Holistic Strategies To Prevent Uti Naturally Without Antibiotics
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Its no fun to deal with chronic UTIs, especially if the only solution you know is to take a low dose of antibiotics indefinitely. While antibiotics are the only FDA approved option to prevent UTI, there is an alternative strategy to prevent UTI naturally.
Key points of the post:
- Address underlying health issues that cause recurrent UTIs in the first place
- Heal your bladder lining
- Lower the amount of bad bacteria
- Increase the number of good bacteria
- Change your diet
- Stop smoking and start exercising
The Best Course Of Action
For most sufferers, Ali advises the best course of action is to increase fluid intake, take appropriate pain relief and speak with a healthcare professional for further assessment of symptoms.
If symptoms persist for more than two days – or include a fever, loin pain and/or nausea and vomiting – it is important to see your GP for advice on whether antibiotics are required. It’s also important to go back if you’ve been started on antibiotics and symptoms do not improve within 48 hours.
“While some of the over-the-counter treatments may provide symptomatic relief, the 2018 NICE UTI guidelines state that there is no evidence found for cranberry products or urine alkalinising agents to treat UTI,” he adds. “However, there’s a clinical trial showing the effectiveness of D-mannose. And grapefruit seed extract and oil of oregano have also been found to be beneficial.”
The Risks Of Leaving A Uti Untreated
“There was a suggestion in a small German study in 2010 that using just painkillers may be no worse than antibiotics,” adds Ali. “But a more extensive study by the same group in 2015 refuted this and showed that women who did not take antibiotics had a significantly higher total burden of symptoms, and more cases of pyelonephritis – a severe infection of the kidney which can require hospital admission and can lead to sepsis.”
Similar results to the German trial were seen in a Swiss study in 2017 and a recent Norwegian one in 2018. Both showed that avoiding antibiotics was an inferior approach to treating UTIs. While many women will get over the infection without antibiotics, a proportion will experience severe complications.
“Although substantial numbers of women recovered without antibiotics, between 4-5% of the women not treated with antibiotics went on to develop pyelonephritis,” explains Ali. “The authors of the Norwegian paper stated that they could not recommend ibuprofen alone as initial treatment for women with uncomplicated UTIs.”
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Do Natural Treatments Really Work For Utis The Experts Weigh In
Want a fast fact to bust out at your next party? Forty percent of women will get a urinary tract infection at some point in their lives. Bono MJ, et al. . Urinary tract infection. Fun, right? OK, nothing involving urine and tracts will ever be a particularly fun point of conversation, but its worth knowing the ins and outs of this incredibly common ailment. Especially since 20 percent of women who get a UTI will get another one.
Most of the time, UTIs require a treatment of antibiotics to get the bugs out of your system. This is a perfectly effective treatment, and it usually takes care of the infection in a few days. But, if youd rather not use antibiotics, since theres some concern about creating antibiotic-resistant strains of the infection, what options do you have? I spoke to some experts to find out if there are any natural cures for a UTI and if all that talk about cranberry juice really lives up to the hype.
Home Remedies For Uti
A quick internet search yields plenty of articles swearing that certain home remedies like cranberry juice cure a UTI. Most of these treatments are safe to try in moderation, but they shouldnt take the place of seeking a trained professionals advice.
For example, some scientific evidence suggests that an active ingredient in cranberries called proanthocyanidins may stop bacteria like E. coli from adhering to the urinary tract, making it less likely that the bacteria will stick around and cause an infection. Certain probiotics and vitamin C supplements may also help prevent UTIs, and probiotics have the added benefit of reducing diarrhea caused by being on antibiotics. However, more research is necessary to prove these alternative treatments are effective.
If you choose to try any home remedy, remember that untreated UTIs can worsen over time and turn into kidney infection, which can lead to emergency hospitalization in serious cases. A UTI isnt something you want to put off or avoid talking to your doctor about. Call them at the first sign of symptoms.
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Risks And Outlook For A Uti In Pregnancy
Because of growing concern for antibiotic resistance, researchers are looking for alternative treatments for UTIs.
While several methods show promise as effective treatments for UTIs in pregnant women, more research is needed, and antibiotics remain the most common and understood form of treatment.
It is important to seek medical attention if you are pregnant and think you may have a UTI. When not treated properly, UTIs can be harmful to you and your baby. Always consult with your doctor before trying a new home remedy.
When Do You Need Antibiotics
In its SIGN 88 guidelines for UK healthcare, the Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network recommends antibiotic treatment for otherwise healthy women, under 65, who have three or more symptoms of UTI.
Potential symptoms of UTI are listed as follows: pain passing urine , frequency of urination, bladder pain, urgency, passing lots of urine , and passing blood in the urine .
“The guidelines recommend using dipstick tests to guide treatment decisions in otherwise healthy women under 65 years of age presenting with mild or more than two symptoms of UTI,” comments Ali. “Put simply, if symptoms are severe, urine testing is not required before initiating treatment.”
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Can Drinking Apple Cider Vinegar Treat Utis
Studies, such as one published in January 2018 in Scientific Reports, have shown that apple cider vinegar has some antibacterial and antifungal properties, but theres no scientific or medical evidence that drinking apple cider vinegar cures UTIs. Drinking large amounts of apple cider vinegar could lead to throat irritation and tooth decay.
Other Ways To Prevent Recurring Utis
If you have more than 3 UTIs in 1 year, or 2 UTIs in 6 months, there are other things that may help prevent UTIs.
There is some evidence that women under 65 years old who keep getting UTIs may find it helpful to take:
- a supplement called D-mannose this is not recommended for pregnant women
- cranberry products, such as juice or tablets
Speak to your doctor before taking any of these during pregnancy.
Be aware that D-mannose and cranberry products can contain a lot of sugar.
Page last reviewed: 18 November 2020 Next review due: 18 November 2023
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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 to rule out the possibility of sexually transmitted infections.
How Oil Of Oregano Helps Utis
Not only does Oil or Oregano help UTIs but it can cure other infections as well. It contains compounds of thymol, Carvacrol, and terpenes which eliminate free radicals and harmful bacteria. Research shows that the main ingredient, Carvacrol, may be effective in boosting the immune system by fighting certain types of bacteria associated with the upper respiratory system and other infections. See my article for more information on the benefits of Oil of Oregano.
How Much Oil of Oregano Should I Take For UTIs
The dosage would depend on the kind of oil of oregano you purchase. I look for oil of oregano that contains 70% of Carivaciol in capsule form. I generally take 2 pills per day for about one week to cure a UTI.
Other things you Can Do For Urinary Tract Health
According to Dr. Joseph Mercola, here are some steps women can take to maintain the health of their urinary tract:
- Drink plenty of pure, filtered water every day
- Urinate when you feel the need dont resist the urge to go
- Wipe from front to back to prevent bacteria from entering your urethra
- Take showers instead of tub baths avoid hot tubs/Jacuzzis
- Cleanse your genital area prior to sexual intercourse
- Avoid using feminine hygiene sprays, which may irritate your urethra
- Use only white unscented toilet paper to avoid potential dye reactions, or better yeta bidet
Also Dr. Mercola notes , a healthy diet is key in supporting your urinary tract.
Have you tried D-Mannose or Oil of Oregano? What was your experience?
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Treatment From A Gp For Utis That Keep Coming Back
If your UTI comes back after treatment, you may have a urine test and be prescribed different antibiotics.
Your doctor or nurse will also offer advice on how to prevent UTIs.
If you keep getting UTIs and regularly need treatment, a GP may give you a repeat prescription for antibiotics.
If you have been through the menopause, you may be offered a vaginal cream containing oestrogen.
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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What Is A Uti And Why Do Doctors Prescribe Antibiotics For Them
UTI stands for urinary tract infection. This basically means you have an infection in any part of your urinary system-kidneys, uteres, bladder and urethra. Most infections involve the lower urinary tract, namely the bladder and the urethra. Women are at a greater risk for developing a UTI. Symptoms of a UTI include persistent urge to urinate, burning when you do, cloudy urine and pelvic pain. Not fun. UTIs are caused when bacteria enter through the urethra and multiply in your bladder. The most common reasons people get UTIs is not peeing after sex, but they can be caused by other sneaky things like sitting in sweaty workout clothes and not having good hygiene in general. Here is a well written article explaining a UTI.
Female Specific Causes Of Uti: Estrogen Deficiency
A healthy woman normally has as a vaginal flora that predominantly includes Lactobacilli bacteria. These bacteria help to maintain healthy pH and deter pathogenic bacteria. Lack of estrogen negatively impacts the amount of Lactobacilli. If instead, the pathogenic bacteria start growing in the vagina, it is easier for them to ascend to your urethra and cause a UTI.
Estrogen is also responsible for the health of your vaginal wall and overall ability of your vaginal epithelium to resist pathogenic bacteria.
If you are premenopausal or underwent a treatment that could have affected your hormone production, request blood work to confirm that your estrogen levels are healthy. Also, make sure your doctor examines your vagina and urethra before prescribing anything. If you were a male, they would definitely look at your prostate so dont think you are asking for something out of the box.
Tests to request: a blood test to check hormones, physical evaluation.
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Should You Try To Get Rid Of A Uti Without Antibiotics
As you can see there are options to get rid of a UTI without antibiotics. However, just because you can do something doesnât mean you should do it. Antibiotics are still the gold standard for treating UTIs.
That being said, we understand your pain. Getting antibiotics can be challenging. Our U.S. healthcare system seems built to keep patients from receiving appropriate care.
VirtuCare was created because we wanted something better than the current ways of delivering healthcare. As physicians we also recognize the pain of:
- Rising insurance and drug costs
- Lack of cost transparency
- Unsafe office environments during COVID-19
- Rude staff and colleagues
- Lack of access to medical specialists
With a VirtuCare telemedicine visit, you can meet with a board-certified urologist today and receive appropriate antibiotic therapy for your UTI. If you prefer an âau naturaleâ approach then we can answer any questions you may have after reading this article. Whatever you need, we are here for you.
Speaking of help, youâre probably wondering what to do with all of that cranberry juice in your fridge. Our vote . . . make some cosmos and re-watch Sex And The City.
Feed Your Good Bacteria
Now that you are going to spend money on expensive probiotics, its better if you make a couple of changes in your diet. Friendly bacteria are picky and need certain nutrients if they are to repopulate your intestines. Thats right, bacteria need to eat to survive and they thrive on a variety of fibers. The more fiber is in your diet from different veggies, legumes, leafy greens, fruits and berries, the better.
For type A personalities who want to take an extra step in the right direction, there is also prebiotics.
Prebiotic is a type of powder that consists of several dried vegetables and a special type of sugars that are known to feed beneficial bacteria and at the same time, bad guys cant digest that stuff.
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Should I Take Pain Relievers For Utis
UTIs are painful and its super tempting to reach for pain relievers at the first sign of infection I get it. That said, I personally dont like to use pain relieving products when I have a UTI.
Its easy to under-treat the infection when you dont feel symptoms. Its also easy to fail to seek other treatment quickly if the method you selected isnt working. Either of these scenarios can lead to developing a kidney infection, which is much more serious and requires an immediate trip to the doctor.
I would much rather deal with the irritation of the UTI than to have a false sense of security about the status of the infection.
On a personal note: Ive had UTIs spread to my kidneys twice . My kidney infections required serious courses of antibiotics to treat. In BOTH CASES, I had finished my course of antibiotics for the bladder infection, yet the infection still managed to spread to my kidneys. This just goes to show you that you cant assume that antibiotics will always treat a UTI.
Minerals Vitamins And Supplements
There are plenty of supplements that could be useful in your strategy to improve bladder health.
Combination of hyaluronic acid and chondroitin sulfate demonstrated promising results in restoring bladder urothelium. More on this here.
Vitamin D: If you have been to a doctor since the beginning of the century you might have heard about the importance of preventing vitamin D deficiency. It is well-known that vitamin D plays an important role in the defense against bacterial infections.
Moreover, There are several studies that demonstrate the link between bladder health and vitamin D deficiency. A cynical study concluded that vitamin D deficiency was a factor in womens susceptibility to UTIs.
Zinc: In animal studies, a deficiency in zinc was noted to affect the morphology of epithelial cells in the urinary tract. Zinc is also critical for your overall immune system support.
Magnesium is another cornerstone micro-element responsible for mitochondrial health. Healthy levels of magnesium are critical for nearly all wound-healing processes.
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Practice These Healthy Habits
Preventing urinary tract infections starts with practicing a few good bathroom and hygiene habits.
First, its important not to hold urine for too long. This can lead to a buildup of bacteria, resulting in infection .
Peeing after sexual intercourse can also reduce the risk of UTIs by preventing the spread of bacteria .
Additionally, those who are prone to UTIs should avoid using spermicide, as it has been linked to an increase in UTIs .
Finally, when you use the toilet, make sure you wipe front to back. Wiping from back to front can cause bacteria to spread to the urinary tract and is associated with an increased risk of UTIs .
Urinating frequently and after sexual intercourse can reduce the risk of UTI. Spermicide use and wiping from back to front may increase the risk of UTI.
Several natural supplements may decrease the risk of developing a UTI.
Here are a few supplements that have been studied:
- D-Mannose. D-Mannose is a type of sugar that is found in cranberries. Research suggests its effective in treating UTIs and preventing recurrence (