We don't like to talk about It...Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs)

Almost half of all women get a UTI, urinary tract infection, at some point in their lives.  Men are more prone to UTIs after age 50.  

Symptoms include pain when urinating, needing to 'go' frequently, fatigue, abdominal and low back pain, foul smelling urine and blood in urine.  

90% of UTI's are caused by E. coli bacteria which is why the conventional treatment is antibiotics but you can become resistant to these resulting in recurring infections.  It's worth trying to clear up your UTI naturally therefore but if your symptoms do not clear up after a few days, do see your doctor - if the UTI spreads to your kidneys, it can cause big problems.

You know if you read this blog that probiotics are important for gut health and mental wellbeing (the gut is often referred to as the 'second brain') but did you know that probiotics are also good to prevent and treat UTIs?  This is because when you get a urine infection, the flora that occur naturally in the urinary tract are crowded out by the invading bacteria.  Probiotics restore the balance.  To read more about probiotics.  Please see 'What's stopping you reaching your healthy weight-Part 5-Unhealthy gut'.

If you have a urine infection, you need to drink plenty to 'flush out' the infection.  Drinking cranberry juice is often thought of as helping urine infections.  There are mixed views on this but it is worth a try.  The active ingredient is D-manose, which is also available in supplement form.  This prevents E.coli sticking to the walls of the urinary tract.  

I also would recommend elderberry capsules or liquid as this is antibacterial (I always keep some in and we take it at the first sign of any infection - usually chesty colds).  Garlic too, is antibacterial.  Please see 'Foods that heal - garlic'.

Some vitamins help. Vitamin C (citrus fruits, kiwi, peppers, etc) makes the urine more acidic which inhibits bacterial growth.  It also boosts immunity which helps eradicate the infection. Vitamin A (find beta-carotene, the pre-cursor of vitamin A in carrots, sweet potato, dark leafy green vegetables etc) keeps the mucus membranes healthy so that they act as a barrier, preventing E.coli sticking to the walls of the urinary tract.  

Other tips to prevent and treat UTIs:-

  • Don't use soap or intimate deodorants 'down there'
  • Women should wipe front to back after a bowel movement.
  • Don't wait until you are desparate to 'go' and make sure your bladder is completely empty.
  • Avoid caffeine and sugar which can irritate the lining of the bladder, making it easier for E.coli to stick.

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