According to Ambulatory Care Visits to Physician Offices, Hospital Outpatient Departments, and Emergency Departments, urinary tract infection or UTI is the second most common type of infection in the body that compels about 8.3 million people to visit the physician each year in the US alone. Women are especially prone to this infection and one woman in five will develop a UTI during her lifetime. In men, this infection is not as common, but can become serious when it does occur. (1)
Causes of Urinary Tract Infection
When bacteria, usually E. coli, from the digestive tract infect the opening of the urethra, the tube that carries urine from the bladder, and begins to multiply, it infects the sterile urine. If the infection is localized in the urethra it?s called urethritis and if it travels to the bladder, it causes bladder infection or cystitis. Even sexually transmitted microorganisms, Chlamydia and Mycoplasma, may cause UTI in both men and women.
You?re most susceptible to this infection, if your urinary tract obstructs or slows the flow of urine, due to a stone or an enlarged prostate gland. Even placement of a catheter for a long time can cause this infection. If you?re a diabetic or have any disorder that suppresses the immune system, you run the risk of a urinary infection.
What?s surprising is UTI is rarer in boys and young men, as compared to girls and women. Why this is so is still not resolved, but one plausible explanation is a woman’s urethra is short that allows bacteria quick access to the bladder. Also, the nearness of woman’s urethral opening to the anus and vagina makes it easily accessible to the bacteria. It?s been seen that in many women, sexual intercourse triggers the infection.
Another likely reason for women acquiring this infection is the use of diaphragm for birth control. Even condom with spermicidal foam used by men is seen as a culprit in giving the infection to women, as it encourages the growth of E. coli in the vagina.
Symptoms of Urinary Tract Infection
The usual symptoms of UTI may include a frequent urge to urinate and a painful, burning feeling in the area of the bladder or urethra during urination. Despite the urge to urinate, only a small amount of urine is passed and this urine may look milky or cloudy, even reddish, if blood is present. Women may also feel an uncomfortable pressure above the pubic bone, and some men may experience fullness in the rectum. Normally, UTI does not cause fever. You?ll only get it if the infection has reached the kidneys.
Natural cures for Urinary Tract Infection
The prescription antibacterial drugs, the typical treatment of UTI, can have some awful side effects. However, there are some safe and effective natural cures available for this annoying infection. Let?s see what they are (2):
a. Baking Soda:
Taking baking soda mixed in water is very helpful on the first signs of urinary tract infection. Baking soda raises the acid-base balance of the acidic urine that counters the infection.
b. Water or fluid intake:
The better the flow of urine, the less will be the chances for the infection to establish itself. So, consume plenty of water to dilute and flush out the unwanted substances.
c. Cranberry Juice:
Cranberry juice doesn?t permit the bacteria to cling to the urinary tract lining. If you find it difficult to take cranberry juice directly, mix it with apple juice. Even fresh berry juice as part of women?s daily diet will prove useful in the long run.
Essential oils like sandalwood, bergamot, tea tree, frankincense and juniper, mixed together and rubbed over the bladder area will make the symptoms subside.
e. Vitamins C:
This vitamin creates an acidic environment in the bladder and urinary tract that prevents bacterial growth.
Urinary tract infection can cause a lot of problems, if left untreated. However, if you have it, you don?t have to rush for over-the-counter medication. Natural cures are as effective and safe, but do consult your physician before using them.