Urinary tract infections or UTI are commonly treated with antibiotics. Although this kind of treatment is effective and safe, many people want to avoid taking antibiotics and prefer natural solutions for this common problem.
What are urinary tract infections
Urinary tract infections, commonly referred to as UTI, are the second most common infections that affect human body. It is estimated that literally millions of people suffer from them each year. An UTI can affect any part of the urinary tract- kidneys, bladder, ureter and urethra. However, they commonly affect urethra and bladder, and they are more common in women, because they have a shorter urethra.
Symptoms of UTI usually include increased urge to urinate, especially, during night, frequent urination with smaller quantities of urine, burning sensation while urinating and pain.
If it is not treated, a urinary tract infection can spread to kidneys and become more complicated and more difficult to treat.
Natural treatment for urinary tract infections
There are several treatment methods and natural remedies that can be very effective in treating urinary tract infections.
One of the most popular is the cranberry juice treatment. Several studies have confirmed that regular consumption of unsweetened cranberry extract can prevent urinary tract infections in people who are generally prone to them. This is because cranberries contain proanthocyanidins, which prevent bacteria from clinging onto the walls of urinary tract, so they can be easily washed away with urine and expelled from the system.
Alkalinizing the urine is another way that may prevent UTI and reduce its symptoms. Alkalinizing can be done by taking minerals like sodium citrate and potassium citrate. However, these supplements should not be consumed before bedtime, because the urine containing them that stays in the bladder overnight can damage the bladder tissue.
Another widely used remedy for UTI is uva ursi. It is a herb whose active ingredient, arbutin, has antiseptic properties and it can fight the infection in the urinary tract. However, this herb also contains a lot of tannins, which in excessive amounts can cause liver damage. This is why pregnant and nursing women, as well as people with liver problems should avoid using this herb.
Increased intake of vitamin C, especially in form of supplements, can increase the acidity in the urinary tract, making it less a favorable environment for the bacteria. In addition, vitamin C improves the response of the immune system so it is more efficient in fighting infections.
Persons who are prone to UTI or are currently suffering from it, should avoid irritant food, like spicy and greasy food, as well as artificial sweeteners. They should also avoid alcohol, cigarettes and dairy products.
Herbal teas and fresh curd taken regularly can alleviate the symptoms of UTI, and heating pads or castor oil rubbed on the aching parts can alleviate the pain.