Uti Treatment Without Antibiotics: Interview With Dr Ashley Girard
Like any treatment option, antibiotics have limitations. Some people may therefore wish to consider UTI treatment without antibiotics or more natural remedies. In this interview series, Dr. Ashley Girard, Naturopathic Doctor from Ontario in Canada, takes us through her naturopathic approach to the UTI treatment.
Dr. Girard draws on her medical knowledge and personal experience to support people with UTIs and other bladder conditions. A keen advocate for naturopathy and using the healing power of nature, she approaches her patients with an individualized, holistic focus as she aims to tackle the root cause of their health problems.
Having gone through the ups and downs of a chronic bladder condition herself, Dr. Girard enjoys giving people hope that it is possible to get better and live UTI free. In addition to her naturopathic practice, Dr. Girard shares news of research and useful tips on her blog, Holistic Bladder Care. You can also follow her updates on her .
Take a look at the summaries of our interview with Dr. Girard below, or check out the full videos on YouTube.
Jump To Section:
- A Naturopathic Approach to UTI > > > >
- Is UTI Treatment Without Antibiotics Safe? > > > >
- Herbal Treatment for Recurrent UTI > > > >
- UTI & the Microbiome > > > >
- Hormonal Therapy as a Recurrent UTI Treatment Without Antibiotics > > > >
So Can You Treat A Uti Without Antibiotics
The short answer is, unfortunately, no. Thats because it is extremely difficult, if not impossible, to cure a urinary tract infection with natural remedies.
Why? Because by the time you have a full-blown UTI, the bacteria has taken a stronghold in your urinary tract. This bacteria is very stubborn and does not leave easily. Natural remedies are generally milder than antibiotics and cant reliably treat an infection once its set in.
Since it is dangerous to leave your UTI untreated as it can develop into a serious kidney infection, it is very, very important you see a doc and get on antibiotics to knock out the infection.
However, if youre just starting to feel the twinges of a potential UTI, you can try some natural remedies to try to flush out the bacteria and reduce inflammation before the infection really takes hold. Even better, there are some simple things you can do to prevent a UTI from happening in the first place.
Drinking enough water is one of the easiest ways to help prevent and treat urinary tract infections.
Why? Because water helps the urinary tract organs remove waste from your body efficiently while retaining vital nutrients and electrolytes. Keeping yourself properly hydrated also dilutes the urine and speeds its journey through the system, making it much more of a challenge for bacteria to reach your cells that line urinary organs, which would ultimately cause an infection.
Get Vitamin C
The Current Treatment Approach For A Uti And Why It May Lead To Eventual Antibiotic Resistance
Because they can be extremely effective at providing short-term relief. Pop a few pills, drink lots of water and within hours/days your hoo-ha doesnt burn every time you go to the loo. Also, if left untreated, UTIs can lead to kidney disease or fatal blood poisoning, something that, thanks to antibiotics, doesnt cause as many deaths as it once might have.
But antibiotic resistance is on the rise, including resistant strains of E. coli, the bacteria that cause more than 70% of UTIs . And it isnt necessarily anything to do with you and your choices, but rather the choices of the general population to a) use the wrong type of antibiotic, and b) not finish the full course of antibiotics prescribed. Both of which have led to morphed strains of bacteria that no longer respond to available antibiotic treatments .
Not to mention the failure to address the root cause of the recurrent UTI in the first place. A blog post for another day.
For me and many others, it was a cycle of UTI > > treated with antibiotics > > then thrush as a result of the antibiotics > > treated with antifungals > > UTI, and so on and so on. Following the conventional model, I could never understand what was causing the horrid cycle I was now in, or figure out how to deal with the consequences of IBS from my destroyed gut from antibiotic abuse.
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Creating Stronger Strains Of Bacteria
Over time, some species of bacteria have become resistant to traditional antibiotics. According to some research , several species of E. coli, the primary cause of UTIs, are showing increasing drug resistance.
The more a person uses an antibiotic, the greater the risk of the bacteria developing resistance. This is even more likely when a person does not take the full prescribed course of treatment.
It is essential to continue taking antibiotics until the end date that the doctor provides. Also, never share antibiotics with others.
How Are Utis Diagnosed
UTIs are diagnosed by taking a urine sample which is checked in a laboratory for bacteria. Your doctor may also perform a physical examination if they think you have an infection.
All pregnant women are offered a urine test, usually at their first antenatal visit or soon after. You may need to repeat the urine test if you have a history of UTIs have symptoms of a UTI have a contaminated sample or if your doctor thinks you are at high risk of developing a UTI. If you have frequent UTIs, you may also need additional tests such as an ultrasound of your kidneys.
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Is Uti Treatment Without Antibiotics Safe
Especially in acute uncomplicated UTI, herbs can successfully and safely eradicate urinary pathogens. Dr. Girard explains that herbs are not necessarily ineffective with recurrent or chronic UTI patients, but these cases are more complex. For example, you may also need to consider chronic inflammation, or issues with hormones and the immune system.
Herbal remedies are generally safe to use without additional antibiotics. However, Dr. Girard points out that antibiotics must be used to treat UTIs during pregnancy, as infection during this time is associated with higher risks. Once an infection during pregnancy has been successfully treated, naturopathic doctors may implement a prevention strategy to prevent recurrence during the rest of the pregnancy.
Explaining that neither one approach is necessarily better than the other, Dr. Girard shares that there is research to suggest that some herbal remedies may enhance the effectiveness of certain antibiotics. For example, garlic extract and Macrobid . She has seen some patients become infection-free after herbal treatment alone, while others may do better with a combination. It all depends on the individual.
How Long Does A Uti Last Without Antibiotics
As mentioned, in regards to how long a UTI lasts without antibiotics, the answer will depend on whether the infection is relatively minor or not. Uncomplicated UTIs can go away in about a week. Its possible to try some home remedies to get relief during the recovery, but make sure to seek medical assistance if the signs of your UTI is going away fail to show. After all, you dont want a lower tract UTI to turn into an upper tract one.
Some of the most popular home remedies involve drinking plenty of liquids and not just water. Cranberry juice and uva ursi tea have been reported to help with UTI symptoms relief. Upping the intake of vitamin C and probiotics may also be helpful to fight off the infection. Some people swear by certain essential oils when it comes to UTI home remedies, such as oregano oil, clove oil, cinnamon oil, and eucalyptus oil. However, using these oils also carries certain health risks, which is why its crucial to follow the exact instructions when using them. Also, its recommended to discuss the use of essential oils with your doctor just to be on the safe side.
However, in many cases, you shouldnt count that a UTI will go away on its own. Leaving a serious infection untreated can end up causing a kidney infection. This is a very dangerous condition that could even lead to organ failure or kidney scarring, which is why it requires immediate medical intervention.
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Check If It’s Cystitis
- pain, burning or stinging when you pee
- needing to pee more often and urgently than usual
- pee that’s dark, cloudy or strong smelling
- pain low down in your tummy
Symptoms in young children may also include:
- a high temperature they feel hotter than usual if you touch their neck, back or tummy
- wetting themselves
- reduced appetite and being sick
- weakness and irritability
In older, frail people with cognitive impairment and people with a urinary catheter, symptoms may also include:
- changes in behaviour, such as acting confused or agitated
- wetting themselves more than usual
- shivering or shaking
Most Women With Uti Will Be Treated With Antibiotics
About half of all women will have a urinary tract infection at some point in their lifetime, and most will be treated with antibiotics to eliminate the infection.
While these medications have long been the standard treatment for a UTI, concerns about unnecessary antibiotic use and the growing problem of antibiotic resistance have raised questions about whether the drugs are always needed. Without antibiotic treatment, will a UTI go away on its own?
First, it helps to understand what a UTI is. UTI is classified into two broad categories, uncomplicated, also known as cystitis, and complicated, such as pyelonephritis, catheter-associated, UTI during pregnancy and UTI in setting of kidney stone.
When bacteria invade the urethra and track upwards to the bladder, it causes infection and inflammation in a normally sterile environment. In most cases, UTIs are caused by E. coli bacteria normally found in the bowels that venture out to an area in our body where it is not used to being.
A mild UTI causes symptoms, including painful urination, constantly feeling the need to urinate and cramping pain in the lower abdomen. In the elderly population, a mild UTI can even cause confusion. Symptoms from a complicated UTI include fever, lower back pain, blood in urine, and even pus in urine.
Can you treat a UTI without antibiotics?
While some UTIs may go away without antibiotic treatment, Dr. Pitis cautions against foregoing antibiotics.
Understanding UTI symptoms
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Wipe From Front To Back
This one is more about prevention. Because many UTIs develop from the spread of bacteria from the rectum, its important to pay attention to how you wipe both after a bowel movement and after urinating. Always wipe from front to back to avoid spreading bacteria to the urethra, and on to the urinary tract.
How Long Does It Take To Get A Prescription For Uti Antibiotics
The wait time for a prescription depends on how quickly you can meet with a healthcare provider and whether it is in person, on the phone, or over video. If you need to see a doctor in person, it will depend on what appointments are available in the office. If you are looking for an online doctor, you can usually get an appointment and prescription the same day.
Keep in mind that using a mail order service means it might take 2 to 5 days for the medication to arrive. It can be hard to wait for your medication to come in the mail when your UTI symptoms are interfering with daily life. Some telemedicine services like GoodRx Care allow you to meet with a doctor online, and then pick up your prescription later the same day at a local pharmacy.
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Will Uti Go Away On Its Own
How long a UTI lasts will also depend on the severity of the infection. In the case of uncomplicated UTIs, its possible to deal with the issue with home remedies and drink plenty of liquids, and the UTI will go away on its own. This is because the body itself can manage smaller infections. Still, its important to mention that this is true for only about 25-42% of UTIs that are minor. Always pay attention to the severity of your symptoms, and dont try to endure anything that causes you too much discomfort.
Do You Need To See A Doctor To Get Antibiotics For A Uti
You need to speak with your doctor or a licensed medical professional to be prescribed antibiotics for a UTI. This can usually be done in person, at the doctor, or over the phone.
If this is your first UTI or your symptoms are severe, it may be helpful to get treated in person. You may also want to consider an in-person visit with your healthcare professional to rule out sexually transmitted infections if you are sexually active or have multiple sexual partners.
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How Long Does A Uti Last Untreated
In case UTI is left untreated, it could result in more complicated situations that could also be fatal to an infected person.
Some of the complications include:
Signs and symptoms of a bladder infection include pain during urination, pain in the lower back and frequent urge of urination by producing very little pee. Increased intake of water can help pain and fasten the healing process.Recurrent UTIs can be avoided by simultaneously treating problems with the digestive system in women and prostate problems in men. It helps to be proactive and prevent UTI by the following cleanliness after bowel movement and also eating a good healthy diet. Cranberry juice and supplements are known, to an extent, to prevent UTIs.
UTI left untreated for weeks after the incidence of primary symptoms, causes the bacteria colonizing the bladder to move upwards, infecting the ureters. This leads to accumulation of urine in the ureters as well.When ureters are not completely emptied of urine, there is a swelling and intense pain. The urine smells foul and patient develops a high fever. Although painful and time-consuming, treating UTI at this stage is necessary to prevent further damage.
A Note About Cranberry Juice And Utis
Cranberry juice or cranberry extract in supplemental form has long been used as a home remedy for UTIs.
The thought is that the proanthocyanidins in cranberries may help prevent bladder infections by keeping the bacteria from clinging to the bladder wall, says Sonya Angelone, MS, RDN, a nutrition consultant based in San Francisco, and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
Yet theres scientific controversy over how effective cranberry juice is at preventing UTIs due to conflicting conclusions in studies on the topic, according to an article published in May 2016 in Advances in Nutrition. Some studies have found it might work, while others have found no effect.
Bottom line, there is some evidence it may help, and it doesnt hurt to try it, says Angelone. Just be sure to chose unsweetened cranberry juice . Mix this with sparkling water or plain yogurt, she recommends.
Another low-calorie option choose a cranberry pill that contains d-mannose, she says.
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Consume Organic And Unsweetened Cranberry Juice
Most of the women who suffer from UTIs consume cranberry juice to bring down the pain and keep the uterus healthy. Why so? Let’s understand it here. Cranberries work by preventing bacteria from adhering to the urinary tract, thus preventing infection. Therefore, drinking unsweetened cranberry juice is one of the most well-known natural remedies for urinary tract infections.
Combine Home Remedies With Medical Care
All of the above home remedies may ease symptoms of a UTI. However, none of them are likely to cure a urinary tract infection. While it is not possible for the immune system to fight off the bacteria that causes UTIs on its own, antibiotics are usually necessary to aid in the process. You can combine home remedies for UTI relief with the medication your primary care provider prescribes to both treat the infection and minimize your discomfort.
If you decide to let your immune system fight the infection on its own, keep close tabs on your condition. Specifically, see your doctor if you experience any of the following:
- Pain in your lower back
The above symptoms could indicate that the infection has spread to the kidneys. A kidney infection requires prompt medical care, since it can permanently damage the organs or move into the bloodstream and cause a potentially fatal infection.
Even without kidney infection symptoms, you should see your doctor if:
- Your symptoms dont improve after two or three days
- You have had three or more UTIs in the last 12 months
- You have a medical condition or take a medication that suppresses your immune system
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Things Women Need To Know About Utis
May 12, 2016
If youve ever had a urinary tract infection and if youre a woman, chances are you have you know theyre not fun. UTIs not only feature unpleasant symptoms, like an increased urge to urinate and a burning sensation when you do, but also a tendency to come back again and again. In fact, UTIs are the second most common type of infection in the body, leading to over 8 million visits to health care providers each year.1
Because urinary tract infections are also one of the most common conditions treated by MDLIVE doctors, we decided to speak to Dr. David Talbott, MDLIVEs VP of Physician Education and Quality Assurance, to find out what we should know.
Try Taking A Probiotic
Introducing a probiotic to your system may help to replenish the naturally occurring, healthy bacteria that live in the gut. It is thought that probiotics may prevent harmful bacteria from attaching to the urinary tract cells, and may also lower the urine Ph, making it less hospitable to harmful bacteria. And, if you have taken an antibiotic to treat a UTI, taking a probiotic is a great way to build up the healthy bacteria that may have been killed during your course of treatment. Probiotics are found in supplement form , or they occur naturally in some types of food, including certain yogurts, kombucha, or kefir.
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