Urinary Tract Infections or UTIs are infections of the urinary system that can affect the kidneys, uterus, bladder, and urethra. Most UTI infections involve the bladder and urethra, the lower urinary tract. Women are generally at greater risk of developing a UTI than men. Studies show that around 50 percent of women are most likely to have one UTI in their lifetime. UTIs affect millions of people every year and are often reoccurring. The main symptoms of UTIs are frequent urination, burning sensation when you urinate, cloudy or dark urine, urine with a strong odor, the feeling of incomplete emptying of the bladder, and pelvic pains. These infections are often painful and annoying when limited to the bladder. However, if the infection spreads to your kidneys it can have serious consequences. Hence, it is always advisable to treat the UTIs as soon as you notice the symptoms.
The most common cause of UTIs is the bacteria from the bowel, but fungi and viruses can also cause infections. In particular, the bacteria Escherichia coli (E. coli) accounts for about 80% of UTI cases. Urinary Tract Infections are traditionally treated with antibiotics. However, UTI bacteria can become antibiotic resistant over time and lead to recurring infections. To avoid overusing antibiotics, you should follow good prevention habits. The body can often resolve minor, uncomplicated UTIs on its own without the help of antibiotics. But even for major infections, there are several ways to prevent UTIs naturally that do not involve antibiotics and are still effective. Here are some of the top non-antibiotic and completely natural ways to prevent Urinary Tract Infections.
Increase Your Water Intake
Drinking lots of water is the easiest way to prevent Urinary Tract Infections from developing. Water helps the urinary tract organs remove waste from the body efficiently while retaining vital nutrients and electrolytes. Drinking plenty of fluids can flush out the harmful bacteria from the urinary tract when you urinate. Staying well hydrated can also dilute the urine and speed its journey through the urinary tract. This can make it harder for the bacteria to reach and infect the cells that line the urinary organs. However, there is no set limit on how much water one should drink to avoid UTIs. Depending on your body needs you should drink enough water each day.
Urinate Often To Prevent Urinary Tract Infection
Urination is your body’s natural defense against UTIs. The more hydrated you are, the better your body can fight urinary infections. Frequent urination can put pressure on the bacteria in the urinary tract which helps to flush them out. It can also reduce the amount of time that the bacteria in the urine are exposed to the cells lining the urinary tract. This reduces the risk of these bacteria attaching to the cells and forming an infection. It’s also important to urinate soon after sexual intercourse in order to flush out bacteria that may have entered the urethra. So, urinate immediately and fully whenever you feel the urge.
Stay Clean and Dry
Maintaining personal hygiene and staying clean and dry can also prevent the bacteria from spreading to the urethra. Many UTIs develop when bacteria from the rectum gain access to the urethra. Once the bacteria are in the urethra, they can travel up to other urinary tract organs and cause infections. The best way to avoid this is to wipe from front to back after urinating or bowel movements. Certain fabrics also can trap moisture, making it easier for bacteria to thrive. Wearing loose underwear made of fabrics that allow air to pass can prevent the moisture from getting trapped. Wear cotton underwear for maximum breathability.
Supplements are alternatives to antibiotics that can help you get nutrients that are missing from the diet or deficient in your body, including those that can prevent UTIs. Supplements in the form of capsules, powders, or drinks can get into your system quickly and give effective results. Mostly cranberry extracts or probiotics are advised for UTIs. Sometimes supplements combine probiotics like Acidophilus and bifidobacteria to help support a healthy immune system. Alternatively, eating enough yogurt every day can also provide probiotics and good bacteria to the body.
Take a Probiotic
Probiotics are one of the most promising natural remedies for Urinary Tract Infections. They are beneficial bacteria that can help keep the urinary tract free from harmful bacteria. Probiotics help support the human body’s normal good bacteria that serve as a line of defense. They produce hydrogen peroxide in the urine which is a strong antibacterial. They can also lower the pH balance of urine making the conditions less favorable for bacteria to survive. A group of probiotics called lactobacilli can help with treating and preventing UTIs.
You can get probiotics from a variety of fermented and dairy products like yogurt, kefir, some types of cheese, sauerkraut, etc. Alternatively, you can also take probiotic supplements in the form of capsules, powder or liquids.
Increase Vitamin C Intake
Vitamin C is an antioxidant that helps improve the immune system of the body. Higher intake of Vitamin C can make the urine acidic thereby killing the harmful bacteria in the urine. Vitamin C reacts with the nitrates in the urine to form nitrogen oxides. These nitrogen oxides can lower the pH balance of the urine which makes it difficult for the bacteria to survive. They can also inhibit the growth of E. coli and thus enhance the immune system of the body.
If you think you are suffering from Urinary Tract Infections, consulting a doctor is the best way to treat a possible infection. Antibiotics are not always necessary to treat UTIs. However, it is still important to seek medical attention if you suspect an infection. This can reduce the risk of spreading the infection or developing a more serious infection. But if you are looking for alternative ways to prevent infection, you should probably learn how to avoid UTIs naturally. Also, following the above tips and maintaining good hygiene practices can also go a long way in preventing UTIs.