Although this post is mostly about how to avoid or treat UTIs in women, men can also suffer from these infections especially as they get older. Usually a UTI is caused by bacteria that can also live in the digestive tract, in the vagina, or around the urethra (which is at the entrance to the urinary tract). Most often these bacteria enter the urethra and travel to the bladder and kidneys.
While many people have systems in place that are able to remove the bacteria, some are much more prone to infection than others. The infection can be anywhere in the urinary tract which includes all the organs that collect, store and release urine: kidneys, ureters, bladder, prostate (in men) and urethra.
Just a reminder about how your waterworks actually work
- The kidneys collect wastes and extra water from the blood to make urine.
- The ureters carry the urine from the kidneys to the bladder.
- The bladder stores the urine, expelling it when full.
- The prostrate adds fluid to semen and
- The urethra carries the urine out of the bladder when urinating.
If you are prone to UTIs, what can you do to improve the situation?
Here are some general tips as well as some tried and tested home remedies:
- Drink plenty of pure, filtered water every day.
- Eat a healthy diet low in sugar, starches and processed or refined foods. Eat plenty of fresh vegetables and avoid or reduce caffeine and alcoholic beverages.
- Take a daily probiotic.
- Avoid synthetic underwear and clothing, tight pants, skinny jeans, tights or leggings.
- Always urinate when you feel the need – no holding in.
- Wipe clean from front to back to prevent bacteria from entering your urethra.
- Take showers instead of baths while avoiding hot tubs and jacuzzis and if you do have a bath, then steer clear of bubble baths and any other perfumed bath and soap products.
- Clean your genital area prior to sexual intercourse and again afterwards. Also urinate after sexual intercourse.
- Avoid using feminine hygiene sprays, which may irritate your urethra.
- Use only white fragrant free toilet paper, baby wipes, a clean wet cloth or a bidet when cleaning after urinating.
What to do if an infection starts
Don't be in a hurry to start a course of antibiotics unless absolutely necessary as there are other ways to treat a UTI.
Here are 6 suggestions:
With all these different tips and home remedies, there should be something to suit everyone who has a UTI.
- D-mannose is a popular treatment which is available from a health shop or can be ordered online and should be commenced at the very first sign of a UTI. D-Mannose is not a drug but a naturally occurring sugar which is even produced in our bodies. D-mannose helps to nourish your healthy flora because it doesn’t affect “friendly” bacteria. It is best to take D-Mannose in about 1-3 oz of water, stir well and give it time to go through your system. After about 20 to 30 minutes, you can drink water freely. It is safe, pleasant tasting and acts as a probiotic as well. The loose powder works out to be more economical than capsules.
- While treating a UTI avoid all sugars because of the risk of a yeast infection which loves to feed on any sugar, even from juice and fruits.
- Drinking fresh or frozen cranberry juice is another remedy but it must be completely natural with no added sugar. A small bowl of fresh or frozen cranberries, blueberries and other fruits makes an ideal breakfast or it is easy to make homemade unsweetened cranberry juice by placing a 12 oz bag of cranberries in a large saucepan with 4 cups of water. Boil until all the berries pop and pour through a strainer. If too bitter, add a drop or two of liquid Stevia natural sweetener.
- Another UTI remedy is to take 10 ml of colloidal silver daily while keeping the bladder well drained and drinking lots of water or you can use Olive Leaf Extract 4 times a day.
- For a really inexpensive solution, drink 3 x 6oz glasses of a clear, low sugar, carbonated beverage such as club soda or Perrier water about an hour apart or add 1 teaspoon of real and natural sea salt in a large glass of water, repeated again a couple of hours later.
- Finally, eating a pound of asparagus is a suggested remedy. It does not matter whether cooked or raw.