Understanding UTIs and herbal remedies
Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are a common type of infection that can affect both men and women, although they are more prevalent in women. A UTI occurs when bacteria enter the urinary tract, typically through the urethra, and begin to multiply in the bladder or other parts of the urinary system. This can cause discomfort and pain, and if left untreated, UTIs can lead to more severe complications.
Symptoms of UTIs
The symptoms of a UTI can vary depending on which part of the urinary tract is affected, but common symptoms include:
- A strong, persistent urge to urinate
- A burning sensation when urinating
- Passing frequent, small amounts of urine
- Cloudy, dark, bloody, or strong-smelling urine
- Pain or pressure in the lower abdomen or back
- Feeling tired or shaky
- Feeling uncomfortable or full in the bladder area, even after urinating
- Pain or discomfort during sexual intercourse
General Advice for Dealing with UTIs
If you suspect that you may have a UTI, it is important to seek medical advice from a healthcare professional, such as a doctor or a pharmacist. They can provide an accurate diagnosis and prescribe appropriate antibiotics to treat the infection.
In the meantime, there are some general steps you can take to help manage the symptoms and prevent the infection from worsening:
Stay hydrated: Drinking plenty of water can help flush out bacteria from the urinary tract and may help alleviate some of the discomfort associated with UTIs.
Urinate regularly: Avoid holding in urine for long periods of time, as this can allow bacteria to multiply in the urinary tract.
Avoid irritants: Avoid using harsh soaps, bubble baths, and feminine hygiene products that may irritate the urethra and worsen UTI symptoms.
Wear breathable underwear: Choose cotton underwear and avoid tight-fitting pants to allow air circulation and reduce moisture around the urethra, which can create a favorable environment for bacteria.
Practice good hygiene: Wipe from front to back after using the toilet to prevent bacteria from the anal area spreading to the urethra.
Avoid caffeine, alcohol, and spicy foods: These can irritate the bladder and worsen UTI symptoms.
Take pain relief: Over-the-counter pain relievers such as paracetamol or ibuprofen can help to alleviate pain and discomfort.
Are cranberries effective in treating UTIs?
Cranberries contain compounds called proanthocyanidins (PACs) and D-Mannose, which are believed to help flush out the out the urinary tract and to prevent bacteria from adhering to the walls of the urinary tract.
However, it's important to keep in mind that cranberries, particularly commercially available cranberry products like juice and dried cranberries, can be high in added sugars. High sugar intake can potentially affect overall health and weaken the immune system, making it harder for the body to fight off infections, including UTIs. For those considering cranberries for a UTI, we would advise looking for a supplement containing PAC or D-Mannose.
Are there any herbal remedies for UTIs?
There are a number of herbs that may be useful for those experiencing recurrent UTIs:
Marshmallow leaf/root: Marshmallow is a diuretic, which may helps in flushing out bacteria. It can be taken as a tincture or in teas.
Uva-ursi, bearberry leaf, is a mild diuretic with antiseptic and antimicrobial actions that discourage bacterial growth and helps strengthen the tissues of the urinary tract making them less prone to infection. It can be taken as a tincture or in teas.
Corn silk is a natural diuretic that calms inflammation in the bladder and urethra. It can be taken as a tincture or in teas.
Recommended for getting started:
|Napiers Marshmallow Syrup
|Napiers Bearberry Leaf
|Napiers Cornsilk Tincture