Just the name sounds painful—urinary tract infection. If you have ever experienced one of these, then you may be all too familiar with burning or painful urination, strong, frequent urges to urinate, discomfort in the lower abdomen, back pains, fever/chills, nausea/vomiting, or discoloured urine. You have nothing to be ashamed of, as it turns out that urinary tract infections are one of the most common ailments experienced by adults, especially women.
What is a Urinary Tract
A urinary tract infection (UTI) is an infection in any part of your urinary system, namely your kidneys, ureters, bladder, and urethra, usually caused by bacteria entering the urethra, multiplying and travelling upwards into the bladder and further (and more dangerously) towards the ureters and kidneys. UTI’s most commonly occur in women because of their anatomy, however, men can also develop UTI’s, especially in instances where the prostate gland may be enlarged. A UTI must never be left untreated, as it can lead to long-term damage to the kidneys and worse if the bacteria are allowed to enter into the bloodstream.
The standard treatment for a UTI usually involves a course of antibiotics that should clear up the infection within a few short days. However, there are methods that you can apply at home to clear the infection naturally, or at least help you to put up a good fight until you can see your doctor.
How to Treat a UTI Naturally
Slippery elm, from the bark of the elm tree, has been used for many years because of its soothing properties. Its powdered form when mixed with water can soothe the lining of the gut and urinary tract, aiding the process of its recovery from irritation or inflammation. Therefore, it may help to alleviate the painful, irritating symptoms. As a mild diuretic, slippery elm also helps to increase the flow of urine and eliminate the build-up of bacteria from the urinary tract. To use slippery elm, mix the powder into warm water until slimy. Drink this on an empty stomach three to four times daily until you get relief.
Thyme tea is a powerful player in the fight against UTI’s. As a natural antibiotic, thyme has proven itself to be essential for maintaining urinary tract health and balancing the flora of good bacteria in the urinary tract. To make this tea, add one teaspoon of dried thyme leaves, or a few fresh thyme leaves to hot water and let steep for 15-20 minutes. Drink this tea throughout the day and night until you get relief. It is a good idea to drink this tea in combination with the slippery elm for maximum relief.
Snacking on dried cranberries or sipping on cranberry juice may not be able to relieve a current infection of the urinary tract, but it can surely help as a preventative measure against it. Cranberries possess active ingredients that prevent bacteria from adhering to the walls of the urinary tract and combined with drinking lots of water can help to flush harmful bacteria out of the urinary tract and prevent their harmful multiplication.
Avoid Irritating Foods
There is a strong connection between the gut and the urinary tract, namely, the stomach and the bladder. The foods that irritate the stomach will irritate the bladder also, and the foods that soothe the stomach will also soothe the bladder. Be sure to avoid foods that are rich in caffeine, including coffee, chocolate, and caffeinated teas; spicy food; and dairy. Increase your consumption of soothing foods such as oats, probiotics including yogurt, kombucha, and probiotic supplements; ochro/okra; ginger and turmeric.
Drink a lot of water and urinate often
This may go without saying, but to help your body to flush out harmful bacteria from your urinary tract, you must drink a lot of water throughout the day and urinate as often as possible. Try your best to not hold your urine back unnecessarily, but to eliminate the build-up of bacteria; although inconvenient, you must go to the bathroom.
UTI’s may be dreadful, but there is hope when you act quickly. I hope that these remedies help you along your path to better health.