Practice A Healthy Sexual Intercourse Routine
One of the most important thing that you should keep in mind to protect yourself from UTIs is to maintain a healthy and safe sexual relationship with your partner. Sexual intercourse introduces bacteria and other microbes from outside the body to the urinary tract. Practicing good sexual hygiene can help to reduce the number of bacteria that people can transfer during intercourse and other sexual acts.
Some of the good sexual hygiene rituals include:
- Always use a barrier contraception such as a condom.
- Wash your genitals before and after having sex.
Urinary tract infections or UTIs are a common problem and can be frustrating to deal with. However, there is always a way. Staying hydrated, practicing some healthy habits and supplementing your diet with some UTI-fighting ingredients and foods are good ways to lower your risk of getting them.
NOTE: Home remedies are always natural and has no side effects. However, they are unlikely to be as effective as a prescription treatment. If symptoms persist, visit a doctor immediately for proper medications.
How Is A Urinary Tract Infection Diagnosed How Do Healthcare Providers Test For A Uti In Toddlers
After interviewing you about your childs history and performing a physical examination, the healthcare provider may order the following tests:
- Urine tests like the leukocyte esterase and a urine culture to test for the presence of bacteria or white blood cells.
- Blood tests looking for infection or kidney function.
- Ultrasound or CT of the kidneys and bladder.
- Voiding cystourethrogram , which evaluates the bladder and urethra to detect vesicoureteral reflux .
Do I Really Have To See A Doctor For A Uti
It may seem unnecessary to see a doctor for such a common illness. Why not just let it go and treat it on your own? Dr. Elizabeth Rice, a licensed naturopathic doctor and primary care physician at Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine, has tips for natural treatments, but says you always have to be careful. A partially treated or mistreated UTI can quickly become a serious condition known as pyelonephritis , so care must always be taken when treating UTIs naturally.
If youre just starting to feel or see potential UTI symptoms, you can try a few natural remedies to try to flush out the bacteria and reduce inflammation before the infection really takes hold, Rice says. Increase your intake of fluids to help flush the bladder. But if the symptoms persist more than a day, or get worse, you have to go to the doctor.
Going to the doctor may be a bit annoying, but a UTI that morphs into a kidney infection is way worse than an afternoon in the waiting room. Kidney infections can lead to potentially life-threatening sepsis or permanent kidney damage. Seeing a doctor to prescribe antibiotics may ultimately help you avoid a lifetime of medical complications.
You know your body best, so listen to it. You may not run to the doctor after one weird-feeling pee. If you start to have mild symptoms, here are a few natural choices that may help you out.
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Talk To Your Ob/gyn Doctor About Uti Treatment
Always talk to your doctor about any signs and symptoms of a urinary tract infection as soon as possible. As weve mentioned, UTIs can become more serious problems quickly, so its important to begin treatment right away whether at home, with an antibiotic, or both.
If you live in North Florida and need an experienced womens doctor, contact All About Women today to schedule an appointment.
Use Essential Oils With Caution
Oregano essential oil is well known for its strong antibacterial properties. Studies have shown that oregano oil can be very effective at killing E.coli, but it should be noted these studies are generally done in vitromeaning in a lab using scientific techniques, not performed in humans with infections. Lemongrass oil and clove oil may also be a home remedy for UTIs because of their antimicrobial properties, but both have been studied against harmful bacteria in similar experiments as Oregano oil.
Its important to take care before using essential oils as a treatment. The National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy advises against ingesting these oils. Instead, essential oils may be safely used topically with a carrier oil or inhaled from a diffuser.
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Drink Plenty Of Fluids
Dehydration is linked to an increased risk of UTIs.
This is because regular urination can help flush bacteria from the urinary tract to prevent infection. When youre dehydrated, you arent urinating as often, which can create a breeding ground for bacteria.
A examined nursing home residents and administered a drinking schedule to participants to increase their fluid intake. Following the schedule decreased UTIs requiring antibiotics by 56%.
In a 2020 randomized control trial , 140 premenopausal participants prone to UTIs took part in a 12-month study to test if a higher fluid intake would decrease their risk of recurrent cystitis and, in turn, their risk of developing a UTI. Researchers found that an increase in fluid intake led to a decrease in UTI frequency.
To stay hydrated and meet your fluid needs, its best to drink water throughout the day and always when youre thirsty.
Benefits of drinking more fluids for UTI
Drinking plenty of liquids can decrease your risk of UTIs by making you pee more, which helps remove bacteria from your urinary tract.
evidence suggests that increasing your intake of vitamin C could protect against UTIs.
Vitamin C is thought to work by increasing the acidity of urine, killing off the bacteria that cause infection.
An older 2007 study of UTIs in pregnant women looked at the effects of taking 100 milligrams of vitamin C every day.
Fruits and vegetables are especially high in vitamin C and are a good way to increase your intake.
What If I Have Frequent Recurring Utis
Within a year of havig a UTI infection, roughy one-quarter to one-half of women will have another UTI. For these women antibiotic prophylaxis may be recommended by her health care provider. With a recurrent course of UTIs, a urine culture or imaging tests may be required for further analysis.
For recurrent UTIs, there are several antibiotic options for prevention:
- A shorter course of antibiotics at the first sign of UTI symptoms a prescription may be given to you to keep at home.
- A longer course of low-dose antibiotic therapy.
- Take a single dose of an antibiotic after sexual intercourse.
The choice of antibiotic is based on previous UTIs, effectiveness, and patient-specific factors such as allergies and cost. Antibiotics commonly used for recurrent UTIs can include sulfamethoxazole-trimethoprim, nitrofurantoin, cefaclor, or cephalexin.
In postmenopausal women with vaginal dryness that may be leading to recurrent UTIs, vaginal estrogen may be an effective treatment. Treatment options your doctor might recommend include: Estring, Vagifem , or vaginal estrogen creams .
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Change Menstrual Pads Tampons Or Cups Frequently
Low-absorbency pads made of synthetic materials can expose your vulva to bacteria and increase your risk of infection. Using tampons can encourage bacteria to develop faster, so its important to change your tampon regularly. Tampons and menstrual cups may increase your risk of getting or worsening a UTI if its not positioned correctly. If it pushes on your urethra and traps your urine, bacteria can spread to the bladder. Changing the size or shape of a menstrual cup may help prevent recurrent UTIs.
Urinate When The Need Arises
Bacteria in the urinary tract is always under pressure during frequent urination. This can help to clear them out.
It also brings down the amount of time that bacteria in the urine are exposed to cells in the urinary tract. Urinating at the right time usually reduces the risk associated with attaching and forming an infection.
It is advisable to always urinate as soon as possible when the urge comes in order to help prevent and treat UTIs.
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Does Cranberry Juice Prevent A Uti
Some patients may want to use cranberry or cranberry juice as a home remedy to treat a UTI. Cranberry juice has not been shown to cure an ongoing bacterial infection in the bladder or kidney.
Cranberry has been studied as a preventive maintenance agent for UTIs. Studies are mixed on whether cranberry can really prevent a UTI. Cranberry may work by preventing bacteria from sticking to the inside of the bladder however, it would take a large amount of cranberry juice to prevent bacterial adhesion. More recent research suggests cranberries may have no effect on preventing a UTI
- According to one expert, the active ingredient in cranberries — A-type proanthocyanidins — are effective against UTI-causing bacteria, but is only in highly concentrated cranberry capsules, not in cranberry juice.
- However, cranberry was not proven to prevent recurrent UTIs in several well-controlled studies, as seen in a 2012 meta-analysis of 24 trials published by the Cochrane group.
- While studies are not conclusive, there is no harm in drinking cranberry juice. However, if you develop symptoms, see your doctor. Some people find large quantities of cranberry juice upsetting to the stomach.
Increasing fluid intake like water, avoiding use of spermicides, and urinating after intercourse may be helpful in preventing UTIs, although limited data is available.
Take An Otc Medication
Phenazopyridine hydrochloride is a pain reliever for the urinary tract and can be purchased over the counter in generic form or as the brand name drug AZO. This medication temporarily relieves urinary urgency, pain, and pressure associated with UTIs. However, it doesnt treat the underlying infection.
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How Effective Are Home Remedies For Urinary Tract Infections
For people with severe UTIs, antibiotics are the best treatment option. However, if your symptoms are mild, see your doctor and ask if you can treat it at home without any antibiotics. Antibiotics have a number of side effects which can include skin rashes, dizziness, nausea, diarrhea, and yeast infection.
Drinking Plenty Of Fluids
Drinking lots of water is one of the best home treatments for UTI. Dehydration is itself a risk factor for developing a UTI, and regular urination can help remove bacteria from the urinary tract, which can help prevent infection.
In fact,studies show people who increase their water intake from less than 1.5 daily liters to 2.2 liters a day experience fewer UTIs.
Its commonly recommended to drink around 64 ounces of water daily, but everyones hydration needs are different. As a general rule, drink water throughout the day and whenever you feel thirsty.
When you are well-hydrated, your urine is typically clear or straw colored. You should also avoid caffeinated or alcoholic drinks when you have a UTI or want to prevent one.
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Is It Safe To Treat Utis Without Antibiotics
Antibiotics are effective treatments for UTIs. Sometimes, the body can resolve minor, uncomplicated UTIs on its own, without antibiotics.
Complicated UTIs require medical treatment. These are some factors that can make the infection complicated:
How To Prevent Bladder Infections
Though natural remedies arent guaranteed to get rid of early UTI symptoms, there are some natural ways to discourage UTIs from forming in the first place.
Now, before we get into prevention, please remember: If youre a woman, youve got a high chance of a UTI. That doesnt mean youre gross or doing anything wrong. You happen to have a vagina and thats just the way it goes.
Still, you can reduce your chances of infection, and most of the methods are free and easy.
Pee after sex
Theres a bit of a myth that an increased number of sexual partners leads to an increased risk of UTI. But a study from the University of Michigan found no connection between number of partners and UTIs. Foxman B, et al. . Health behavior and urinary tract infection in college-aged women. Instead, they found that peeing after sex was way more helpful in preventing UTIs than limiting your sexual partners.
When you urinate, the pee itself flushes out your urethra. So, that E. coli gets washed away before it gets a chance to make your life miserable. Though it seems a like a tiny, insignificant thing, a quick pee after sex can keep you from days of painful urinations.
Wipe from the front to the back
Dont draw germs from your rectal area toward your vagina and urethra. Every time you wipe, it should be from the urinary area toward the rectum.
Dont use a diaphragm
Dont have sex
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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.
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:
- High fever
- 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
- Youre pregnant
- You have a medical condition or take a medication that suppresses your immune system
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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
- Blood in your urine
Get Your Fill Of Water And Water
One of the first things to do when you have a urinary tract infection is drink plenty of water. Thats because drinking water can help flush away the bacteria that’s causing your infection, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases . It puts you on the right track for recovery.
Most people can be assured theyre getting the water they need by simply drinking water when thirsty, according to the health and medicine division of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. But to be safe, you may want to make sure youre drinking at least six to eight 8-ounce glasses of water each day. General recommendations have suggested that women get about 91 oz of water daily and men get about 125 oz each day, including water from food, as also noted in that group’s report.
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Are There Any Over
Over-the-counter antibiotics for a UTI are not available. You should see your doctor to have your symptoms evaluated.
Your provider may recommend an OTC product called Uristat to numb your bladder and urethra to ease the burning pain during urination. Uristat can be bought without a prescription at the pharmacy. A similar phenazopyridine product called Pyridium is also available.
Take phenazopyridine for only 48 hours, and be aware it may cause your urine to turn a brown, orange or red color which may stain fabrics or contact lenses. It may be best to not wear contact lenses while being treated with phenazopyridine.
Phenazopyridine is not an antibiotic and will not cure a UTI.
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