Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are the second leading type of infection that plagues the body. In a year, this infection accounts for almost eight million visits to the doctor. While it is most common in women, men are also likely to get a UTI. Treatment is easy, but even if there are antibiotics for UTI, there are home remedies and ways to prevent this infection from occurring.
What is UTI?
As mentioned, UTI is an infection that plagues the urinary tract. The two types of bacteria that cause this infection is Staphylococcus saprophyticus and Escherichia coli. These bacteria may infect more than one area in the urinary tract, such as the:
Females are more predisposed to getting this infection due to the length of the urethra. For women, the urethra is shorter compared to men. This allows bacteria to enter and infect the bladder easily. Sex and the use of condoms, diaphragms, and spermicides increase the risk of infection. It is advised that women urinate and clean the genitals after sex.
According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, UTIs affect at least 40 to 60 percent of females. As for in males, UTIs are linked to enlarged prostates that affect the flow of urine. It is also called benign prostatic hypertrophy which makes it easy for the bacteria to occupy the urinary tract.
The typical manifestations of a UTI include the following:
- Burning Sensation When Urinating
- Dark or Cloudy Urine
- The Feeling of Incomplete Bladder After Urination
- Pain Felt in Pelvic Area
- Urgency to Urinate
- Urine with Strong Odor
There are tests done to identify if it is indeed a UTI. These include the following.
A urine sample is taken and analyzed for the presence of bacteria, red blood cells, and white blood cells. Midstream urine is needed for this test.
Aside from a urine analysis, a urine culture is done. This is to identify the bacteria that is causing the infection and prescribe a medication suited to fight against it.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), Computerized Tomography (CT) Scan, or Ultrasound
For reoccurring infections in the urinary tract, the attending physician may request an ultrasound, MRI, or CT scan. This is to get a clear image of the urinary tract. A contrast dye may be used, which will highlight the structures in the urinary tract.
This test is also done for recurrent infections of the urinary system. A cystoscopy is done with the aid of a cystoscope, a long and thin tube is inserted in the urethra. This tube passes through to the bladder and gives a clear image of what the inside looks like.
Antibiotics for UTI
Doctors would commonly prescribe antibiotics to fight the infection. Based on the results of the tests done, the medications given would depend on the bacteria found in the urine. Some of the common antibiotics prescribed for a UTI include the following:
- Augmentin or Amoxicillin
- Macrodantin or Macrobid
- Sulfamethoxazole or Trimethoprim
Furthermore, the medicine and the dosage prescribed depends on the nature of the infection. If the infection is uncomplicated, then that would mean that the urinary tract is healthy and oral antibiotics are given. Symptoms of the UTI may clear up after a few days. However, you must not discontinue the antibiotics prescribed. Consume them for the period indicated.
On the other hand, for infections that are complicated, this could mean that a problem or other disease is affecting the urinary tract. There could be a thinning of the urethra or the ureters. An enlarged prostate for men or the presence of a kidney stone may also be a likely problem.
For the treatment of a complicated UTI, doctors prescribe antibiotics at higher dosages. If there is an infection of the kidneys or the UTI is severe, then treatment is done at the hospital. Antibiotics of high doses are administered through an intravenous (IV) method.
Prevent the occurrence of UTIs with the help of these home remedies.
Increase Intake of Vitamin C
Studies show that increasing the intake of vitamin C guards against UTIs. Vitamin C works by heightening the acidity of one’s urine, which kills bacteria leading to an infection of the urinary tract. Vegetables and fruits are rich in vitamin C. Fruits like kiwifruit, grapefruit, and oranges contain the recommended daily intake (RDI) of vitamin C.
Keep Well Hydrated
Regular urination aids in flushing out bacteria present in the urinary tract. So, boost your daily intake of water or fluids.
Consume Cranberry Juice (Unsweetened)
Another well-known remedy is unsweetened cranberry juice. It works by inhibiting the grip of bacteria to the urinary tract.
The microorganisms present in probiotics promote the balance of good bacteria in the gut. Apart from enhancing one’s immune system and improving digestion, probiotics are proven to prevent the risk of an infection in the urinary tract.
Take Natural Supplements
Some supplements have been linked with a lessened risk of getting a UTI. These natural supplements include:
- Cranberry Extract: which works like unsweetened cranberry juice. It inhibits the grip of bacteria to the urinary tract.
- Bearberry Leaf: which is also called uva-ursi. This combined with dandelion leaves and roots lead to a decline in the recurrence of a UTI.
- D-Mannose: which is a type of sugar usually found in cranberries. Aside from preventing the recurrence of infection, it is also useful in the treatment of UTI.
- Garlic Extract: which has antimicrobial properties. It also aids in blocking bacterial growth; thus, preventing UTI.
Practice Healthy Hygiene and Bathroom Habits
If you feel the need to pee, then urinate immediately. Holding in urine leads to an accumulation of bacteria, which results in an infection. Also, urinating after sex dramatically reduces the risk of getting a UTI. Moreover, it prevents the proliferation of bacteria.
For women who are prone to getting a UTI, avoid the use of spermicides which can heighten the risk for UTIs. After urinating, women should clean with tissue from the front to back. Doing otherwise can aid in the spread of bacteria from the anus to the genitals and urinary tract.
Skip the antibiotics for UTI by following the remedies mentioned above to prevent the proliferation of bacteria. Healthy habits can stop the spread of infection.