If you are a woman, chances are you have or will have a Urinary Tract Infection at some point in your life. Statistics show that over 50% of women have at least one UTI, and many previously infected women will get them again. Men can also contract UTI’s too, and since UTI’s can also be sexually transmitted, it’s essential to know how to optimize your urinary tract health no matter what gender you are.
If you want the low down on the “down below,” read on for causes and symptoms, as well as home remedies for UTIs and other treatment options.
At Nually, our dedicated team of knowledgeable professionals works diligently to keep you informed about the causes, diagnosis protocols, and an array of treatments for a wide variety of wellness challenges and health conditions.
A urinary tract infection happens when bacteria from the intestinal tract (e. Coli) manage to find their way into the urinary tract, take hold, and grow unchecked. The urinary tract is a body system that consists of:
- The urethra, or the tube and opening from the bladder to the outside of your body
- The bladder
- The kidneys
How do bacteria migrate from the intestines to the urinary tract? The anus (opening to the large intestine) is located very close to the urethra. There are a variety of ways for e.Coli, which is usually harmless in the intestines, to set up shop in the urinary tract as a UTI. For example:
- During sex
- Improper wiping after a bowel movement
- In a warm, moist public environment caused by tight or synthetic materials that don’t “breathe well.”
Usually, it is easy to treat UTIs when caught early. Without treatment, the infection can progress to the kidneys and cause permanent damage. People with compromised immune systems like with Diabetes or HIV/AIDS may be more susceptible to developing a UTI or may have more trouble clearing an infection once it takes hold. We’ll talk about symptoms shortly. Remember that it’s always paramount to see your doctor if you notice anything abnormal for you in your genital area.
UTI symptoms vary in number and severity. One woman may feel as if she is sitting on the surface of the sun when she pees, and another may barely notice any irritation at all, but instead may have off-color urine. You might have a UTI if you:
- Feel a burning sensation when you urinate
- Have more frequent urges to urinate, even if little comes out
- Have bloody or discolored urine
- Notice low back or abdominal pain
- Are tired or shaky
- Develop a fever (this could mean that your UTI has progressed to the kidneys.)
- Have signs of confusion or dementia (especially in older adults)
If you notice any of these symptoms, see your doctor right away. Your doctor will have you give a urine sample, and send it to the lab for analysis. If a UTI is confirmed, he or she will present you with treatment options. The most common treatment is antibiotics.
If you have a UTI, you will want to find ways to treat it quickly. Thankfully, there are a variety of things to relieve pain, or prevent an infection from occurring.
Prescribing UTI antibiotics is very widespread practice. If you are careful to take the full amount as prescribed, your UTI should clear up. More and more in recent years, however, antibiotic-resistant strains of e.coli are infecting more people. Continued use of antibiotics may simply feul a germ-medicine “arms race,” if you will.
So what’s a woman or man with burning loins to do? There are a few more heavy hitting drugs out there that are showing promise, and we have 7 home remedies that may help keep your nether regions in tip-top comfortable shape. Read on for more details.
Home Remedies for UTIs
There are many at home remedies for UTIs that can relieve pain and prevent future infections.
- Wipe from front to back. Because the distance from anus to urethra in women is so short, don’t let and e.coli bugs hitch a ride on the toilet paper next time you go.
- Wash before sex. All the activity “down there” during sex can encourage e.coli migration toward the urethra.
- Pee after sex. For extra insurance, use a trip to the bathroom to flush away any germs that may have gained passage during intimate time.
- Switch to cotton underwear, and throw away the thongs. The skin near your urethra needs to breathe and stay dry and cool to discourage bacterial growth where it doesn’t belong.
- Do not live in your yoga pants. Mix it up several times per week in loose, airy, natural materials.
- Eat low-sugar yogurt or take a probiotic. There are beneficial bacteria that keep the environment healthy near the urethra. Antibiotics kill the good germs as well as the bad ones. Eating yogurt or taking a probiotic can rebuild a healthy biome in the urethra, helping to ward off repeat or prolonged UTI infections.
- Try herbal remedies like Vitamin C and Zinc to boost immune system function, and cranberry infused tea for UTI symptoms.
Your doctor or naturopath may be able to suggest further non-antibiotic remedies that can help with symptom control and to clear the infection itself.
Anyone who’s ever suffered the extreme discomfort of a urinary tract infection knows those little e.coli are no joke when they find their way into the wrong places. Seek medical attention right away at the first sign of UTI symptoms. The sooner you get on top of the infection, the sooner you will feel better and the fewer complications you will have. Following the tips listed above may help ward off recurrent infections, or support your body in clearing and existing infection more quickly.
At Nually, we understand that minor health inconveniences can turn into larger life disruptions quickly. We strive to arm you with information that will assist you in knowing your body and calling in the help you need when you need it.