Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)
The urinary tract system is one of the most important systems in the human body, one that is responsible for eliminating wastes from the body. It is comprised of the two kidneys, a pair of ureters, bladder and urethra. The functioning of this system can however be highly compromised in case of an infection. A urinary tract infection, commonly abbreviated as UTI, is one of the many infections that this system may have to deal with. It is simply a bacterial infection that causes a lot of discomfort and pain especially during urination. Many people suffering this condition do not seek any medical attention, oblivious of the fact that it can easily be treated.
In general, women are at a much higher risk of developing a urinary tract infection than men. Statistics reveal that one out of every two women will suffer at least one infection during her lifetime. This is due to the fact that women have a shorter urinary tract compared to that of their male counterparts. While some people will only suffer one infection, others usually have to deal with recurring infections throughout their lifetime. The good news though is that there are many medical treatments as well as home remedies that could be used to treat an infection. By the time you finish reading this, you should know what to do in case of an infection, as well as how to avoid being infected.
Causes of Urinary Tract Infection
A urinary tract infection will always come unannounced, leaving many people to only guess what the probable cause is. Before you can treat any medical condition, it is very important to start by understanding what the cause could be. This is will enable doctors to come up with a lasting solution that not only relieves the symptoms but also deals with the root cause. Some of the conditions that could trigger an infection include:
- Bacteria: Bacteria are by far the leading cause of most urinary tract infections. These bacteria usually reside on the skin around the rectum or right within the vagina. These pathogens usually spread to other parts of the urinary tract via the urethra. Once inside the urethra, the bacteria move upwards towards the bladder where they cause infection.
- Sexual intercourse: The nature of the female urinary tract clearly makes them more susceptible to UTI's. As a result, sexual intercourse has become a common cause of these infections. During intercourse, bacteria within the vagina can easily be massaged to enter the urethra. This is why women with multiple sexual partners or those who are more active sexually are at a higher risk of infection.
- You could also develop UTI by waiting too long before urinating. Waiting for a very long time usually forces one's bladder to expand way beyond its capacity. When this happens repeatedly, the bladder walls weaken and the bladder fails to empty totally. The urine left behind increases risk of infection.
Symptoms of Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)
There are far too mane infections and disorders that affect the reproductive system thus telling them apart is never easy. However, by understanding the symptoms of UTI's, it will be nearly impossible for you to mistake it them for any other infections. Here are some of the symptoms associated with urinary tract infection:
- A very strong urge to urinate that can never be delayed.
- A sharp pain or a burning sensation within the urethra every time urine is passed.
- Very little urine being released every time, even when the urge was very strong.
- Urine released could be tinged with a little blood.
- A quickly recurring urge to urinate.
- Soreness could be experienced on the back, lower abdomen or on the sides.
The recurring urge to urinate can be very disturbing especially when you need to sleep. It is after the bacteria find way to the uterus and the kidney that symptoms like chills, fever, nausea and back pain occur.
Home Remedies for Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)
Here are some useful home remedies for urinary tract infections. It will be very disappointing to talk about a problem and not provide any useful solution. The symptoms for urinary tract infections can be very painful and disturbing and should therefore be treated as soon as possible. In any case, they could be a sign of other conditions such as vaginal infections so proper diagnosis will be required. To confirm if you are suffering from this condition, you can conduct a self test using the domestic UTI kit. The test kit is sold over-the-counter without any prescription. It is about 90% effective on the very first morning urine. When the urine changes the color of the dipstick on the test, you most likely have a UTI. You can then resort to one of the many home remedies. Remember, you should always consult with your physician in order to get a proper diagnosis and before trying to incorporate these home remedies yourself!
Cranberry Juice- In as much as adequate research is yet to be done, cranberry juice has a very big role to play if you need to remedy UTI's at home. The juice functions by preventing bacteria from clinging to the cells lining the urinary tract. If you have a problem with its taste, adding a little apple juice in it should help. Freshly made juice is by far more effective in treating bladder infections as compared to bottled juice. In case you can't find fresh juice, go for the bottled cranberry juice with the least amount of added sugar or any other additives.
Plain Water- If cranberry juice proves a little tricky to find, then plain water will be your way out. By drinking fresh water you will be able to flush your urinary tract, making it unsuitable for the survival of bacteria. Help in this cause, you will also have to ensure you urinate as frequently as possible. Do not allow urine to accumulate in the bladder and promote the existence of bacteria. Remember that the longer urine stays in the bladder the more likely any present bacteria are to survive.
Aromatherapy- The other home remedy that you can try when suffering from urinary tract infections is aromatherapy. You will have to make some essential oil by combining equal amounts of sandalwood, tea tree, juniper, bergamot and frankincense. Mixing the above mentioned ingredients will produce oil that you can rub around your bladder region. You will have to continue with this daily massage for about three days for the symptoms to totally disappear. Note that this oil will just reduce the severity of the symptoms rather than cure the infection.
Tincture- A good number of UTI patients have revealed that tincture can be very important as a home remedy. It works perfectly for the acute cases, especially if treatment starts early. If you need to use this remedy, you will have to start by taking half a teaspoon of tincture every one hour. Blend equal amounts of buchu, echinacea, uva ursi and pipsissewa tinctures and take twenty drops every 2 hours, at least for the first two days. You will then move to a teaspoon four times a day until you recover fully.
Baking Soda- You can also use baking soda as a home remedy for UTI. If you have baking soda in your kitchen, there is no need to rush to a doctor immediately the first symptoms of an infection appear. Baking soda will be very important since it raises the acid-base balance of the usually acidic urine. This leaves your tract unsuitable for bacteria to survive in. Take a mixture of half a teaspoon of baking soda and a glass of water when symptoms first appear.
Cranberry– The most commonly used and popular herb for UTI is cranberry. This is because it has acidic properties that prevents the growth of bacteria and thus inhibits UTI. The properties found in the juices also prevent bacteria from living in the inner lining of the bladder. As a result, the bacteria are flashed out with the urine. Unsweetened cranberry juice is the best remedy. This is because sugar tends to provide an environment for the growth of bacteria.
– Uva ursi is also another effective remedy for UTI. It has properties that help to weaken the bacteria thus preventing it from thriving. It takes effect within a few days once you begin taking it in the right doses. This means that the herb should to be taken for four days continuously. Neither should the dosage exceed four days.
Goldenrod– Goldenrod is another useful herb for treating UTIs. It has been widely used in Europe for a number of years to treat UTIs. It can be purchased in capsule form or added to tea. It mainly works by decreasing inflammation and pain during urination. The herb should be taken in tea form twice a day or as directed in capsule form.
Dandelion- Dandelion on the other hand can be used as a diuretic and thus helps to flash out any bacteria from the bladder. The fresh dandelions can be added to salads while the dried ones can be used to make tea. The herb can also be bought as a capsule at food stores.
Oregon Grape– Oregon grape can also be used to treat urinary tract infections. It contains substances that contain anti microbial properties such as berberine and tannins. It also has antifungal properties
Diet for Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)
The above remedies will not always work and you could be forced to see a medical expert. However, all these hassles could be avoided if you chose to subscribe to the right diet. If you have already suffered one infection, eating healthy will ensure it does not recur. It has been noted that processed foods such as chocolate, cheese and some dairy products could provoke infections. Other foods to avoid include;
- Spicy foods.
- Alcohol and cigarettes.
- Fats and sugars.
You should however supplement your diet with vitamin C. This vitamin creates a highly acidic environment within the bladder, making it unsuitable for the proliferation of bacteria. Eating a healthy diet with sufficient mineral supplements will also be very important. To maintain the alkaline content of urine, simply take a lot of milk, fresh vegetable and fruits.
Prevention of Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)
Urinary tract infections are not only painful but could also disrupt your schedule significantly. The good news is that you do not have to wait till the infections come to do something. Here are some of the measures you could take to avoid being infected:
- Hygiene measures: If you maintain proper hygiene, bacteria will be less likely to be found within the urinary tract. Females should wipe from front to back while males should retract the foreskin before urination to prevent urine from lingering around the opening of the urethra.
- You should not keep urine within the bladder for too long before urination.
- Avoid deodorants or gels that could cause irritation around the genital area.
- Increase your fluid content and ass some vitamin C and mineral supplements to your diet.
With these measures in place, you aren't likely to contract urinary tract infection.
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