If there’s one positive thing about urinary tract infections (UTIs), also known as a bladder infection, it’s that the signs are very clear. There’s not a lot of guessing involved. When you have one starting, you know. You go to the bathroom feeling the urge to pee but nothing happens. Maybe a little urine comes out, but it’s hot and it hurts. The urge to pee never really goes away. And repeat. As painful as they are, UTI’s are so common in women! More than half of all women will develop one in their lifetime.
The major concern for something so common is that with antibiotics being the conventional treatment, bacteria have become antibiotic-resistant. That’s why it’s so important to try treating urinary tract infections or bladder infections naturally if possible. Luckily there is a tonic that can be made at home to naturally kill the bad bacteria and prevent recurring infections. First, make sure you’re definitely dealing with a urinary tract infection and addressing the underlying causes.
What are Urinary Tract Infections?
A urinary tract infection or bladder infection occurs when bacteria – usually E. coli – crawl up the urethra and cause irritation to the urethra and bladder. For a woman the urethra is so short, it doesn’t take long for bacteria to make its way up to the bladder and kidneys. Because of this, you always want to address a potential UTI ASAP. Keep the bacteria down in the urinary tract, because the pain will be much more intense if it gets to the bladder or kidneys.
What Causes Urinary Tract Infections?
Some of the most common causes of urinary tract infections can be avoided, but there are also correlations between bladder infections and menopause and diabetes. That means, contrary to popular belief, controlling urinary tract or bladder infections is not always within a person’s control.
Lack of Hydration
If the bladder is not emptied enough, bacteria may remain in the bladder, leading to an infection
Without enough water, urine in the bladder becomes very concentrated, allowing bacteria to multiply and cause an infection
Not properly cleaning private areas before and after sex
Not washing workout gear – if it’s sweaty and gross it’s got bacteria!
Wearing a non-breathable material, thongs pushing bacteria around
The wash cycle – delicate is fine but cold water isn’t enough to kill bacteria or yeast on underwear!
Bacteria loves sugar! Sugar in the body adjusts acid levels in urine to be friendlier for E. coli
If glucose reaches levels that cannot be filtered by kidneys it leaks into the urine. Glucose in urine serves as food to the harmful bacteria and leads to their overgrowth. That’s why urinary tract or bladder infections are so common in patients with diabetes
Drops in estrogen can cause UTIs because of the loss of hydration and changes to the vagina’s pH
Studies show that estrogen helps trigger the production of body’s natural antimicrobial proteins in the bladder
Know the Signs of Urinary Tract Infections
Since urinary tract infections are so common, the symptoms are well-known. For good measure, they are:
– A burning, painful sensation when urinating
– Frequent urination
– Cloudy, red or dark urine
– Urine with a strong odor
– A feeling of unsatisfactory bladder emptying
– Pelvic pain or pressure
– Fatigue (like other infections, the immune system releases white blood cells that make you sleepy)
How to Treat a Urinary Tract Infections Naturally
When you have no doubts that you are feeling a urinary tract infection coming on, take action fast! Before going to the doctor for antibiotics, try these at-home methods.
Stay hydrated to flush out the bacteria – drink ½ your weight in ounces a day
This is the compound found in cranberry juice. It is proven can prevent E. coli from adhering to the walls of the bladder.
For treatment take 1,500 mg a day for 7 days
For chronic UTI prevention add 1 teaspoon to a drink daily
Also known as bearberry, this supplement has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties and is easy to find.
For treatment take 3 capsules every 4 hours for 7 days
Additionally, tea can be made with the leaves
Oregon Grape Root
A natural powerhouse antimicrobial, Oregon grape root, is known for it’s effect on e. coli.
For treatment take 3 capsules every 4 hours for 7 days
Goodbye UTI Tonic Recipe
Use all of the above herbs combined for a secret weapon to keep UTI’s away for good!
Ingredients: 1 tsp of each: Uva Ursi, Oregon Grape Root and D-Mannose
Directions: Bring 1 cup of water to a boil and steep herbs for 15 minutes, then add D-Mannose
Add marshmallow root for added soothing
You can make as many cups ahead of time as you like and drink them warm or cool
Drink up to 3 cups a day, especially after sex or working out
Habits to Prevent Urinary Tract Infections
The tonic works wonders, but there are many everyday lifestyle choices both men and women can make to decrease their chances of getting a urinary tract or bladder infection.
– Empty your bladder as often as possible, go as soon as you feel the need to. Don’t hold it if you don’t have to!
– Wear breathable underwear – cotton is best. Quit thongs! Or try going commando!
– Always wipe front to back, and wipe well
– Good hygiene before and after sex
– Avoid using birth control with spermicides
– Steer clear of personal hygiene products that are “anti-microbial” as they kill healthy bacteria too
– Limit sugar and alcohol – the more carbs and sugar, the more you feed bacteria and yeast living in your body
– Keep your hormones in check naturally by eating a healthy diet, exercising, and managing stress
– Keep pH in check by limiting sugar and alcohol
Make Sure it’s Really a UTI!
If you’ve read this entire article and aren’t sure if a urinary tract infection is really the issue, there’s only one way to know for sure. Go to doctor to have your urine tested for infection, especially if none of the at-home solutions work. If there’s no sign of infection, there are some culprits that have eerily similar symptoms to a UTI but require different treatments.
What could it be if it’s not a UTI?
– Yeast – can cause irritation similar to a urinary tract infection
– Bacterial Vaginosis – a common bacterial imbalance
– An STD – especially if you just had sex with a new partner
The more information you have, the better you can rule out possibilities and treat the UTI if that is in fact what you have. Remember, urinary tract infections are so common in women that over half will have one at some point and many women deal with them chronically.
When Possible, Treat a UTI Naturally
Doctors encourage a natural remedy for UTIs first because, unfortunately, there are negative side effects from antibiotics and far too many women are taking antibiotics regularly. Not only are we worried about strains of bacteria getting stronger and becoming resistant to antibiotics, taking antibiotics can irritate the gut, too. That’s why they normally come with instructions to take with food. Antibiotics don’t get along well with the stomach alone.
Thankfully, some of the most tried and true cures for urinary tract and bladder infections are the natural home remedies. Next time you feel like one might be coming on, give my Goodbye UTI tonic a try.
This blog is a summary of a podcast on this very subject! Click here to listen to my podcast!