If you have ever experienced a urinary tract infection you know it is among the more unpleasant conditions you can have. If you haven’t had one (lucky you!) let me try and explain what UTI sufferers go through.
The experience of having a UTI is much like being trapped on a very long car ride with no bathroom anywhere in sight only to have a truck full of porta-potties drive up right next to you and wave, – Excruciatingly painful and highly frustrating.
After the common cold and flu, UTI’s are the most common medical complaint and they can occur in both men and women. Though it is far more prevalent in women. This type of infection develops when bacteria such as E. Coli has made its way into the urethra. The most common symptom is the feeling of a frequent, if not constant need to urinate sometimes accompanied by a stinging pain. Pelvic area pain is also common in women, the rectal area in men.
What puts you at risk for developing a Urinary Tract Infection?
-Sexual intercourse, which can irritate the urethra, allowing bacteria to more easily travel to the bladder.
– Some medications, which may lower immunity.
– Hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy, childbirth, and menopause.
– Diabetes or other chronic illnesses that may impair the immune system.
– Exposure to damp clothes, such as wet bathing suits, which can aggravate bacteria growth.
The sooner you can catch a UTI, the better chance you have of curing it naturally. At the very first sign of infection, begin drinking as much cranberry juice as you can possibly handle. Make sure that it is 100% pure cranberry juice and not cranberry juice cocktail as that has added sugars and other sweeteners, which actually promote bacterial growth. Cranberry juice is an excellent source of Vitamin C. The University of Maryland Medical Center reports that cranberries can prevent bacteria from binding to the urinary tract, though they are not quite as effective once the bacteria is already attached.
If you cannot take the bitter taste of unsweetened cranberry juice, it also comes in capsules that are easy to swallow and tasteless.
Supplementation with a daily intake of 4,000 mg of Vitamin C is also tremendously helpful. Not only to boost your immune system, helping to fight off the infection, but also because it raises the acidity of your urine, lowering the pH, making it a more hostile environment for bacteria to continue growing.
In some cases and if you catch it early on, this may be all you need to treat your UTI. You should notice a difference within a day or two. If you don’t begin to feel better or start to develop a fever or more severe pain, especially moving into the back, which is where your kidneys are located, it may be time for you to consult a doctor and consider a course of antibiotic treatment.
In all cases, in order to continue on in your day-to-day life, there is a very helpful over the counter product called Azo (Phenazopyridine Hydrochloride) which will mask the symptoms of burning, stinging and urgency until you can get to the doctor and until the prescribed treatment has time to work. There is no reason to suffer needlessly.
Additional Tips for a speedy recovery:
-Regardless of the route you take to feel better, make sure to drink plenty of water to flush out the bacteria.
-Avoid coffee, alcohol, and sodas as they can irritate the bladder.
– A heating pad placed over the abdomen may bring some relief and ease the pressure.
– Drink 8-16 oz. of cranberry juice daily even after you feel better to keep bacteria at bay.
Once you begin a course of antibiotics you should feel better within 2-3 days. If you still aren’t well, please follow up with your doctor as you may be resistant to the antibiotics you were given and need something stronger. Do not wait. Waiting allows the bacteria a fighting chance at making a come back.
So relax, be kind to yourself. Get some rest and drink as much water and cranberry juice as you can. This soon shall pass!