Urinary Tract Infection
A urinary tract infection (UTI) is the second most common type of bacterial infection and affects 34 percent of adult, most of them women. A UTI can develop when bacteria enter the urethra and travel into the bladder or kidneys where they readily and rapidly multiply. Symptoms can include a strong and frequent urge to urinate, pain and burning upon urination, a strong smell to the urine, or cloudy urine. In some cases, very little urine is released at a time. Antibiotics are often needed once you’ve developed an UTI. But there are a number of ways you can avoid an infection in the first place.
Diet can play a significant role in the health of your urinary tract. Fruits like blueberries and cranberries that are high in anthocyanins can help prevent bladder infections. Garlic contains compounds that strengthen the immune system response and help fight infection. Plus, it’s important to drink plenty of water to help flush bacteria out of your urinary tract. There are also foods you should avoid if you are prone to UTIs. Overly processed foods made with refined sugar and flour can hamper immune function. And limit the amount of caffeine and alcohol you consume. Both are dehydrating. This promotes fluid loss, making the urine more concentrated.
It’s important to urinate regularly as you feel the need. Resisting the urge and holding in urine concentrates the urine and any bacteria it may contain. Good personal hygiene can also help protect against UTIs. Always wipe from front to back after a bowel movement or urination, to prevent bacteria from the rectum entering the urethra.
Cranberry: can be taken in supplemental form and is often more effective than drinking cranberry juice. Cranberry has been proven time and again to prevent urinary tract infections by preventing the adhesion of bacteria to the bladder walls. It also supports overall urinary tract health. Typical dosage: 400 mg of a standardized cranberry extract twice a day.
D-Mannose: is a simple sugar that binds to E. Coli bacteria and flushes it out of your urinary tract each time you urinate. This keeps the critical number of bacteria too low for an infection to occur. Typical dosage: Add one teaspoon of d-mannose powder to water twice a day to treat ongoing bladder problems or take 500 mg of d-mannose in capsule form once a day for prevention.
Probiotics: may be particularly helpful in preventing recurrent and chronic UTI and for potentially decreasing the risk of antimicrobial resistance, especially if you have taken antibiotics for previous infections. When several different strains of Lactobacillus were given to patients, fewer UTIs occurred. Probiotics appear to work in two ways to reduce infection. First, like cranberries, they prevent bacteria from adhering to the lining of the urinary tract. Second, by populating the urinary tract with beneficial bacteria, harmful pathogens are unable to thrive and trigger an infection. Typical dosage: At least one billion CFUs daily.
Uva ursi’s: ability to fight infection is due to several chemicals, including arbutin and hydroquinone. The herb also contains tannins that have astringent effects, helping to shrink and tighten mucous membranes in the body. That, in turn, helps reduce inflammation and fight infection. Typical dosage: 2 to 4 grams per day, standardized to 400 to 800 mg of arbutin.