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A urinary tract infection (UTI) is usually bacterial infection in any part of your urinary system — your kidneys, ureters, bladder and urethra. Most infections involve the lower urinary tract — the bladder and the urethra.
UTI is the key reason women are often told to wipe from front to back after using the bathroom. That's because the urethra- that tube that transports urine from the bladder to the outside of the body is located close to the anus. Bacteria from the large intestine, such as E. coli, are in the perfect position to escape the an*s and invade the urethra. From there, they travel up to the bladder, and if the infection isn't treated, it proceed to infect the kidneys. Women may be especially prone to UTIs because they have shorter urethra, which allow bacteria quick access to the bladder. Unprotected s*x with an infected person is usually the major cause in men.
The pain associated with UTI brings a whole lots of discomfort and most medical practitioners advise the use of antibiotics. However, taking an antibiotic isn’t the only way to get over symptoms of a urinary tract infection.
In fact, some remedies don’t require a prescription — and they can be done right at home in addition to any treatment your doctor has recommended.
Below is a list of seven viable home remedies which have been proven to be effective and less costly in treating and preventing the symptoms of UTI
1. Get Your Fill of Water
One of the first things to do when you have a urinary tract infection is drink plenty of water. That’s 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 (NIDDK), which puts you on the right track for recovery.
2. Load Up on Vitamin C for a Healthy Urinary Tract
Getting plenty of foods high in vitamin C is important, because large amounts of vitamin C make urine more acidic. This inhibits the growth of bacteria in your urinary tract, according to the Johns Hopkins Medicine health library. If you have an active UTI, taking vitamin C supplements may help, too, advises Kandis Rivers, MD, a urologist at Henry Ford Health System in West Bloomfield, Michigan.
3. Soothe UTI Pain With Heat
Inflammation and irritation from UTIs cause burning, pressure, and pain around your pubic area, Dr. Rivers says. Applying a heating pad can help soothe the area. Keep the heat setting low, don’t apply it directly to the skin, and limit your use to 15 minutes at a time to avoid burns.
4. Cut Bladder Irritants From Your Diet
When you have a UTI, caffeine, alcohol, spicy food, nicotine, carbonated drinks, and artificial sweeteners can irritate your bladder further, making it harder for your body to heal. Focus on healthy foods, such as high-fiber carbohydrates, which are good for your digestive health, says Dr. Lucille.
5. Go Ahead, Empty Your Bladder Again
Every time you empty your bladder — even if it’s just a small amount — you rid it of some of the bacteria causing the infection, according to the NIDDK. So keep making those bathroom runs, advises Rivers.
6. Consider Herbal Remedies
You may find some relief from taking the herb uva ursi (bearberry leaf), which is used as a treatment for lower urinary tract infections. But Rivers cautions that it should be taken only for short periods of time — five days or less — as it could cause liver damage. In addition, the herb goldenseal may be used as a remedy for UTIs, according to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. It's smart to tell your doctor about this and any other medications or herbs you’re taking, because side effects or drug interactions can sometimes be serious.
7. Change to Healthier Habits
Lifestyle changes matter because they can help you recover from a UTI and might prevent another infection.To lower your risk of getting a urinary tract infection, pee within 30 minutes of having sex, says Lisa N. Hawes, MD, a general urologist in Fulton, Maryland, and a physician spokesperson for the American Urological Association. And ignore the often-shared advice that both partners should wash their genitals immediately before and after sex. "This actually changes bacterial flora and will increase UTI risks," Hawes says.
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