A urinary tract infection (UTI) is an infection that occurs anywhere along the urinary system, including the bladder, kidneys, or ureters. Women are more likely to develop UTIs, which can also be a recurring problem for many.
UTIs can be painful, irritating, and lead to health complications, so spotting their early signs can help you obtain a timely relief. Along with antibiotics, which are commonly prescribed for UTIs, there are also some home remedies for symptom relief and prevention.
A UTI is a bacterial infection of the kidneys, ureters, or bladder. A bladder infection falls under the UTI category, too. It’s the most common type, and not considered serious if it’s treated right away. If you don’t take action, though, it can spread to your kidneys, which can be serious and cause permanent damage. That’s why it’s good to keep in mind some preventative measures, like cranberry for bladder health and other natural remedies for UTIs.
For the most part, the body flushes out harmful bacteria without a problem. But sometimes an infection can happen when those bacteria stick around, literally, by attaching themselves to the lining of the urinary tract.
Both the male and female urinary tract can be at risk for attack by nasty bacteria. In fact, according to the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH), urinary tract infections are the second most common type of infection in the body, accounting for about 8.1 million visits to healthcare providers each year. The first most common infection, as you may have guessed, is upper respiratory tract infection (URI), like the common cold.
Women, especially, are prone to UTIs because of the anatomy of the female urinary tract. A woman’s urethra is shorter, which means bacteria have quicker access to the bladder. Their urethral opening is also closer to potential bacteria from the anus and vagina. A woman’s lifetime risk of having a UTI is greater than 50 percent, so ladies, don’t be surprised when it strikes. It’s also known to be more common after menopause because of hormonal changes in the body (menopause can be a challenge!). All the more reason to take preventative measures with natural remedies for UTI, which we’ll get to shortly.
Keeping in mind that a UTI is caused by bacteria that enters the urinary tract, typical causes are sexual intercourse and wiping incorrectly from back to front. If you find yourself experiencing recurring UTIs, you could have a genetic disposition or an underlying reason like kidney disease. About 20 percent of women with a first UTI will have a recurrent infection, and with each additional UTI, the risk of recurrence goes up, NIH reports.
Thanks to Mother Nature, though, the urinary tract has several systems to prevent infection. The points where the ureters attach to the bladder act like one-way valves to stop urine from backing up toward the kidneys. The act of urinating itself washes bacteria and other microbes out of the body. For men, fluid excreted by the prostate helps slow bacterial growth. And for both sexes, the immune system kicks in to fight the infection.
Despite these natural safeguards, infections can happen, so it’s important to recognize the symptoms early. Ideally, urine should be light yellow and clear, and your body should send you a signal in advance, as opposed to the sudden bladder pressure or pain that comes with a UTI.
That annoying frequent urge to go, but then passing only a small amount of urine is a very common symptom to watch out for. You’ll also experience a burning or itching feeling when you pee. Check your urine in the toilet bowl – if it’s bloody or cloudy, dark in color, or bad-smelling, this can also be a sign of UTI. Women may have pelvic pain, whereas men might have rectal pain.
You might also have pain on one side of your back under your ribs (where your kidneys are). Other symptoms can include fever, chills, nausea, and vomiting. At this point, you should call your doctor right away. People with diabetes, kidney problems, or a weak immune system should be aware that UTIs can be more serious for their health.
The good news is, there are natural remedies for UTIs. So if you act promptly when you have the first symptoms, such as burning when you urinate, you can get rid of UTI at the onset. Here’s what to do:
Try these home remedies to keep your bladder in top form. They’re easier than you think – and a more natural fix than turning to your doctor for a prescription. So the next time you’re rushing to the bathroom, be aware of urinary tract infection symptoms.