Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs) often plague both men and women.
They are almost exclusively caused by bacteria — the most common etiological agent has been identified as Escherichia coli (E. Coli), but other Enterobacteriaceae are also known causes of the infection — that travel to the bladder through the urethra. The bacteria then clings to the urethra’s opening and multiplies.
Occasionally, the infection causing bacteria will travel from the bladder to the kidneys (Pyelonephritis), but this is a rare occurrence.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it is estimated that — in the U.S. — “UTIs account for about 4 million ambulatory-care visits each year, representing about 1% of all outpatient visits.” And sadly, current healthcare trends demonstrate an increased resistance to antibiotics among E. coli and other Enterobacteriacae caused infections.
Needless-to-say, identifying natural methods for prevention and treatment of a UTI can be an empowering knowledge-set for anyone suffering from chronic infections.
Urinary Tract Infection Symptoms
Common Routes of Transmission :: Usually through fecal contamination of the urinary tract.
Highest Risk Groups :: General population, but sexually active women are at highest risk for disease.
Range of Signs and Symptoms ::
- difficult and burning urination
- urge to urinate more often
- abdominal or back pain
- low energy
- sometimes fever
- foul-smelling urine
- possible blood in urine
UTIs can be dangerous, so be mindful and begin treatment as soon as symptoms are noticed.
Natural Treatment of a UTI
This type of infection is generally easy to treat with natural remedies at home. In fact, using natural methods to treat a urinary tract infection at the first sign of symptoms may help prevent a more serious infection from setting in.
The first step is to confirm the presence of a bladder infection. FDA-approved home testing kits are available for purchase online or check with your local pharmacy (the pharmacist may have to order them, but they are available OTC). Note: The following approved home test kits are available for purchase online Multistix Generic Urine Test Strips 10SG, Chemstrip 2 Ln Urinalysis Test Strips, and Siemens MultiStix 2161 10SG Reagent Strip for Urinalysis. All of these test for the presence of leukocytes (white blood cells) which tells us there is an infection.
If you follow even just a few of the following suggestions, the infection should be cleared up in a day or two. However, if it persists for longer than 5-7 days…go see your advanced medical professional.
Diet. Eat lots of raw foods that are known to aid the body in clearing up UTIs. Foods such as garlic, watermelon, radishes, onions, celery, parsley, and ginger root. Be sure to include fermented versions of these foods (whenever possible) to up the medicinal value and healing power. Oh…and yogurt too (the plain, whole fat, no flavor/sugar kind)…eat lots of it. And avoid alcohol, caffeine, refined, processed, and sugary foods.
Rest. Remember, your body is fighting an infection and is more sensitive to added stressors at this time. It’s trying to tell you to SLOW DOWN.
Water. Water is most commonly included in natural treatment regimes for almost any illness, but drinking adequate amounts of water (at least one 8-ounce glass every hour) is extremely important when you are suffering from urinary tract infections. It allows the body to flush bacteria out of the urinary tract. You may be tempted to drink less since urination can be painful with a UTI, but keep it up…you will more than likely notice a reduction in symptoms more quickly than if you did not. Note: For added benefit, include the juice of one or a couple of lemons and a dropperful of Uva-ursi tincture (extract) to every quart of water.
Cranberry Juice. Most of us are familiar with the recommendation of cranberry juice for the treatment of a UTI. Drinking 4 glasses of the juice daily provides the body with a substance that actually prevents bacteria from adhering to the kidneys and urethra and is one of the best remedies for this type of infection. Pure, unsweetened cranberry juice is recommended, as concentrated juice blends contain too much sugar and not enough cranberry to be effective. Note: Look for a brand such as this one at your local health food store.
Vitamin & Mineral Supplements. The following vitamins assist the body in fighting infection through either an antibacterial effect, acidification of the urine, reducing bladder irritability, and/or tissue repair. Prescription for Nutritional Healing, Fifth Edition: A Practical A-to-Z Reference to Drug-Free Remedies Using Vitamins, Minerals, Herbs & Food Supplements recommends the following:
Vitamin C: 4,000-5,000 mg daily, in divided doses
Acidophilus: As directed on label. Take on an empty stomach.
Calcium: 1,500 mg daily
Magnesium: 750-1,000 mg daily
Vitamin B complex: 50-100 mg of each major B vitamin twice daily, with meals
Vitamin E: 200 IU daily
Zinc: 50 mg daily. Do not exceed a total of 100 mg daily from all supplements.
Herbs for Urinary System Health. Taking herbs can work to cleanse, nourish, and heal the urinary system. To specifically fight the infection caused by E. coli, you can use the following herbs:
- dandelion leaves and roots
- goldenseal root
- Uva ursi
- marshmallow root
- corn silk
- nettle leaf
- rose hips
- Echinacea root
- burdock root
Here’s my tried and true recipe for Urinary Herbal Capsules. This synergistic blend of herbs — especially designed for the urinary system — will bring overall health to the kidneys and bladder. These plants have historically been used to initiate a diuretic effect, inhibit bacterial growth, and reduce bladder spasms.
Urinary Herbal Capsules
-The Capsule Machine (optional)
-”00″ gelatin or vegetable capsules
- 2 parts Uva ursi powder
- 2 parts parsley root powder
- 1 part marshmallow root powder
- 1 part corn silk powder
- 1/2 part goldenseal root powder
*Parts are to be measured by volume not weight.
- In a non-reactive bowl, mix all of the herbal powders together until well combined.
- With the use of The Capsule Machine, fill as many capsules as you think you, your family, and/or your friends will use within a 6-12 month period. Note: Don’t have a Capsule Machine? It’s okay…simply scoop the powder into each piece of the capsule and pack it tight prior to recapping the ends.
- Store the capsules in a small glass mason jar and place the lid on. Keep in a cool, dark, dry place. These capsules should stay fresh for 6-12 months.
Please Note :: Not for children, adult use only. Do not take these capsules if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. These herbs should not be combined with other medications so be sure to consult with your advanced medical professional prior to consumption of this or any other supplement. Goldenseal should not be taken internally on a daily basis for more than 7 days at a time.
To use for acute infections: Take 2-3 caps twice daily for up to 7 days or until infection clears. Monitor presence of infection (leukocytes) with FDA-approved home testing kits.
Where Can I Get This Stuff?
–Starwest Botanicals…they have everything you’ll need by way of Bulk Herbs, Capsule-Making Supplies, and Natural Products for Healthy, Natural Living! It’s your one-stop-shop!
–Mountain Rose Herbs & The Bulk Herb Store also carries many of these ingredients if you’d like to price check.
Ever had a UTI? What worked for you to get rid of it?