Is It Possible To Prevent Urinary Tract Infections With Diet And Supplements
It is possible to reduce the chance that a UTI will develop with dietary methods and some supplements but prevention of all UTIs is unlikely with these methods. Supplements such as eating cranberries, taking vitamin C tablets, and eating yogurt and other substances also may reduce the chance that a UTI will develop . However, as stated in the prevention section, changes in a person’s lifestyle may reduce the chance getting a UTI as good as, if not better than, any diet or supplement.
Symptoms Of Uti In Women
Symptoms of UTI are similar in most adults. The most common symptom of a simple UTI is called dysuria, which is pain or discomfort when you pee. You might have pain, heaviness, or a cramping feeling in your lower abdomen or pelvic area.
UTI can also cause frequency and urgency. Frequency is the need to pee more often than normal. Urgency is the feeling that you need to go right now. Occasionally, UTIs can make urine cloudy, bloody, or smell bad.
If you develop other signs and symptoms in addition to the ones above, this could mean your infection has become more serious. You should seek treatment immediately. These serious symptoms include:
How Are Urinary Tract Infections Diagnosed
Your doctor will use the following tests to diagnose a urinary tract infection:
- Urinalysis: This test will examine the urine for red blood cells, white blood cells and bacteria. The number of white and red blood cells found in your urine can actually indicate an infection.
- Urine culture: A urine culture is used to determine the type of bacteria in your urine. This is an important test because it helps determine the appropriate treatment.
If your infection does not respond to treatment or if you keep getting infections over and over again, your doctor may use the following tests to examine your urinary tract for disease or injury:
- Ultrasound: In this test, sound waves create an image of the internal organs. This test is done on top of your skin, is painless and doesnt typically need any preparation.
- Cystoscopy: This test uses a special instrument fitted with a lens and a light source to see inside the bladder from the urethra.
- CT scan: Another imaging test, a CT scan is a type of X-ray that takes cross sections of the body . This test is much more precise than typical X-rays.
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Urinary Tract Infection Symptoms And Signs
Symptoms of a urinary tract infection are similar in men, women, and children.
- Early symptoms and signs are usually easy to recognize and primarily involve pain, discomfort, or burning when trying to urinate.
- Accompanying this can be the sense that one needs to urinate urgently or the need for frequent urination . Even when there is a strong urge to urinate, you may pass only a small amount of urine.
- The urine itself may appear bloody or cloudy. Men may feel pain in the rectum, while women may experience pain around the pubic bone.
What Are Possible Complications Of A Urinary Tract Infection
Most UTIs cause no complications if they spontaneously resolve quickly or if treated early in the infection with appropriate medications. However, there are a number of complications that can occur if the UTI becomes chronic or rapidly advances. Chronic infections may result in urinary strictures, abscesses, fistulas, kidney stones, and, rarely, kidney damage or bladder cancer. Rapid advancement of UTIs can lead to dehydration, kidney failure, sepsis, and death. Pregnant females with untreated UTIs may develop premature delivery and a low birth weight for the infant and run the risks of rapid advancement of the infection.
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What Are The Symptoms Of A Uti
One of the most common symptoms of a UTI is a frequent and urgent need to pee. You might feel like you need to pee all the time, even if you just went. Other UTI symptoms include:
pain or burning when you pee
bad-smelling or cloudy urine
blood or pus in your urine
soreness, pressure, or cramps in your lower belly, back, or sides
If the infection goes to your kidneys, your UTI symptoms may also include:
pain in your mid-back
Underlying Causes Of Lower Urinary Tract Symptoms
Problems retaining urine
- Overactive bladder or frequent urination
- Waking up one or more times at night to urinate
- Loss of control over urination
These lower urinary tract symptoms may be associated with the following conditions: urinary tract infection bladder cancer overactive bladder enlarged prostate narrowing of the bladder neck narrowing of the urethra or weak contraction of the bladder caused by nerve damage .
Problems emptying urine from the bladder
- Hesitating during urination
- Stopping and starting several times while voiding
- Pushing or straining to urinate
- Dribbling at the end of urination
These lower urinary tract symptoms may be a result of the following underlying conditions: urinary tract infection bladder stones bladder cancer enlarged prostate narrowing of the bladder neck narrowing of the urethra and weak contraction of the bladder caused by nerve damage .
Problems after urination
- Dribbling after urination is complete
- Feeling as if the bladder isn’t completely empty
This group of lower urinary tract symptoms can be caused by: bladder stones overactive bladder enlarged prostate narrowing of the urethra and weak contraction of the bladder caused by nerve damage .
For more information about what might be causing lower urinary tract symptoms and related conditions, check with a urologist near you.
Arianayagam M, Arianayagam R, Rashid P. . Lower urinary tract symptoms: Current management in older men. Aust Fam Phys. 40:758-767.
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Related Conditions And Causes Of Uti
There are a number of health conditions that share some symptoms with urinary tract infections, including:
The following conditions may make you more susceptible to developing a UTI and increase the severity of symptoms:
Type 2 diabetes
And having a UTI can increase a man’s risk for benign prostatic hyperplasia .
Here Are A Few Common Risk Factors Of Urinary Infection:
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Antibiotics For A Uti
The form of antibiotic used to treat a bacterial UTI usually depends on which part of the tract is involved.
Lower tract UTIs can usually be treated with oral antibiotics. Upper tract UTIs require intravenous antibiotics. These antibiotics are put directly into your veins.
Sometimes, bacteria develop resistance to antibiotics. To reduce your risk of antibiotic resistance, your doctor will likely put you on the shortest treatment course possible. Treatment typically lasts no more than 1 week.
Results from your urine culture can help your doctor select an antibiotic treatment that will work best against the type of bacteria thats causing your infection.
Treatments other than antibiotics for bacterial UTIs are being examined. At some point, UTI treatment without antibiotics may be an option for bacterial UTIs by using cell chemistry to change the interaction between the body and the bacteria.
There are no home remedies that can cure a UTI, but there are some things that you can do that can help your medication work better.
These home remedies for UTIs, like drinking more water, may help your body clear the infection faster.
When To See A Healthcare Provider
If you develop signs of a kidney infection, including flank pain, nausea, or vomiting, you need to see a healthcare provider immediately.
If you are pregnant, you should never take a chance with UTIs, especially if you have diabetes, HIV, or have had previous infections. Even mild symptoms should be looked at, treated, and monitored to ensure that the infection is fully cleared.
Without exception, any symptoms of suggestive of sepsis should be treated as a medical emergency. This is especially true in babies or the elderly.
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Urinary Tract Infection Diet
There is no specific diet that will treat a UTI, but there are certain foods you can add to your diet to reduce the risk of UTIs.
Berries are full of antioxidants and ideal for keeping bacteria at bay. Cranberries are known to help with UTIs, but other berries like blueberries are also beneficial. You also want to eat plenty of yogurt because its beneficial probiotics prevent bacteria from living in your urinary tract.
In addition to this, there are certain things to avoid when you want to prevent UTIs. If you have a UTI, you need to avoid caffeine and alcohol until the infection is cleared because these drinks can irritate your bladder. You also want to avoid acidic and spicy foods during an infection.
Citrus fruit after an infection is great for preventing future problems because of the high vitamin C content.
Can Urinary Tract Infections Be Prevented Or Avoided
There are many lifestyle choices that can help you prevent UTIs. These are some of the things you can do to protect yourself from them:
- Drink plenty of water to flush out bacteria. For some people, drinking cranberry juice may also help prevent urinary tract infections. However, if youre taking warfarin, check with your doctor before using cranberry juice to prevent urinary tract infections. Your doctor may need to adjust your warfarin dose or you may need to have more frequent blood tests.
- Dont hold your urine. Urinate when you feel like you need to. Some children dont go to the bathroom often enough. If your child does this, teach him or her to go to the bathroom several times each day.
- Wipe from front to back after bowel movements. Teach your child to wipe correctly.
- Urinate after having sex to help wash away bacteria.
- Use enough lubrication during sex. Try using a small amount of lubricant before sex if youre a little dry.
- If you get urinary tract infections often, you may want to avoid using a diaphragm as a birth control method. Ask your doctor about other birth control choices.
- Avoid taking or giving your child bubble baths.
- Wear loose-fitting clothing , and dress your child in loose-fitting clothing.
- If you are uncircumcised, wash the foreskin regularly. If you have an uncircumcised boy, teach him how to wash his foreskin.
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How To Prevent Uti Re
Following some tips can help you avoid getting another UTI:
- Empty your bladder often as soon as you feel the need to pee don’t rush, and be sure you’ve emptied your bladder completely.
- Wipe from front to back after you use the toilet.
- Drink lots of water.
- Choose showers over baths.
- Stay away from feminine hygiene sprays, scented douches, and scented bath products they’ll only increase irritation.
- Cleanse your genital area before sex.
- Pee after sex to flush out any bacteria that may have entered your urethra.
- If you use a diaphragm, unlubricated condoms, or spermicidal jelly for birth control, you may want to switch to another method. Diaphragms can increase bacteria growth, while unlubricated condoms and spermicides can irritate your urinary tract. All can make UTI symptoms more likely.
- Keep your genital area dry by wearing cotton underwear and loose-fitting clothes. DonÃ¢â¬â¢t wear tight jeans and nylon underwear they can trap moisture, creating the perfect environment for bacteria growth.
Symptoms In Unborn Children
Obstructive uropathy can be a problem in an unborn fetus. One of the signs of obstruction in an unborn baby is a level of amniotic fluids in the womb thats lower than normal. Urine is one of the components of amniotic fluid. A fetus with obstructive uropathy is unable to urinate outside their body. This leads to a drop in amniotic fluid volume, which can lead to fetal or birthing complications.
Removing the obstruction from blocked ureters is the main goal of treatment.
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What Kinds Of Doctors Treat Urinary Tract Infections
Most urinary tract infections can be treated by your primary care doctor or your child’s pediatrician. They are usually the best provider to treat you as they are most familiar with your medical history, medications you are taking, and other factors that might affect your treatment. If you seek treatment in an urgent care facility, a specialist in emergency medicine may be involved in your care.
If there are frequent reoccurrences of UTIs or if complicating circumstances are present, your primary care doctor might refer you to a urologist, a physician who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of conditions related to the urinary system.
Favorite Organizations For Essential Uti Info
We love the patient-friendly foundation page of the American Urological Association website. Here, youll find lots of support and educational resources for those with urological issues. Our favorite part is that all your must-know info can come straight to your mailbox: UCF offers free subscriptions to its UrologyHealth Extra magazine.
This no-nonsense clearinghouse is run by the National Institutes of Health, and provides gobs of information on urinary tract infections from the National Library of Medicine. We especially like that you can easily find the latest published research on UTIs and that theres a quick link to current clinical trials for those who are interested.
The CDC is a trusted go-to source for the writers and editors of Everyday Health, thanks to their commitment to science-based research and reporting. What makes the CDC a particularly helpful resource for urinary tract infection information is the fact that their antibiotics and treatment guidelines for UTIs are always up-to-date.
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Common Questions & Answers
UTI symptoms can be uncomfortable or painful. They include the following:
- A strong urge to urinate
- Pain or burning during urination
- Passing small amounts of urine
- Cloudy, strong-smelling, red or pink urine
- Mucus or discharge
- Fever, shaking, chills, or pain in the upper back, side, or groin
When To See A Professional
If you are experiencing the early signs of a UTI, see a doctor as soon as possible. Putting off a visit to the doctor if you have symptoms of a UTI will not only prolong your discomfort, but could also lead to complications. If detected early, a UTI is usually easy to treat and has no lasting effect on your urinary tract. However, if left untreated, a UTI can also affect your bladder and kidneys.
To help rid yourself of a painful UTI, contact the Urology Specialists of the Carolinas today for an appointment. A simple examination and urine or blood test could save you a lot of trouble in the long run. With a proper diagnosis and treatment plan, you will be on the road to recovery in no time.
In addition to seeing a professional, your nutrition and lifestyle play a huge role in a happy and healthy urinary tract system. Download our Nutrition and Lifestyle Guide to learn our top tips and tricks for maintaining and achieving optimal urology health.
This content was originally published in February 2015 and was refreshed in December 2020.
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How To Feel Better
If your healthcare professional prescribes you antibiotics:
- Take antibiotics exactly as your healthcare professional tells you.
- Do not share your antibiotics with others.
- Do not save antibiotics for later. Talk to your healthcare professional about safely discarding leftover antibiotics.
Drink plenty of water or other fluids. Your healthcare professional might also recommend medicine to help lessen the pain or discomfort. Talk with your healthcare professional if you have any questions about your antibiotics.
Questions To Ask Your Doctor
- Do I need any tests, such as urinalysis?
- What is the likely cause of my urinary tract infection ?
- Do I need medicine? How should I take it?
- What are the possible side effects of the medicine?
- When should I expect relief from my symptoms?
- What symptoms would indicate that my infection is getting worse? What should I do if I experience these symptoms?
- I get UTIs a lot. What can I do to prevent them?
- Do I need preventive antibiotics? If so, should I be concerned about antibiotic resistance?
- My child gets UTIs a lot. Could an anatomical problem be causing his or her UTIs?
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