Any woman who has ever suffered with a UTI know that all too familiar uncomfortable burn that screams… INFECTION!!!
Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are caused by bacteria. Antibiotics, irritating contraceptives, pregnancy, and sexual relations are also known to trigger UTIs. Women are 10 times more likely to contract UTIs than men and at least half of all women will experience one of these infections over the course of her lifetime. Most require antibiotic treatment and for 30-40% of the affected population, a subsequent relapse will occur within 6 months of first contracting the infection.
“It is estimated that 150 million UTIs occur yearly world-wide, accounting for $6 billion in health care expenditures”. – American Urological Association
Common UTI symptoms include pain or burning during urination, cramps and pain in the lower abdomen, fever, pain during sexual intercourse, and the urge to urinate far more often than usual.
One of the main alternative treatments to UTIs involves minor dietary and lifestyle changes. Drinking lots of fluids such as water and herbal teas while avoiding sweetened beverages, stimulants like coffee and sodas are one of the first steps in reducing the frequency and duration of a UTI.
Cranberries are blueberries for example contain chemicals that limit the amount of bacteria that can bind to bladder tissue. By regularly consuming these berries fresh or frozen, drinking them as unsweetened juices, or taking extracts, many women have been successful in avoiding these pesky infections.
Foods high in anti-oxidants such as blueberries, cherries, tomatoes, squash, bell peppers, dark chocolate, and red wine can also help in reducing the chance of developing an infection. Foods that are high in fibre, particularly beans, root vegetables, and oats are also known to be beneficial in fighting UTIs.
Foods such as dairy, wheat gluten, corn, food additives and other foods known to cause sensitivities should be avoided. Refined foods, such as bleached flours found in breads and pastas and anything with sugar should be eliminated from your diet. Fatty foods, like French fries, donuts, margarine, cookies, crackers, and cakes should not be consumed either.
Other important preventative methods include showering and urinating both before and after sexual intercourse, using mild unscented soaps, not swimming in public pools, and changing undergarments daily.
Some medications may interfere with cranberries so be sure to consult your health care practitioner prior to supplementing. Those who have allergies to aspirin shouldn’t consume large volumes of cranberry juice.