A UTI or a urine infection occurs when bacteria enter the urinary tract and stay there for long time to cause symptoms such as pain, blood in urine, fever and inability to urinate completely despite feeling the urge. UTIs are very common in women and sometimes, they keep coming back again and again despite precautions. Many women even suffer from a UTI every 3 to 6 months-which means nearly 2-4 urine infections in a year! This can greatly impact one’s quality of life. So today, we will be discussing the best diet for UTI patients, what to do and not do as well as factors that can cause a UTI to come back again and again.
What causes a UTI to come back again and again?
Anyone can get a UTI but 4 times women as compared to men are known to develop it. It is estimated that a woman will suffer from an urine infection at least once in her lifetime. UTIs occur due to microbes traveling from the anus to the urinary area. This is due to shorter distance between the two (in women) along with other factors as follows:
- Poor immunity-improper diet and lifestyle factors are a contributing factor for weakened immune system.
- Bedridden patients with catheters tend to develop urine infections due to improper handling or incomplete emptying of bladder.
- Wiping back to front after a bowel motion– The bacteria from the anus travel easily to the urethra and enters the urinary tract.
- Wearing tight underwear or jeans– Skinny jeans, tight underclothes, nylon panties etc can increase one’s risk of developing UTIs.
- Lack of precautions during/after sexual intercourse– During sex, lot of germs travel back and forth and failure to empty bladder after intercourse can increase one’s risk to developing this infection. Also, the use of spermicidal rings, harsh lubricants and sex toys etc can increase risk of recurrence.
- Not emptying bladder frequently– People who fail to urinate or hold on for long time before visiting the bathroom are at a risk of infection.
- Not drinking enough water– Water flushes out bacteria from the body-so the more you drink, the better your immunity against all kinds of infections.
UTI diet plan
There is no specific UTI diet plan but in general, there are some foods not allowed for UTI patients. Primary among these are citrus fruits as they irritate the bladder and can aggravate the pain. One must also reduce intake of caffeinated drinks and alcohol as far as possible. These fluids flush out healthy vitamins and minerals and dehydrate the body. Alcohol is also irritating for the tissues in the body including the sensitive urinary tract.
Is milk bad for UTI?
May patients have benefitted by following a vegan or vegetarian diet when suffering from infections including bladder infections. Dairy does not have a direct impact on the urinary system but these days, most dairy based foods are full of antibiotics and hormones which do us more harm than good. You need not cut dairy altogether. If possible, keep a food diary and check if your symptoms flare up after consuming dairy. Anything in moderation is fine-so limit your intake and choose grass fed, organic varieties where possible. Eat probiotic foods which strengthen the immune system by increasing healthy bacteria in the gut. Go for kefir, miso soup, sauerkraut and yogurt with live cultures.
Fruits for UTI cure
No fruit can cure UTI. In general, fruits and vegetables provide you with many minerals and vitamins which boost immunity. In general, the best fruits for UTI are berries. Berries like cranberries, black and blue berries are packed with antioxidants. These fight free radicals and enhance immunity. Cranberry is one of the best fruits for UTI and its extracts can even prevent bladder infection, based on scientific reports. Avoid citrusy fruits like oranges, tangerines etc. Eat plenty of watery fruits like watermelons, cantaloupes, cucumbers as well as prunes, plums and avocados.
Are bananas good for urinary tract infection?
Most sugary fruits like banana tend to aggravate the symptoms of UTI since sugar feeds the bacteria. So for the first few days of infection, avoid sugary fruits. In particular, stay away from dried fruits.
Eggs and UTI
An article published in Vogue recently stated that the incidence of UTIs has gone up because of consumption of eggs and chicken which are fed antibiotics. This makes eggs one of the foods not allowed for UTI patients. However, we need more research to establish this for a fact. Eggs, especially yolks, contain zinc which help increase white blood cell count and boost immunity. Speak to your doctor whether eggs are right for you.
There is no particular diet for UTI patients and, in general, it is important that you eat a balanced meal. There are, however, some foods that are known to aggravate UTI symptoms as they are acidic and tend to be harsh on the urinary tract. We hope this beginner’s guide helps you prevent and manage UTIs. For more information, check out other useful resources on this site.