It is estimated that in their lifetime, nearly half of all women will experience at least one urinary tract infection or UTI. In general, women tend to suffer from UTIs more than men do owing to shorter distance between the anus and the urethral opening. This easily transfers germs from the anal region into the bladder. UTIs can be extremely painful and they are also difficult to treat. In this guide, we will take a look at some easy ways to avoid UTI.
1. Avoid antibiotics
Conventional urinary tract infection treatment is antibiotics. However, most women who suffer from multiple UTIs in a year become immune to these drugs. The bacteria (e.coli) which cause the UTI in the first place, become resistant to these antibiotics. As a result, the infections recur. So talk to your doctor and discuss ways to avoid antibiotics. If needed, seek help from alternative medicine specialists or herbalists to help you.
2. Drink plenty of water
Water flushes out the e.coli bacteria and cleans out the urinary tract and bladder. So drink at least 8-10 glasses of water. Urinate as frequently as possible to eliminate the bacteria from the walls of the bladder. This is the best way to prevent UTI naturally.
3. Do not hold the urine in for too long
Always urinate as soon as you feel the urge. Holding the urine for long periods of times allows the bacteria to cling to the bladder walls. So drink more fluids and pee as frequently as possible when you have the tendency to develop UTIs.
4. Urinate after intercourse
The reason why sexually active women get more UTIs than men is because of the shorter urethra and proximity of the urethal opening to the anus. Peeing after sexual intercourse can help eliminate the germs and prevent UTI naturally.
5. Drink cranberry juice
Cranberry juice (unsweetened) is one of the best home remedies to prevent UTI in elderly and pregnant women. The special compounds in cranberries prevent the germs from sticking to the walls of the bladder. So drink 2-3 glasses of fresh, unsweetened cranberry juice daily if you have a tendency to develop bladder infections.
6. Take cranberry supplements
These days, cranberry extracts are readily available in the form of pills. Take these pills as per the instructions on the product. With regular use, cranberry extract pills can be the best way to prevent UTI when sexually active. The compounds in those extracts prevent the bacteria from clinging to the Urinary walls.
7. Wipe from front to back
After a bowel movement, wipe the anal region from front to back instead of back to front. This will prevent germs from entering the vagina and urethral opening. Teach little girls to do the same as many young girls develop UTI due to improper hygiene post bowel movement.
8. Eat UTI prevention diet
Many foods feed bacteria and promote UTIs. These include sugary foods, inorganic produce and foods containing artificial chemicals, dyes etc. If you wish to avoid taking uti prevention medication, you must eat a healthy and balanced diet that is naturally UTI preventive:
- Fresh fruits and vegetables-preferably organic. Avoid citrusy fruits as they can be irritating to the bladder. Eat raw fruits and vegetables but wash them well first.
- Drink fermented, probiotic drinks like Kombucha and kefir. Plain yogurt is also great as it has cultures of beneficial bacteria. Miso soup is also probiotic.
- Avoid alcohol and caffeine. These dehydrate the body and encourage bacterial colonies in the bladder.
- Also limit intake of spicy, sugary foods and food with artificial sweeteners. These are known triggers of interstitial cystitis as well as bladder infections or UTIs.
9. Take apple cider vinegar
Many women have experienced relief from UTI symptoms by drinking apple cider vinegar. Take a glass of water mixed with a tablespoon or two of organic, raw apple cider vinegar. Sip the mixture several times a day. The apple cider vinegar is acidic in nature and it balances the body’s ph while keeping the urine slightly acidic. This kills the germs in the urine to prevent UTI symptoms.
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10. Take Uva Ursi
Uva Ursi is a herb that has been used since centuries to treat urinary tract infection symptoms. It is known by different names like mountain cranberry, wild berry, arberry etc. You can boil this herb and make a tea or use pills that are readily available in the market. Uva Ursi has astringent and antibiotic properties which cleanse the bladder and eliminate infection.
11. Other herbal remedies to prevent UTI
Apart from Uva Ursi, you can try following herbs:
- Buchu– This is a potent herb to fight and prevent UTI. Mix Uva Ursi with Buchu in equal parts or take the pills or extracts available in the market.
- Corn silk– This is available as tea and is UTI preventive herb.
- Goldenseal– This herb is very good for building immunity.
- Slippery elm– Readily available as tea or pills or tincture.
- Milk thistle– This herb detoxifies the body and cleanses out the kidneys and urinary system.
Always speak to an experienced herbalist before taking these herbal remedies.
12. Wear loose clothing
Avoid tight under pants, nylon thongs, and tight or skinny jeans as these clothes brush against the pelvic area and easily transfer germs from anus to the urethra. The friction caused by tight clothing also irritates the already sensitized region. Wear loose clothing, preferably made from breathable material like cotton.
13. Avoid perfumed body washes, douches etc
Avoid harsh lubricants, soaps, detergents, scented douche gels and body washes, bubble baths, spermicidal jelly, diaphragms etc as these probable UTI causes.
The best home remedies for UTI are drinking plenty of water and cranberry juice, practicing hygiene and urinating immediately after sexual intercourse. Most of these home remedies can prevent UTI. However, if despite these precautions, your UTI recurs, you must seek treatment. Antibiotics can help get rid of the infection and stop the pain and discomfort. For preventing recurrence, use the precautions and easy ways to avoid UTI mentioned above.