If you’ve ever had a urinary tract infection (UTI), that feeling is unmistakable and incredibly uncomfortable. UTIs can be a bit embarrassing to deal with too, but they are very treatable and can often be remedied through natural means.
Let’s learn a bit more about urinary tract infections and how to cure them so that you’re prepared the next time you experience one.
Causes of UTI
An infection in your urinary tract is caused by tiny microbes, such as bacteria, viruses, and fungi. However, the most common cause of a UTI is bacteria. Bacteria frequently enters the urinary tract, but it’s typically removed from the body naturally before it causes symptoms. The bacteria that causes UTI usually lives in the bowel. But when your body isn’t able to fight off that bacteria naturally, you develop a UTI. This is a different condition than urethritis (infection of the urethra), kidney infections, and bladder infections.
Symptoms of UTI
If you’ve had a UTI in the past, chances are you remember what it feels like and can recognize the symptoms right away. These are the most common symptoms of urinary tract infections.
- Frequent urge to urinate
- Inability to urinate when bladder feels full
- Burning sensation while urinating
- Cloudy appearance of urine
- Blood in urine
- Abdominal pain
- Muscle aches
If you begin to develop a fever, that could indicate that your urinary tract infection has spread to your kidneys or prostate. Serious causes can also include back pain, nausea, and vomiting. See a doctor immediately if your symptoms persist or worsen.
Who Gets UTIs
UTIs are very common, so you’re definitely not alone in your struggle to overcome one. Statistics show that they are the second most common type of infection among adults and result in at least 8.1 million doctor visits each year.
Women are most prone to UTIs because women’s urethras are shorter and the urethral opening is close to the anus and vagina. Overall, women have a 50 percent chance of developing a UTI at least once their lifetimes. UTIs are less common in men, but do happen and can be very serious.
Some people are at a higher risk of developing UTIs, including those with nerve damage around the bladder, people with diabetes, men with enlarged prostates, and anyone with kidney problems. Sexual activity can put you at a higher risk of developing a UTI, and some spermicides, condoms, and birth controls can increase this risk even more. Hospital patients who have catheters placed can be more susceptible to UTI as well.
Common Treatment for UTI
It’s pretty easy for medical professionals to diagnose UTIs with a simple urine test. UTI-positive results will show the presence of bacteria and a high count of white blood cells that are trying to fight the infection. Since UTIs are almost always caused by bacteria, doctors regularly prescribe antibiotics to cure them. Different types of antibiotics are chosen based on the type of bacteria causing the infection and the patient’s medical history.
Natural Solutions for UTI
To avoid antibiotic resistance in your body and unwanted side effects, it’s a wise idea to only take antibiotics if your body truly needs them. Taking prescription antibiotics is not the only way that your body can get over a UTI. When you first begin to feel what you believe to be symptoms of a UTI, you can try natural remedies to see if they provide relief.
These are some of the best natural remedies for UTI.
- Cranberry juice and cranberry pills
- Drink extra water
- Take extra vitamin C
- Soothe pain with a heating pad
- Empty your bladder every time you feel like you need to go
- Try herbal remedies, like bearberry leaf and goldenseal
- Avoid soda, alcohol, caffeine, and chocolate
- Apple cider vinegar mixed with water, lemon, and honey
UTI Preventative Tips
Of course, preventing a UTI from forming in the first place is the optimal choice, and there are many things you can to do prevent infections in your urinary tract. Here are some preventative tips to incorporate into your regular routine.
- Drink lots of water every day
- Don’t hold in your urine when you need to go
- Urinate after having sexual intercourse
- Try using a different birth control method if you have recurrent UTIs
- Wear loose-fitting clothing and breathable underwear
- Wipe from front to back after using the toilet