There is nothing pretty about urinary tract infections (UTIs) which tend to happen fairly commonly and more so in women. Naturally, if you are like hundreds of thousands of people suffering regularly from urine infections, you’d want to know quick ways to treat urine infections and also prevent them in the first place.
What is a urine infection?
A healthy urinary tract is mostly devoid of germs but microbes are almost always present in all parts of our body, even more in the skin surrounding the rectal region. These microbes sometimes travel upwards into the urinary tract and enter the bladder through the urethra. In most cases, a healthy bladder is able to get rid of these germs. However, in weaker patients having compromised immune systems, the bladder cannot do so and this leads to urine infections. If these infections are not treated quickly, they can get extremely painful or could even spread to other parts of the excretory system. Hence it is vital to treat urine infections and prevent them in the first place.
The 20 most effective ways to treat and prevent urine infections
- Take cranberry extracts– Opt for the low/no sugar cranberry juice or consider taking cranberry supplements 2000 mg/day (or as recommended by your doctor) for treatment and prevention of UTI.
- Take OTC meds for UTI pain– An over the counter remedy, Uri Calm helps reduce pain related to urine infections. Another medicine, Azo (containing Phenazopyridine) is specifically known to target pain in bladder. Take the dose as recommended by your doctor or the label on the medicine.
- Drink plenty of water– An essential part of overcoming urine infection is to drink tons of water as it helps flush out the bacteria. While urinating might be painful, it is important you try and get all the urine out. Sit or lean back on the toilet and squeeze out the urine as much as possible.
- Take Vitamin C– Take plenty of vitamin C when suffering from UTIs. It helps you heal quickly and also boosts the immune system. Try to acquire it through natural sources like fruits and vegetables or talk to your doctor about supplementation.
- Take antibiotics– Your urologist might take a culture of the urine to see the type of bacterium affecting you. This can help him/her prescribe the right antibiotic. Make sure you complete the course of medicines as prescribed. Do not stop even if you start feeling better as this could bring back the infection. Some of the best antibiotics to cure UTIs are Penicillin, sulfa antibiotics, cephalosporins and fluoroquinolones.
- Do not hold urine for too long– Often, when at work or play, patients avoid relieving themselves even when their bladder is full. Some schools also have strict rules against the use of the restroom. This is known to have increased the cases of UTIs in children and teenagers. It is important to urinate as soon as the bladder is full to prevent bacteria in the urine.
- Follow good personal hygiene– An important way of preventing urine infections, particularly in women, is to wipe from front to back rather than the other way round following bowel movements. This helps prevent germs from the anus reaching the vagina.
- Urinate immediately after intercourse– Sexual intercourse can also lead to urine infections in women. To get rid of the bacteria, women must relieve themselves immediately after the act.
- Avoid using the diaphragm and spermicidal products– Diaphragm may be a good birth control method; however, it also increases the risk of UTIs. Consider some other contraceptive methods especially if you find yourself suffering from frequent Urine infection.
- Avoid bubbly bath soaps– People who sit for long periods in bubble bath solutions are also inviting urine infections. Use natural alternatives like colloidal oatmeal or a bit of apple cider vinegar in the bath water. The former is very soothing and the latter helps balance pH of the urine tract.
- Avoid wearing tight underclothes and jeans– Tight panties and jeans worn for longer periods of time are often responsible for urine infections.
- Drink corn silk/Zea tea– Corn silk (maize silk or Zea) is a natural alternative to antibiotics to treat and prevent urine infections. It is rich in phytochemicals and is a natural diuretic. (It is readily available in natural food stores in the form of tincture, pills, tea etc). Do not take Zea if you have high blood pressure.
- Use Turmeric extracts– Turmeric is another proven natural remedy that can fight existing UTI and prevent new ones. It is antiseptic and antimicrobial and can flush out the germs from the bladder. Turmeric is available in form of pills, powders or extract and can be used for flavoring and coloring food.
- Drink water and baking soda– This may not be an appetizing combination, but it can help ease the pain associated with urine infections. Soda is alkaline and can decrease the acidity of the urine. Use ½ tbsp per 8 ounce of water.
- Heat pack therapy– Apply a heat pack to the abdomen if you are experiencing cramps due to UTI.
- Avoid vaginal sprays/douches– Many feminine personal hygiene products including sprays and douches can be irritating and could increase risk of UTI.
- Herbal treatment– A cedar tree found in the Mediterranean region is being used to treat urine infections as it contains antiseptic, antifungal and antiviral properties that can clear mucus of the urinary region. Likewise, other herbs like birch leaves, Uva Ursi, Buchu, Cat’s Claw, Milk Thistle, Reishi Mushrooms, hydrangea, marshmallow, juniper berries and Echinacea flower roots are also potent herbs to treat and prevent urine infections.
- Traditional Chinese remedies– Ancient Chinese medicine also has several remedies for fighting and preventing urine infections. They include plantain, akebia stem, Qu Mei and knot grass which can be used to prevent and treat urine infections symptoms. Different symptoms require different herbs, so make sure you use the right remedy as prescribed by the herbalist.
- Avoid certain foods– Some types of foods are also known to trigger or worsen UTIs. Caffeine, for example, might aggravate the symptoms, so opt for decaffeinated teas or coffees. Also stay away from alcohol, wine, beers and certain sodas. When suffering from urine infections avoid fruits like lemons, oranges, pineapples etc as these can increase bladder irritation. Also eat fewer red meats and opt for high fiber foods. Try to increase your antioxidant food intake by eating blueberries, cherries etc.
- Hormone replacement therapy– Many menopausal women tend to suffer frequently from urine infections owing to hormonal factors. These could consider hormone replacement therapy using estrogen as it has been proven to relieve UTI recurrences.
These are 20 of the best ways to treat and prevent urine infections. If you like this list, please share it. Thanks!