It is a known statistic that about half of the world’s female populace shall contract a UTI also known as Urinary Tract infection at least once in their life span. This rather alarming statistic alone should be enough to trigger your ‘prevention is better than cure’ alarms and send them buzzing in overdrive.
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Caused due to bacterial invasion through the urethra, Urinary Tract Infections can worsen when the bacteria start to multiply inside the host, leaving them susceptible to full-blown infections in any part of the urinary system- from the urethra to the bladder, and ureters to even, the kidneys. Urinary tract infections are known to be more common in womenfolk as they have a shorter urethra and thereby, stand at a higher risk of contracting the infection. Be on the lookout for symptoms like a frequent, strong and urgent urge to urinate, a burning sensation while urinating, blood discharge during urination, cloudy, murky or strong-smelling urine and a persistent pain in the pelvic region. These may be warning signs of a UTI- and we would, then, recommend that you visit your urologist.
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While there are numerous ointments, prescription drugs and over-the-counter medicines to help women who have UTI to counter the infection, it is useful to know of a few home remedies for urinary tract infection that can both help to steer clear of the discomfort, awkwardness and shame that accompanies a call for help down there and ward off the bevy of side-effects, irritations and/or other problems triggered by medication. Also, given bacteria are becoming resistant to antibiotics, you may at best, send the cause into dormancy to have the problem recur and hound you again, in future. Therefore, it is extremely important for women to place a premium by their urinary health and take all the necessary steps to keep things ‘down there,’ looking up, healthy and happy. So, make use of what you have by deploying some of the home remedies for urinary tract infection as ‘cure’ if you have been unsuccessful in ‘prevention.’
Here are some of the most useful home remedies for urinary tract infection:
While this may not seem like news, it is important that you consume more than your usual 8 glass-mark as water helps to flush out toxins (and bacteria), thereby keeping your urinary tract clean. Make sure that you are consuming clean water. Refrigerating the water and downing it while it is still cold shall go a long way in achieving significant results.
This may sound obvious- but not many of us follow the pee-rule to the T. It is crucial – with or without UTI- to go urinate, when you need to. Holding it in increases the chances of development and multiplication of bacteria manifold. If you wish to flush out these nasty buggers from your system, you need to ensure that you urinate as often as your body requires you to.
We aren’t talking those sugary carbonated drinks- we are talking baking soda. An alkaline chemical that helps to neutralize the acidic effect of bacteria in UTI, baking soda can not only ease the discomfort that accompanies peeing in UTIs and dilute the burning sensation caused due to high acidic content in the urine, it will also help combat the bacteria thriving in your tracts. You need to dissolve about 1tbsp of baking soda in about 8 ounces of water and drink the solution every morning for about a week.
4. Parsley water
Not only does parsley water act as a refreshing drink, it is a diuretic that can help relieve a UTI and speed up the recovery process. By inhibiting the activity of the Na-K (sodium-potassium) pump, parsley enables the kidneys to balance out concentrated levels of sodium by flushing it out in the urine. This increase in the output of urine helps in alleviating the symptoms of UTI. You need to add fresh parsley leaves to a pan of water brought to boil. Reduce the heat gradually and allow the mixture to simmer until the leaves infuse their essence in the water. Strain, steep and drink the water. If it is summertime, you could cool the water in the refrigerator or enjoy iced parsley water.
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5. Celery seeds
The butylphthalide content in celery seeds can act as a diuretic and trigger more production of urine, thereby helping to combat UTI and speed up recovery. You could simply opt to chew a handful of celery seeds everyday or make celery water (similar to the method of parsley water described above) and achieve significant improvement.
6. Dietary caution
You need to observe dietary caution as per the 4C’s rule. Dodge chocolates, citrus foods, carbonation and caffeine. They can all irritate the uterine lining, making it easier for the bacteria to adhere to the tract and cause infection. Citric foods can increase the acidity quotient in the urine, making it more uncomfortable to pee. Hence, it is advisable that you steer clear of these 4Cs to make a UTI more bearable and quicken recovery.
7. Heat treatment
Not only can a urinary tract infection make peeing uncomfortable and painful, it can also cause spasms and inflammation that create a persistent, nagging discomfort in your bladder. To help alleviate the strain, you may need to use a hot water bottle and place it over your bladder. This can ease out the cramped feeling and the warmth shall spread out, relaxing and soothing your muscles. Use the heat treatment to melt away the pain caused by a UTI.
8. Ginger tea
Ginger’s chemical makeup allows it to block prostaglandins- thereby, helping to prevent inflammation, reduce inflammation as well as alleviate accompanying pain. The process involved is the same deployed in OTC anti-inflammatory medications sans the side-effects. All you need to do is slice a few pieces of ginger, add to a pan of water brought to boil, allow it to simmer on slow heat for 8-10 minutes- and steep, strain and drink the mixture.
Cranberry juice contains acidic compounds that dissolve fimbria (hair-like appendages that bacteria use to cling to the uterine lining), thereby making it harder for bacteria to develop or thrive in the uterine tract. Cranberry juice can both potentially prevent as well as combat infections and has been found to work best in women who have had the infection before and/or are prone to UTI recurrence. Although the freshly squeezed juice has been known to be the most effective (as against the sugary preservative-mixed versions on the market), you could also try consuming the fruit. An 8-ounce glass twice every day should do the trick.
Coming from the same genus as cranberries, blueberries also attack fimbria making it possible to ward off any threat of UTI as well as combat an existent condition. You could drink freshly squeezed juice or consume the berries whole, as per choice.
While blueberries and cranberries are bacteriostatic (facilitating the inhibition of reproduction in bacteria), the spicy, pungent, sinus-clearing European fruit horseradish is bactericidal i.e. it kills bacteria outright. Rich in allyl isothiocyanate (AITC), that has a strong antimicrobial effect, it attacks the cellular membrane of the bacteria, drying it out and eliminating it. You could consume 1tbsp of grated horseradish twice daily, increasing the dosage to 1 ½ tbsp gradually. If you find the taste overwhelming, you could wash it down with a glass of water or milk.
12. Cream of tartar and lemon
If you stir about 1 ½ tbsp of cream of tartar in a cup of warm water, add a dash of fresh lime juice and drink the mixture twice daily, you’d be able to flush out bacteria from your system. Cream of tartar alters the pH of your urine, making it impossible for bacteria to thrive in the environment while the acidic quotient of lemon helps to counter any infection.
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