Did you know – 50% of women will experience a urinary tract infection (UTI) by the age of 35? And as for the ladies between the ages of 18-24, 20% of you will get a UTI every year.
These types of statistics lead UTIs to be categorized as the most common bacterial infection on the planet. Why and why us? There are a number of reasons: the female urethra is significantly shorter than men’s (think 4cm vs 20cm), our urogenital environment is prone to contamination by virtue of what other systems are in the ‘hood, we are far more vulnerable to bacteria from sexual partners, and if our vaginal ecosystems are not strong, we unfortunately fall victim to the irritating and potentially debilitating bacteria that is E. coli, the bacteria made famous for both UTIs and food poisoning.
Prevent and treat the early onset of a UTI
Fortunately, there are ways to prevent and treat the early onset of a UTI. If you’ve had one before, you’ll recognize the signs and symptoms. Try not to jump to antibiotics – but if you see blood, experience a fever or have low back pain, get yourself to a doctor STAT. The following suggestions will not only help prevent the future occurrence of UTIs but when used early on in an infection, can successfully treat one as well!
1. Water, water, water. And I know you might be thinking that this isn’t ground breaking advice. But in this case, water will help to flush bacteria from the ureters and urethra. Aim for 8oz/hour.
2. Vitamin C: while I typically recommend getting your vitamin C from fruits & veggies, it can be challenging to think straight, let alone prep produce when you have a UTI. Additionally, getting upwards of 2g of vitamin C from food can be challenging, so aim for 1200mg 2x/day with food.
3. Avoid intercourse until your symptoms clear up: it’s easy to pass bacteria and yeast back and forth with your partner so it’s best to abstain completely. I know you can do it (or not do it, in this case). For future prevention, heed the wives’ tales and make sure to urinate before AND after intercourse.
4. Cranberry juice with lemon: AKA the most tart/sour drink you will ever drink. Ensure the cranberry is NOT from concentrate and sugar-free. Lemon will support the liver and kidneys’ detoxification pathways, and cranberry will help hydrate and further flush the bacteria from the bladder. Aim for 16oz and sip throughout the day.
5. advanced gut health probiotic women’s UTI: Formulated with 15 specific bacterial species in a balanced formula that targets both urogenital and vaginal health, advanced gut health probiotic women’s UTI will help to keep the vaginal pH acidic which will protect the vagina and neighboring systems from invasion. The formula also contains CRAN naturelle™ organic cranberry, which functions differently from drinking cranberry juice, as the active proanthocyanidins (PACs) are still intact in the powdered extract. The PACs are effective at dislodging the bacteria from the walls of the ureters or urethra and contain high levels of antioxidants, also important to kill off infection!
Whether you’re treating or looking to prevent a UTI, it’s important to address all aspects of your health – both urinary-related and gut related since your immune system is ultimately responsible for fending off invaders. Especially when recurrent UTIs are an issue, it’s important to listen to your body and take as holistic an approach as possible.
Information provided by Dr. Katherine Kremblewski, ND is intended to be general in nature, and should not be used as a substitute for a visit with a Naturopathic Doctor or Family Doctor. The advice is intended to offer only a general basis for individuals to discuss their medical condition with their health care provider. Always consult your licensed Naturopathic Doctor or health care provider.