11 ways to combat UTIs

Some top tips to cure and prevent this painful and uncomfortable infection

Women are 30 times more likely to get UTIs (urinary tract infections) than men. I know 30 times, that doesn't seem fair. UTIs are not fun, usually painful and inconvenient to daily life. So let's talk. Here's a list of ways to cure STIs and some top tips to prevent them from happening in the first place.

Let's start with the basics.

What exactly is a UTI?

Women get UTIs when a small part of their urinary tract gets infected. The bladder, a part of your urinary tract, is usually the part that gets infected with bacteria during a UTI. These bladder infections are generally harmless and can be cured easily with prescription medication.

However, at times the infection can happen in your kidney. A kidney infection is more severe than a bladder infection. A minor bladder infection can spread to the kidney, so it's imperative to try and treat the bladder infection as soon as possible. Women are already more prone to getting UTIs, but some other risk factors can further add to your chances of getting a UTI:

  • Pregnancy
  • Menopause
  • Sexual activity 
  • Diabetes
  • Kidney stones
  • Catheter use 
  • The use of diaphragms or spermicides as a form of contraception

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Symptoms of UTIs

To know if you have a UTI, you need to know how it presents. Here are some common symptoms of UTIs:

  • A burning and painful sensation when urinating 
  • Frequently needing to urinate urgently regardless of actually needing to urinate 
  • Urine - smelly, cloudy or blood-tinged
  • Fever 
  • Weakness or exhaustion 
  • Shakes and confusion 

If you notice pain in your back along with a bad fever, this is a sign that the infection has spread to the kidneys. 

The presentation of a UTI is relatively common, and you can quickly tell if you have it. If you decide to visit the doctor, he might do a urine test. However, doctors are usually quite confident of a UTI diagnosis based on your symptoms. 

How to treat UTIs

There are many ways to treat UTIs, some with medication, and some with home remedies. A mild UTI usually passes on its own, but sometimes it might require some medications. 

  1. Drink water and then keep drinking some more. Drinking more water dilutes your urine, which helps reduce the pain during urination. It will also make you urinate more and thus helps you continue removing the bacteria in your bladder. This is not a cure, but it's a way to help your body get rid of it on its own. 
  2. Drinking more is good, but what you drink is important. Avoid caffeinated drinks and alcoholic beverages. The caffeine in the drinks build up in the urine and makes urinating even more painful. This is also not a cure for a UTI. 
  3. Wipe from front to back. Most times, the bacteria from the anus gets access to the urinary tract and cause a UTI. So either wipe from front to back or use separate pieces of paper to clean both areas.
  4. Heating pads are handy at helping ease period cramps, but it's also very useful in this situation. The heat from the pad helps the abdominal pain and cramps associated with UTIs. Again this does not cure UTIs. 
  5. Unsweetened cranberry juice. There is no clear research linking the effects of cranberry juice and helping UTIs, but it does work. Research suggests that cranberry juice has its effects as it prevents the bacteria from sticking to the urinary tract walls. Take it from me; cranberry juice does help quicken the recovery process. If you don't like cranberry juice, eating cranberries have the same effect too.
  6. Go when you need to go. Sometimes going to the bathroom can be a chore but don't hold it in. If you need to go, go asap. Holding your urine helps the bacteria in your bladder to grow and multiply. 
  7. Probiotics called lactobacillus. Probiotics help replenish the natural bacteria living in your vagina. Having more naturally occurring bacteria will, in turn, help fight the UTI bacteria. So it might be useful to introduce probiotics into your daily diet. 
  8. Garlic. Garlic has antibacterial, antifungal, and antimicrobial properties. Research has shown that eating garlic helps fight the UTI bacteria. 
  9. D-mannose. D-mannose is a type of sugar naturally occurring in fruits and vegetables, such as oranges. D-mannose makes it more difficult for the bacteria to attach to the urinary tract walls. You can also find it as a supplement in powder or tablet form. 
  10. Over the counter medications. Acetaminophen (Tylenol) and ibuprofen (Motrin) are over the counter pain killers that can help tackle the pain you experience during UTIs. Another painkiller is phenazopyridine, some forms are available over the counter, while others will need a doctor's prescription. 
  11. The only medication that can remove all the bacteria entirely is antibiotics. The home remedies do not cure UTIs, but antibiotics will. Many forms of antibiotics usually cure the UTI within 2-3 days. When you start taking antibiotics, it is essential to make them as prescribed for the full course. If you don't adhere to the medication guidelines, the infection can come back and cause more problems. Most prescribed antibiotics are:
    • Nitrofurantoin
    • Trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole
    • Cephalexin
    • Ceftriaxone 
    • Fosfomycin

The doctor usually prescribes this for uncomplicated UTIs. The doctor will often prescribe a short course of antibiotics for a healthy individual. Sometimes, you might be prescribed a more prolonged course, depending on your medical history. 

Here some ways to combat and cure UTIs. Unfortunately, they are very common in women, and most women have 1 UTI in their lifetime. Its nothing to be worried about; there are many ways to help get rid of them quickly, but make sure you take all the measures possible to combat it. You do not want it spreading to the kidneys. So keep drinking that water and take supplements to give your body the extra strength to fight off the infection. 

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