Urinary tract infections (aka cystitis and bladder infections), are really a pain. Literally. While women are more likely to contract this type of infection, men can get them too. But, Ladies first! The guys will get their own post with suggested remedies.
Do You Have a UTI?
The symptoms of a bladder infection vary depending on the severity. You’ll immediately notice changes during urination. As the infection progresses, pain also occurs.
Some of the most common symptoms include:
- cloudy or bloody urine
- urinating more often than usual
- foul-smelling urine
- pain or burning when urinating
- a frequent sensation of having to urinate, which is called urgency
- cramping or pressure in the lower abdomen or lower back
Can They Be Avoided?
The number one step to take to reduce your risk of contracting a bladder infection is to be vigilant about washing your hands: 95% of all UTI’s are caused by e coli bacteria which is all over our skin and virtually everywhere in our environment. Always wash your hands BEFORE using the toilet, as well as afterward, to reduce bacteria transmission.
Another preventative practice is to always wipe from front to back. This reduces the likelihood of bacteria traveling from the nearby rectum, where fecal bacteria is prevalent.
You’re Infected. Now What?
If you go to the doctor to get help with a UTI, you will most surely be prescribed an antiobiotic. These may clear up the infection, but not always, depending upon how advanced the bacterial growth is within the bladder.
The following remedies are effective and easy to do. They work by shifting the body’s chemistry, creating an unwelcoming environment for the bacteria and eliminate their food sources.
- Avoid or drastically reduce eating dairy and acid-forming foods such as dense carbs, processed foods, and meat. Focus on fresh veggies and fruit, avoiding citrus fruits. Watermelon and blueberries are especially good choices to help shift the pH of the system.
- Drink lots of filtered water as well as some nettle (Urtica dioica) tea. This helps flush the bladder. Even though the thought of increased urination is very disagreeable, breathe through it so that the urine gets excreted and takes the bacteria with it.
- Increase Vitamin C intake. Electrolyte Stamina Paks are a great source with very low sugar content.
- Take d-Mannose. A simple sugar found naturally in cranberries and pineapples, d-mannose is metabolized in small amounts, the remainder of which is excreted via the urine. As it is flushed out of the body, d-mannose maintains a healthy environment in the urinary tract. Mix into cranberry juice or water mixed with an Electrolyte Stamina pak.
- Drink vinegar water. Put 2 tsp. Apple Cider Vinegar
into a glass of room-temp or warm water and drink. Do this ½ hour prior to eating or be sure to brush teeth after ingesting the vinegar water to reduce abrasion of tooth enamel.
- Drink unsweetened cranberry juice or take Cranberry Concentrate
- Insert non-fat plain yogurt into vagina as far as fingers can reach. Wear pad and apply additional yogurt to pad.
Additional Remedies and Suggestions:
- Avoid caffeine once UTI is contracted.
- Aromatherapy blends can target killing the bacteria, balancing the pH, and boosting the immune system.
- Douche with an Aromatherapy blend** or vinegar water, 2 times per day or as recommended.
- When urination is painful, pour warm water over labial area while urinating. This relaxes the muscles and urethra and can lessen the pain of the “razor blades.” Another practice that helps relax the muscles is to exhale or sing while urinating: letting go vs. holding on to the pain and the muscle constriction. This also encourages emptying of the bladder by allowing the urine to flow rather than holding it in to avoid the painful sensations.
- Always urinate and/or douche after intercourse.
- Pyridium, an over-the-counter (OTC) drug, can help ease the pain and urgency of urination. It does not kill the bacteria or balance the pH of the vagina, however, so it is insufficient by itself to eliminate the infection.
- TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) sees UTI as excessive heat and dampness.
Bladder infections are no fun at all and taking a few conscious steps with hygiene practice and food choices can take you a long ways toward not getting a UTI. But if you do end up being host to bacteria partying and procreating in your bladder, there are many tools and techniques to help you shut the party down.
**Essential oils are not to be administered internally without the guidance of a professional Aromatherapist. Contact me to begin your path to vibrant health using custom blended essential oils.