A urinary tract infection (UTI) is an infection that begins in your urinary system
(UTI). UTIs can be painful and annoying. But you can become extremely ill if the infection spreads to your kidneys. Women are most at risk of developing a UTI. Half of all women will develop a UTI during their lifetimes, and many will experience more than one UTI. Your urinary system is your kidneys, ureters, bladder, and urethra. They all play a role in getting rid of waste from your body. The kidneys are shaped like a pair of bean-shaped organs in your upper posterior abdomen, filter waste from your blood. Your tubes are called ureters they carry urine from your kidneys to your bladder, where it is stored until it exits the body through the urethra. These organs can become infected, but most infections involve the lower tract — the urethra and the bladder.
The most common type of UTI is a bladder infection, which is also often called cystitis. Cystitis literally means an inflammation of the bladder. The other type is called a kidney infection. It is also known as pyelonephritis. This kind of infection can be serious, but if treated quickly the kidney is most often not damaged permanently.
If bacteria get into the bladder it begins to multiply in the urine, it will cause a urinary tract infection. UTI is a condition, which usually causes the person discomfort, however urinary tract infections are typically treated quickly and easily. It is important that the person with this condition be treated right away. You cannot get a urinary tract infection from someone else, although females who are just becoming sexually active often get UTIs. This is because sometimes Chlamydia can cause a UTI.
Almost 85% of UTIs are caused by a bacterium called Escherichia coli, or E. coli. There are several ways bacteria can get into the urethra. During sexual intercourse, the bacteria in the vaginal area can be pushed into the urethra, which causes irritation in the bladder. Any time the vaginal area is rubbed, bacteria can be pushed into the urethra. You can get a bladder infection from oral sex too. Infections are also common in women who wear tight jeans.
- Frequent urination
- Burning or pain during urination (dysuria)
- Bladder spasms
- The feeling of having to urinate even though little or no urine actually comes out
- Cloudy urine
- Bloody urine
- Foul-smelling urine
- Possible mild fever
Symptoms of a kidney infection
Fever Chills Nausea Cloudy urine Bloody urine Abdominal pain Burning feeling when urinating Frequent urination Most people with kidney infections also experience back pain just above the waist.
A doctor can treat urinary tract infections. The first thing your doctor will do is confirm that you have a UTI by taking a clean-catch urine specimen. You will be asked to wash your genital area with disposable wipes and then urinate into a sterile (bacteria-free) cup. If an infection is found when the specimen is examined, you will be given antibiotics.
Since there are many different antibiotics available, the doctor may then use your urine specimen for a urine culture, which is a test to identify the exact type of bacteria causing your infection. It takes about 48 hours to get results from a urine culture, so you may have to switch antibiotics depending on the results.
Although antibiotics begin fighting the infection right away, they cannot stop all the symptoms right away. If you have a lot of pain, your health care provider may recommend a medication to relieve the pain in your bladder; this medicine will clear up the painful symptoms in about 3 days, although it will usually make you much more comfortable within hours.
According to a urologist in London, it is important to take the antibiotics until the prescription is finished. Many people stop taking the medication when they begin to feel better, but that does not allow the antibiotics to completely kill the bacteria, which increases the risk that the infection will reappear. If you ever develop a rash from an antibiotic or have difficulty breathing, STOP taking it immediately and call the health care provider who prescribed the medication! For some bladder infections, you may only have to take antibiotics for 3 days, but usually, you will be on medication for 7 to 14 days.
Herbal Treatments for a UTI
Although natural treatments do exist, it is important to be supervised by a naturopathic doctor or another qualified health practitioner. The risk is that if the infection is not properly treated, it may spread to the kidneys and cause a kidney infection, even though a person no longer has symptoms. It must be completely eliminated.
Cranberry (vaccinium macrocarpon or vaccinium oxycoccus)
Cranberry juice has been used for more than a century for the prevention and treatment of urinary tract infections.
Evidence suggests that it is the antioxidant flavonoids called proanthocyanins that prevent bacteria from adhering to the walls of the urinary tract. A study published in the Canadian Journal of Urology (2002) compared pure cranberry juice, cranberry extract tablets, and placebo in 150 women at high risk for infections. The juice and tablets both significantly reduced UTIs. Of the two, the tablets were the most effective.
The National Institutes of Health and the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Health recently launched a $2.6 million dollar initiative for research into cranberries. Cranberry juice should ideally be unsweetened, especially if it is used by people with suppressed immune systems. The unsweetened juice can often be found in health food stores. Uva Ursi – (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi) Also called bearberry, uva ursi is an antimicrobial against e
Uva Ursi – (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi)
Also called bearberry, uva ursi is an antimicrobial against e-coli, arbutin.
1 tab in a cup of boiling water.
1 cup 3 times daily.
Use tea, tincture, or a capsule.
Compounds arbutin, methyl arbutin.
Uva ursi may turn urine green.
Goldenseal (Hydrastis Canadensis)
Goldenseal is an antimicrobial. It is found in capsule, tincture or tea form.
Other herbs to consider
- Marshmallow root (Althea officinalis)
- Buchu (Barosma betulina) – an antiseptic and diuretic.
- Corn silk
- Horsetail (Equisetum arvense)
The best thing you can do is to prevent UTIs from occurring. Urinate as you feel the need. Avoid holding in urine.
- Drink at least 8 glasses of water each day
- Avoid excess coffee, alcohol, smoking, and spicy foods
- Women should wipe from the front to the back after going to the bathroom. This helps to prevent e.coli from the colon from entering the bladder.
- Cleanse the genital area before sexual intercourse. Urinating after sexual intercourse can also help.
- Avoid bubble baths, feminine hygiene sprays, and scented douches, products which can irritate the urethra