Urinary tract infections (UTI) are fairly common today, especially among young women. In fact, it was reported that 50-60% of adult women have had UTI at least once before. Women have a much higher risk of getting UTI compared to men due to anatomical differences between the two genders – women have shorter urethras which are more prone to being colonized and infected by bacteria (especially E.coli). Apart from popping prescribed anti-biotics, how can young women deal with these minor but frustrating conditions? Here are some natural remedies which have helped many a damsel in distress around the world and could help you too.
Prevention (behavioural changes)
Prevention is better than cure. Though cliché, this age-old advice is golden and cannot be neglected. To prevent UTI, drink sufficient water and never put off going to the toilet. Dehydration and poor toilet habits are not only associated with a higher risk of UTI, but also kidney stones as well. In addition, doctors also strongly encourage young women to urinate after sexual intercourse, as this flushes out bacteria in the perineal region and prevents bacterial colonisation at the urethra.
Recent studies have found that adding the following supplements to your diet might help to reduce your risk of contracting UTI: vitamin C, garlic and cranberry juice.
It has been found that vitamin C makes urine more acidic while garlic prevents the adhesion of bacteria to urethral walls. The evidence for garlic is less well-established; studies in mice and small groups of women suggest that garlic has anti-microbial effects and can prevent recurrent infections. Generally speaking, both of these products make the urethral environment less conducive for bacterial growth, preventing UTI. Overall, it is still important to bear in mind that the findings of these studies are less than conclusive and that these supplements cannot completely prevent UTI with absolute certainty. Nevertheless, there are many other health benefits associated with these products and there is no harm in including them in your diet!
As with many other causes of abdominal discomfort, applying heat can help to relieve the pain caused by UTI. You may use a heat pack or simply fill a water bottle with warm water for this purpose.
While these home-based remedies might allow you to put up a better defence against UTI, you should still remain vigilant especially if you've contracted it before. if you experience recurrent infections or if your symptoms of UTI persists, see a doctor immediately. These might point to a more serious condition, and it would be wise to discover the truth much sooner than later.