It hurts when I pee… natural UTI treatments

It seems like the last four months at my office have been noth­ing but infec­tions, and by infec­tions, I’m refer­ring to the urin­ary tract. Am I right, ladies?!

**Men, if you’re read­ing this and this does­n’t apply to you, it might be worth a for­ward to a lady in your life who is has been deal­ing with the dreaded UTI**

Acute UTI Identification and Treatment Steps

  1. Identify that you have an infec­tion (by scream­ing in pain with urin­a­tion, see­ing blood in your urine, exper­i­en­cing lower back pain, exper­i­en­cing an ache in the front of the abdo­men, drib­bling after urin­a­tion, extreme dis­com­fort with hold­ing of urine, increased and very fre­quent need to urinate)
  2. Get a urinalys­is (this is the dip­stick test) where the doc­tor screens for red blood cells (sign of irrit­a­tion, dam­age of the blad­der wall, infec­tion), white blood cells (sign of infec­tion), changes in pH (overly basic), gluc­ose, pro­tein, or nitrites
  3. Potentially have your urine cul­tured (to find out what kind of organ­ism you are deal­ing with)
  4. Be admin­istered anti­bi­ot­ics, typ­ic­ally Macrobid (here in Ontario) for the infection
  5. Drink lots of cran­berry juice, flu­ids, etc.
  6. Infection goes away

When the infections become chronic…

One month later… repeat.

One month later… repeat.

Here begins chron­ic urin­ary tract infections…and the infec­tion that won’t quit.

Why do urinary infections recur?

UTIs become chron­ic under the fol­low­ing conditions:

  1. The bac­teria were able to hide in the urin­ary blad­der walls and as a res­ult, an anti­bi­ot­ic treat­ment did not kill of them adequately. As bac­teria rep­lic­ate so quickly, the next gen­er­a­tion can be more resilient.
  2. The treat­ment was­n’t right. As so many infec­tions are not cul­tured, treat­ment with a gen­er­al anti­bi­ot­ic may only be help­ful if that anti­bi­ot­ic is spe­cif­ic for that type of infection.
  3. The immune sys­tem in gen­er­al has been strug­gling and is not strong enough on its own to sup­port the elim­in­a­tion of the bacteria.
  4. There is a huge amount of inflam­ma­tion present due to the infec­tion that is con­trib­ut­ing to the immune sys­tem’s inab­il­ity to get­ting rid of the bac­teria. It’s essen­tially cre­at­ing more strain on the body.
  5. General hygiene. Improper wip­ing of the vagin­al tis­sues after urin­a­tion and defec­a­tion, as well as sexu­al inter­course, can lead to fur­ther infections.
  6. Stress. Mental or emotional.

How can we interrupt chronic UTI cycles?

If an infec­tion becomes chron­ic, it almost always has sev­er­al things inter­fer­ing with heal­ing. As a res­ult, we need to do mul­tiple things at once:

  1. Address blad­der inflammation
  2. Yes, you have an infec­tion. Treat the inflam­ma­tion of the blad­der wall. My favour­ite go-to’s here are corn silk tea and nettle (in tinc­ture and tea) as they both pro­mote urin­a­tion and reduce inflam­ma­tion of the urin­ary tract.

  3. Reduce your diet­ary sugars
  4. Fruit, juices, wine (alco­hol), sweets, can­dies are all source of sug­ar, and sug­ar pro­motes inflam­ma­tion. Cut your con­sump­tion to 1 – 2 servings daily while deal­ing with more acute por­tions of your treat­ment, and chron­ic­ally no more than 3 servings daily.

  5. Support infec­tion management
  6. While cran­berry juice can be sup­port­ive, it’s gen­er­ally only use­ful for E.coli infec­tions, and even then, the amount that would be required would be quite hard on the stom­ach. Cranberry just isn’t work­ing as much as we thought for infec­tion pre­ven­tion. There are how­ever some great things that are:

    • D‑mannose: A sug­ar that lines the blad­der and urin­ary tract, this pre­vents little bac­teri­al sticky ‘feet’ from cling­ing to the walls, and as a res­ult, they can be flushed out!
    • Uva-ursi: A super herb that has anti­mi­cro­bi­al prop­er­ties and is known for its abil­ity to sup­port the urin­ary tract. Herbal for­mu­las with uva-ursi provide nat­ur­al anti­bi­ot­ic-like action (note they are not as power­ful as an anti­bi­ot­ic) on the urin­ary tract. As as pre­vent­at­ive meas­ure, this is an import­ant tool.
    • Goldenseal: Another anti-adhes­ive and infec­tion-fight­ing herb (des­pite that it tastes a little like socks!) that is known to have activ­ity against E.coli, Klebsiella and oth­er urine microbes
    • Echinacea: A com­monly-known immune-boost­ing herb to get the immune sys­tem dan­cing and fight­ing back on its own terms!
    • Probiotics:We need to put back in bac­teria that may have been stripped from the body in fight­ing the infec­tion. Acidophilus and Bifidobacterium com­bined for­mu­las are good replen­ish­ing microorganisms.

  7. Hydrate
  8. Many ladies who exper­i­ence UTIs become afraid to drink more water, as they are afraid of going to the bath­room. What the blad­der and urin­ary tract need how­ever is good cir­cu­la­tion, and that requires water to flush out. Trying not to wait too long to elim­in­ate the blad­der is import­ant too; no more than 2 hours to use the wash­room should be the rule for infec­tion prevention!

  9. Patience
  10. Chronic UTIs are really frus­trat­ing. Trust me, I know from per­son­al exper­i­ence. Once the body has the above things in place, it really can pre­vent the cycle from con­tinu­ing. Even if you get a new­er infec­tion des­pite doing all of the above, make note of how long it was since the last infec­tion, were your symp­toms lessened, and how your life­style changes have been going. Rome was­n’t built in a day, but it will improve!

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