of the lower and upper urinary tract; kidneys, bladder, urethra, and ureters.
UTIs are among the most common infections during a person’s lifetime. Anyone can contract a urinary tract infection, but women are more susceptible to the condition. The reason is that in women, the tube carrying urine from the bladder, the urethra, is shorter. Therefore, bacteria can more easily enter the urethra and reach the bladder leading to a UTI.
Symptoms of UTIs include:
- Mild to moderate pelvic pain
- A sense of urinary frequency or urgency
- A burning sensation while urinating
- Dark or cloudy urine
- Urine with a strong smell
While UTI treatment can be done through medication, there is a growing concern that the overuse of antibiotics leads to antibiotic resistance. Therefore, people are advised to try natural treatments for UTIs before using antibiotics.
You can apply the following remedies at home for UTI treatment
1. Use a Heating Pad
Irritation or inflammation from UTIs causes pain, pressure, and burning around the pelvic area. Applying a heating pad around the pelvic area can help soothe the pain. However, the heat setting should be low and not applied directly to the skin. Limit the use of a heating pad to 15 minutes per session to avoid burns.
2. Increase your Vitamin C Intake
Vitamin C increases urine acidity, thus killing off bacteria causing the infection. Vegetables and fruits have high vitamin C content, and you can take them to increase your intake. One serving of kiwifruit, grapefruit, oranges, and red peppers will provide you with the recommended daily amount of vitamin C.
3. Drink More Water
Increasing your water intake should be the first thing you do when you have a urinary tract infection. Water helps flush away bacteria-causing infection, putting you on the path to recovery. Try and take at least eight glasses of water every day, even when not feeling thirsty. The more water you take, the more you will urinate, eliminating the bacteria in the process.
4. Avoid Sweetened Drinks and Alcohol
Artificial sweeteners, carbonated drinks, caffeine, and alcohol irritate the bladder more when having a UTI. This makes it more difficult for your body to heal. Instead, consume healthy foods such as lentil soup and oatmeal that will help your digestive system.
5. Drink Unsweetened Cranberry Juice
One of the causes of urinary tract infections is bacteria attaching to cell walls in your urinary tract. Cranberry juice’s active ingredients, proanthocyanidins, prevent harmful bacteria from attaching to your urinary tract walls. As a result, regular intake of cranberry juice can reduce the frequency of developing UTIs.
6. Consume Bearberry Leaf
Also known as uva ursi, bearberry lea contains astringent, anti-inflammatory, and urinary antiseptic properties. It has been seen to be effective in UTI treatment and prevention. Bearberry leaf can be purchased from a health food store and should only be taken as directed by a healthcare professional or nutritionist.
7. Urinate Often
When experiencing a urinary tract infection, urinating often will help flush out bacteria from the urethra. Do not resist the urge to urinate as it keeps bacteria in the urine locked in in the bladder, thus worsening the condition. Also, urinate before and after sex to reduce the number of bacteria entering the urethra.
Boost your Immunity
A boost to your immune system is another way of dealing with UTIs. Consuming garlic is an excellent way to do this as it is well known for its antifungal and antibacterial properties. Garlic contains allicin, which has antimicrobial properties known to be effective in killing E. coli.