Preventing Urinary Tract Infections
There are many natural cures for urinary tract infections, but the best way to deal with a UTI is by preventing it from happening in the first place. UTIs are often preventable simply by making certain lifestyle changes:
- Wear loose clothing, such as loose pants, skirts, dresses, and cotton underwear. Since bacterium grows in moisture, tight clothing or clothing which restricts the flow of air can create the perfect breeding ground for bacteria.
- Drink plenty of water. Its good for you and helps flush bacteria from your system.
- Wipe from front to back, to stop bacteria from spreading.
- After sexual intercourse, urinate to clear out any bacteria.
If you are suffering from recurrent urinary tract infections, then there is likely something which is causing them to keep occurring. Constant medical visits and use of antibiotics may not be the answer. Simple lifestyle changes can help you stop this annoying reoccurrence. Drinking plenty of water, using natural remedies, and using proper hygiene practices can help keep UTIs away for good.
Symptoms Of Urinary Tract Infections
How do you know if you have a UTI? Well, sometimes there are actually no symptoms at all and other times you will experience some pretty noticeable signs.
The most common symptoms associated with UTIs are:
- Strong, persistent need to urinate
- Burning sensation when urinating
- Urine with a strong odor
- Urinating small amounts frequently
- Pain in the pelvic area, particularly for women
If the infection has made it to your kidneys, you might have one or more of these symptoms:
- Pain located below the ribs in your back or side
If you think you have a UTI, especially if you think that its become a kidney infection, its important to see your doctor. They can rule out the cause and prescribe you antibacterial or antibiotic drugs to kill off the bacteria.
About Urinary Tract Infections
Urinary tract infections are common infections that can affect the bladder, the kidneys and the tubes connected to them.
Anyone can get them, but they’re particularly common in women. Some women experience them regularly .
UTIs can be painful and uncomfortable, but usually pass within a few days and can be easily treated with antibiotics.
This page is about UTIs in adults. There is a separate article about UTIs in children.
This page covers:
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Uti Treatment For Men
Once it is confirmed that you have a UTI, you will need to focus on maintenance next. Maintaining a clean and healthy urinary tract is key to getting rid of the infection. And lowering the risk of getting one in the future.
Here are some easy proactive steps you can practice to get on the right track:
Dont Hold It Never ever hold in urine for long periods of time it will increase your risk of developing an infection or make it worse if youre currently experiencing one.
Drink Plenty of Water Make sure you drink at least 8-10 glasses of water every day. Staying hydrated will flush out the bad bacteria and toxins from your body, keeping your urinary tract clean.
Practice Safe Intercourse Having anal sex or unprotected sex with a partner who has a urinary tract infection significantly increases the risk of a UTI in both men and women.
Use Incontinence Products for Men If you have male incontinence and you wear a diaper to handle it, it can also lead to infections. Older adults wearing a diaper are particularly susceptible to UTIs since their diapers hold urine close to the urethra.
Uti Treatment Without Antibiotics Is It Possible
In some cases, it is possible to treat urinary tract infections without the use of antibiotics. However, natural home remedies to treat UTIs must be used at the first sign of an infection to prevent the infection from developing.
According to OB/GYN Dr. Nivin Todd, the majority of UTIs are easy to treat and rarely produce complications. However, if the infection becomes more serious or has other complications, a course of antibiotics may be needed. This could happen if you have recurring UTIs, suffer from diabetes or have some kind of kidney damage.5
Also, treatments for women who are pregnant usually include antibiotics to prevent long-term health risks.
Because of the increase in resistance to antibiotics, many doctors recommend preventative measures to treat UTIs. For example, the journal Open Forum Infectious Diseases published a study on how to lower the need for antibiotics when treating UTIs. It was found that women who increased daily fluid intake by 1.5 L had a 50% lower risk of developing another UTI.6
A report published in the journal Current Infectious Disease Reports found that treating uncomplicated UTIs without antibiotics is often the best course.
Increasing your fluid intake, using the bathroom regularly, and taking probiotics can all help to treat simple UTIs without antibiotics.
Researchers recommended that antibiotics should only be used if the urinary infection doesnt clear up within 3 days.7
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Soothe Uti Pain With Heat
Inflammation and irritation from UTIs cause burning, pressure, and pain around your pubic area, says Kandis Rivers, MD, a urologist in the Henry Ford Health System in Wast Bloomfield, Michigan. Applying a heating pad can help soothe the area. Keep the heat setting low, dont apply it directly to the skin, and limit your use to 15 minutes at a time to avoid burns.
Key Points About Urinary Tract Infections
- Urinary tract infections are a common health problem that affects millions of people each year. These infections can affect any part of the urinary tract.
- Most UTIs are caused by E. coli bacteria, which normally live in the colon.
- The most common symptoms of UTIs include changes in urination such as frequency, pain, or burning urine looks dark, cloudy, or red and smells bad back or side pain nausea/vomiting and fever.
- Antibiotics are used to treat UTIs. Other treatments may include pain relievers, and drinking plenty of water to help wash bacteria out of the urinary tract.
- Other things that can be done may help reduce the likelihood of developing UTIs.
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Who Gets Urinary Tract Infections
Anyone can get a urinary tract infection, but they are more common in women. This is because the urethra in females is shorter and closer to the anus, where E. coli bacteria are common. Older adults also are at higher risk for developing cystitis. This increased risk may be due to incomplete emptying of the bladder. There are several medical conditions that can be related to this, including an enlarged prostate or a bladder prolapse .
If you get frequent urinary tract infections, your healthcare provider may do tests to check for other health problems such as diabetes or an abnormal urinary systemthat may be contributing to your infections. People with frequent UTIs are occasionally given low-dose antibiotics for a period of time to prevent the infection from coming back. This cautious approach to treating frequent UTIs is because your body can develop a resistance to the antibiotic and you can get other types of infections, such as C. diff colitis. This practice is used very infrequently.
What Causes Urinary Tract Infections
Normal urine is sterile and contains fluids, salts, and waste products. It does not contain bacteria, viruses, or fungi. A UTI occurs when germs, most often bacteria from the digestive tract, get into the opening of the urethra and start to multiply.
Most UTIs are caused by E. coli bacteria, which normally live in the colon.
Urinary Tract Infections: Causes And Treatment Strategies
Ariston was so confused that why does he feel such discomfort while peeing. He also noticed that lately while urinating he could smell a very unpleasant foul smell and his urine seemed to be darker orangish red than usual and this was the first time it happened.
He was scared and felt uncomfortable going to the doctor directly. So he decided to search his symptoms online until he got very sure that this could be a urinary tract infection.
What Happens When A Uti Goes Untreated
Thanks to early diagnosis and proper treatment, the vast majority of lower urinary tract infections result in no complications. However, if left untreated, a UTI can have serious ramifications notes the Mayo Clinic, including:
- Recurrent UTIs
- Premature birth and low birth weight
- Kidney damage, which can occur is an untreated UTI spreads from the bladder to the kidneys.
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What Are The Symptoms Of A Urinary Tract Infection
These are the most common symptoms of a UTI:
- Frequent urination
- Pain or burning when passing urine
- Urine looks dark, cloudy, or reddish in color
- Urine smells bad
- Feeling pain even when not urinating
- Pain in the back or side, below the ribs
- Nausea and/or vomiting
- Despite an strong urge to urinate, only a small amount of urine is passed
- Women may feel an uncomfortable pressure above the pubic bone
The symptoms of UTI may look like other conditions or medical problems. Always see a health care provider for a diagnosis.
Check If It’s A Urinary Tract Infection
Symptoms of a UTI may include:
- pain or a burning sensation when peeing
- needing to pee more often than usual during the night
- pee that looks cloudy
- needing to pee suddenly or more urgently than usual
- needing to pee more often than usual
- lower tummy pain or pain in your back, just under the ribs
- a high temperature, or feeling hot and shivery
- a very low temperature below 36C
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A Note About Cranberry Juice And Utis
Cranberry juice or cranberry extract in supplemental form has long been used as a home remedy for UTIs.
The thought is that the proanthocyanidins in cranberries may help prevent bladder infections by keeping the bacteria from clinging to the bladder wall, says Sonya Angelone, MS, RDN, a nutrition consultant based in San Francisco, and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
Yet theres scientific controversy over how effective cranberry juice is at preventing UTIs due to conflicting conclusions in studies on the topic, according to an article published in May 2016 in Advances in Nutrition. Some studies have found it might work, while others have found no effect.
Bottom line, there is some evidence it may help, and it doesnt hurt to try it, says Angelone. Just be sure to chose unsweetened cranberry juice . Mix this with sparkling water or plain yogurt, she recommends.
Another low-calorie option choose a cranberry pill that contains d-mannose, she says.
See A Healthcare Provider
While UTIs arent usually a cause for major concern, if you dont get them treated, they can lead to more serious problems like a kidney infection. If you have a UTI, make an appointment with a healthcare provider as soon as possible. The fastest way to feel better is by taking an antibiotic to kill the bacteria causing your infection.
If going to see a provider in-person is not an option , there are plenty of telehealth services available that will allow you to set up a virtual appointment. Check out GoodRx Care for treatment of UTIs as well as many other medical conditions.
During your appointment, your provider will ask you questions about what symptoms you are experiencing and if you are prone to UTIs. You might be asked to provide a urine sample either in the office you are seen in or at a lab close to you. Lastly, your provider will prescribe you a course of antibiotics to get started on right away.
Some common antibiotics used for treating UTIs include nitrofurantoin , sulfamethoxazole/trimethoprim , and ciprofloxacin . Typically, you only need to take them for 3 to 5 days, and most people start to feel relief within the first 2 to 3 days. Antibiotics can cause nausea, stomach upset, and diarrhea for many people. But, taking your dose with food can help lessen nausea and stomach upset, and taking a probiotic supplement like L. acidophilus can help with the diarrhea.
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Other Ways To Prevent Recurring Utis
If you have more than 3 UTIs in 1 year, or 2 UTIs in 6 months, there are other things that may help prevent UTIs.
There is some evidence that women under 65 years old who keep getting UTIs may find it helpful to take:
- a supplement called D-mannose this is not recommended for pregnant women
- cranberry products, such as juice or tablets
Speak to your doctor before taking any of these during pregnancy.
Be aware that D-mannose and cranberry products can contain a lot of sugar.
Page last reviewed: 18 November 2020 Next review due: 18 November 2023
Wipe From Front To Back
According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases , UTIs can develop when bacteria from the rectum or feces gain access to the urethra. This small channel allows urine to flow out of the body.
Once bacteria are in the urethra, they can travel up into other urinary tract organs, where they can lead to infections.
After urinating, wipe in a way that prevents bacteria from coming into contact with the genitals. Use separate pieces of toilet paper to wipe the genitals and anus.
Can I Become Immune To The Antibiotics Used To Treat A Uti
Your body can actually get used to the antibiotics typically used to treat a urinary tract infection . This happens in people who have very frequent infections. With each UTI and use of antibiotics to treat it, the infection adapts and becomes harder to fight. This is called an antibiotic-resistant infection. Because of this, your healthcare provider may suggest alternative treatments if you have frequent UTIs. These could include:
- Waiting: Your provider may suggest that you watch your symptoms and wait. During this time, you may be encouraged to drink plenty of fluids in an effort to flush out your system.
- Intravenous treatment: In some very complicated cases, where the UTI is resistant to antibiotics or the infection has moved to your kidneys, you may need to be treated in the hospital. The medicine will be given to you directly in your vein . Once youre home, you will be prescribed antibiotics for a period of time to fully get rid of the infection.
How Do You Treat A Urinary Tract Infection
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Preventing Future Urinary Tract Infections
BATHING AND HYGIENE
To prevent future urinary tract infections, you should:
- Choose sanitary pads instead of tampons, which some doctors believe make infections more likely. Change your pad each time you use the bathroom.
- Do not douche or use feminine hygiene sprays or powders. As a general rule, do not use any product containing perfumes in the genital area.
- Take showers instead of baths. Avoid bath oils.
- Keep your genital area clean. Clean your genital and anal areas before and after sexual activity.
- Urinate before and after sexual activity. Drinking 2 glasses of water after sexual activity may help promote urination.
- Wipe from front to back after using the bathroom.
- Avoid tight-fitting pants. Wear cotton-cloth underwear and pantyhose, and change both at least once a day.
The following improvements to your diet may prevent future urinary tract infections:
- Drink plenty of fluids, 2 to 4 quarts each day.
- Do not drink fluids that irritate the bladder, such as alcohol and caffeine.
Some women have repeated bladder infections. Your provider may suggest that you:
- Use vaginal estrogen cream if you have dryness caused by menopause.
- Take a single dose of an antibiotic after sexual contact.
- Take a cranberry supplement pill after sexual contact.
- Have a 3-day course of antibiotics at home to use if you develop an infection.
- Take a single, daily dose of an antibiotic to prevent infections.
What Causes A Urinary Tract Infection
Urinary tract infections are caused by microorganisms usually bacteria that enter the urethra and bladder, causing inflammation and infection. Though a UTI most commonly happens in the urethra and bladder, bacteria can also travel up the ureters and infect your kidneys.
More than 90% of bladder infection cases are caused by E. coli, a bacterium normally found in the intestines.
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What Is A Urinary Tract Infection
UTIs are common infections that happen when bacteria, often from the skin or rectum, enter the urethra, and infect the urinary tract. The infections can affect several parts of the urinary tract, but the most common type is a bladder infection .
Kidney infection is another type of UTI. Theyre less common, but more serious than bladder infections.
Can You Treat A Uti Without Antibiotics
Antibiotics are an effective treatment for UTIs. However, the body can often resolve minor, uncomplicated UTIs on its own without the help of antibiotics.
Complicated UTIs will require medical treatment. These UTIs involve one or more of the following factors:
More severe risks of using antibiotics include:
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