Urinary tract infection (UTI) is microbial infection of the urinary tract which is generally caused by of Escherichi coli (in around 80% of cases). UTI is characterized by a tendency to urinate frequently. Variants of UTI include acute laburnum (infection of urinary bladder) and pyelonephritis (infection of upper urinary tract which may extend upto the kidney).
Other bacteria that generally infect the urinary tract include Staphylococcus saprophyticus, Proteus mirabilis and Klebsiella.
UTI can effect either sexes. However it is more common in women because of lack bacteriostatic properties in their urinary tract. UTI can happen at any age, but elder people are more vulnerable to UTI because of their weakened immune system.
Urine has acidic properties (pH of 5) which are not favorable for growth of bacteria. Additionally urination expels microbes from the urinary tract and prevents it from rising to the bladder and kidneys; Men are further protected from UTI as their prostatic secretions have vital anti bacterial properties.
Thus the body has natural defenses against bacterial infection of the urinary tract.In Case of UTI, the natural defenses of the body fail and bacteria colonize the urinary tract
|Causes of Urinary Tract Infection||Symptoms of Urinary Tract Infection|
Additionally, in case of kidney infection (pyelonephritis), the patient may feel severe pain in abdomen, lower back, or genitals which can be accompanied by high fever and/or chills. Nausea or vomiting are other allied symptoms of pyelonephritis.
Drawbacks of Allopathic Cures for UTI
Doctors generally prescribe antibiotics to directly attack harmful bacteria that infect the urinary tract. They also prescribe diuretic medicines, which induce copious urination. This helps to flush out harmful bacteria from the urinary tract.
This however does not address the root cause as to why the infection occurred in the first place. It is for this reason that round 30% of UTI patients witness a relapse of infection within one month of their first infection.
Additionally, diuretic medicines are not without unwanted side effects.
Natural diuretics are a safer alternative to diuretic medicines as they have not side effects. (consult doctor before replacing prescribed medications with natural alternatives)
A holistic home remedy for UTI involves a four pronged attack on the disease:
I) Act on your body immunity
II) Kill bacteria with natural antibiotics
III) Flush out bacteria using natural diuretics.
IV) Lifestyle Changes
These 4 steps for a holistic natural home cure for UTI are elaborated below:
STEP 1: ACT ON YOUR IMMUNITY
I) Food rich in Vitamin C: Vitamin C has antioxidant attributes that helps our body absorb bioflavonoid. Bioflavonoid helps in removing toxic radicals thereby improving our body immunity that prevents bacterial growth in the urinary tract.
A healthy body requires a daily intake of at least 2,000 mg of vitamin C.
Food like Bell pepper, black currants, broccoli, cantaloupe, chives, cloves, dried basil, dry coriander, dry rosemary, fortified cereals, lemon, oranges, parsley, pummelos, raw Brussles sprouts, raw mango powder, red cabbage, red pepper cayenne , rola West Indian cherry , saffron, sun-dried tomatoes, thyme, turnip greens and Indian gooseberry are rich in Vitamin C
A liberal intake of Vitamin C rich food is very essential in arresting and eliminating UTI. Intake of vitamin C can also be complemented with zinc lozenges to help better absorption of the vitamin.
II) Vitamin A: Vitamin A helps in refurbishing damaged tissues in the urinary bladder which speeds up healing and recovery process. Food like green leafy vegetable, papaya, carrot and spinach etc are rich sources of Vitamin A and should be taken to fight urinary tract infection.
III) Vitamin E: Vitamin E prevents toxic radicals from disrupting cellular activities. This prevents bacteria from thriving in the urinary tract. This can be combined with supplements of Zinc and Selenium to strengthen body immunity.
STEP 2: KILL BACTERIA WITH NATURAL ANTIBIOTICS
III) Horseradish root (Botanical name: Armoracia rusticana): Horseradish has vital antibiotic properties suitable for treatment of UTI. Essential oil extracted from horseradish are used in manufacture of several urinary tract infection antiseptic drugs under approval from FDA. A decoction prepared by boiling 1 gram of dried or fresh roots of horseradish in 80ml of water can be taken internally up to thrice a day. This is especially effective in killing bacteria in the urinary tract. Horseradish is not recommended for pregnant women or for people with kidney problem or peptic ulcer.
IV) Echinacea: Echinacea helps improve body immunity against a host of bacterial attacks including that of Escherichi coli. Thus echinacea is very effective in fighting urinary tract infections. Extract of the stems and leaves of the herb can be taken internally as alternative home remedy against UTI.
V) Bear berry leaves (aka arctostaphylos uva ursi). Bearberry contains hydroquinone which has antibacterial attributes that are effective in treatment of UTI. A decoction prepared by adding 2 grams of bear berry leaves in 100 ml water can be taken up to 4 times a day for an effective anti bacterial action in the urinary tract. Bear berry leaves are not suitable for children and pregnant women.
VI) Goldenseal: Goldenseal contains an alkaloid called berberine which has a unique antibacterial attribute that prevents bacteria from clinging on to the walls of the bladder. Combined with a natural diuretic, it helps in flushing harmful bacteria from the urinary tract. A tablespoon of extract of goldenseal herb can be taken up to twice a day to cure urinary tract infections. Goldenseal is not recommended for pregnant women and nursing mothers.
STEP 3: FLUSH OUT BACTERIA USING NATURAL DIURETICS
A healthy adult discharges anywhere between ½ liter and 2 liters of urine per day. Diuretics help induce copious urination to clean the urinary tract of infectious bacteria.
VII) Drink plenty of water: Many people reduce their water intake thinking it would limit their already frequent urination. However this is wrong. Not drinking enough water is one of the main causes of UTI. Increase your water intake to a minimum of 8 glasses a day or higher. Drinking water promotes urination and helps flush out harmful bacteria from the infected urinary tracts.
Water intake should be evenly distributed over the day. Intake of excess water in short period of time can cause hyper hydration or water poisoning A good thumb rule is to drink at least two glasses of water every 2 hours when you are awake.
VIII) Cranberry Juice: Fresh juice of cranberry is one of the best natural diuretic that induces urination. Drinking two glasses of cranberry juice a day is an effective natural home cure for UTI. Apple juice or honey can be mixed to cranberry juice, if the taste of cranberry is not to your liking.
IX) Other Natural diuretic: Apple cider vinegar, cabbage leafs, celery, celery seed, dandelion, fennel, green tea, juniper berries, nettle and parsley are some other natural diuretics effective in treatment of UTI. A diet comprising of moderate intake of these natural products assists in flushing harmful bacteria from the urinary tract.
STEP 4 LIFESTYLE CHANGES
Poor hygiene is one of the prime causes of UTI. Cleanliness is of utmost importance for preventing bacterial infections in urinary tract. The following are recommended:
XI) Wash lower body parts: Keeping the lower body parts clean is the best preventive measure against UTI. Wash your genitals (vulva and anal areas) daily, especially before sexual intercourse. However there is no need to get too aggressive with this cleanliness regime. Excessive cleaning can weaken the mucous membranes and can do more harm than good in case of UTI. Thoroughly wipe the anal areas and vulva with toilet paper after after urinating or excreting.
XII) Moderation in sexual activities: Sexual intercourse destroys the membrane lining in the urinary tract. Excessive sexual activities does not give enough time for regeneration of the urinary tract membrane making it vulnerable to bacterial attacks. Clean the genital areas before and after sexual intercourse. Urinating shortly after sex cleans the urinary tract of possible infections and is effective preventive measure against UTI. In case of vaginal dryness, use water-soluble lubricants during sex to avoid damaging the urinary tract membranes.
XIII) Enjoy a massage: An regular external massage of bladder area helps in reducing inflammation caused by bacterial infection. Massaging the bladder area externally with oil comprising of sandalwood, juniper, bergamot, tea tree and incense provides provides relief from several symptoms of UTI.
XIV) Rethink those pills: Many contraceptive pills tend to reduce natural body immunity and can cause UTI. UTI sufferers should consider using other family planning products like condoms.
XV) Other recommendations:
Avoid using deodorants, oils or bath foams in the genital area as they irritate urethra lining resulting in UTI.
Fruits and vegetables contain soluble fiber of the water which naturally flush your urinary system. A liberal intake of fruits is a beneficial in treatment of UTI.
A timely remedy for UTI is very important as prolonged UTI can lead to other diseases like cystitis, polynephritis, gonorrhea or chlamydia.