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The first thing that should be mentioned about urinary tract infections is that they are common, especially in women. A urinary tract infection is the one affecting the urethra, bladder, ureters, or kidneys. These types of infections are a lot more widespread in adults than children, but children usually develop more severe symptoms of UTIs. Because of how common these infections are, there exist numerous methods of treating them, including home remedies, which are natural but still incredibly effective. By resorting to these proven therapies, you can be confident that you don’t affect your body in a negative way, which is the case with the chemical drugs, especially antibiotics.
Which Types of Urinary Tract Infections Exist?
As it was mentioned previously, UTIs affect more than one organ in the body, which means that there exist several types of infections. Any part of the system can become infected, but the upper urinary tract infections are considered more severe in comparison to the lower urinary tract infections. According to the statistics, at least one in two women will deal with the reoccurring UTIs during her life.
Lower urinary tract infections:
Cystitis (bladder infection)
This infection affecting the bladder in the majority of cases is caused by Escherichia coli, but it can also be caused by other bacteria.
The symptoms of cystitis that a patient may experience depending on the severity of the condition include:
- Uncomfortable sensations in the lower abdomen
- Frequent urge to urinate
- Pain during urination
- Stinging sensation or burning during urination
- Feeling tired
- Cloudy or dark urine
- Blood in urine
Women are especially prone to developing cystitis because of their anatomical peculiarities – the short distance between the urethral opening and the bladder and also between the urethra and anus.
Urethritis (urethra infection)
It is a condition that is characterized by the inflammation or irritation of the urethra or the tube carrying urine from the bladder to outside. This infection can occur when GI bacteria from the anus reaches the urethra. Sexually transmitted infections, such a mycoplasma, gonorrhea, herpes, and such can lead to the development of urethritis in women.
The symptoms of this condition include:
- Burning sensations near the urethral opening while peeing
- Abnormal discharge from vagina or penis (blood in urine or semen)
- Frequent urge to urinate
- Discomfort during urination
Both men and women can develop these health issues, but females are at a greater risk.
Upper urinary tract infections:
Pyelonephritis (kidney infection)
Compared to the urethritis and cystitis, pyelonephritis is a more severe condition that is characterized by the inflammation of the kidneys, renal pelvis, and calyces. When left untreated, acute pyelonephritis can lead to the damage of the organs, which is why you should always consult a medical professional if you suspect this problem.
The symptoms of pyelonephritis include:
- Loss of appetite
- Pus or blood in urine
- Pain in the groin, lower back, or side
- Upset stomach or vomiting
In some cases, signs of bladder infection (cloudy urine, frequent urge to urinate, burning sensations while peeing)
The symptoms of acute pyelonephritis can develop over the course of several hours and become quite severe, which is why immediate treatment is essential.
Etiology: The Causes of Urinary Tract Infections
The etiology of urinary tract infections has been thoroughly studied and it is quite consistent. According to the statistics, regardless of the sex and other additional factors, Escherichia coli is the dominant pathogen in about 80% of uncomplicated urinary infections. In about 10-15% of UTIs, the problem is caused by Staphylococcus saprophytic. The bacteria of the Enterobacter, Proteus, and Klebsiella species cause the development of uncomplicated pyelonephritis and cystitis in rare cases.
There are a number of factors that can influence the etiology of urinary tract infections and increase the chances of developing a condition, such as the presence of certain health issues (such as diabetes), age, catheterization, spinal cord injury, and others.
When it comes to the complicated UTIs, their etiology is more diverse in comparison to the uncomplicated ones. Regardless of the localization, a complicated urinary infection is associated with the increased risk of unsuccessful therapy because of a certain underlying condition. In these situations, UTIs can be caused by the organisms that rarely cause the problem in healthy individuals but can lead to severe complications in patients suffering from metabolic, anatomic, or immunologic diseases.
When it comes to the patients diagnosed with diabetes, the most common uropathogens associated with the UTIs include Group B streptococci, Klebsiella, Enterococcus, and E. coli. Patients suffering from the spinal cord injuries are usually affected by E. coli. When it comes to the elderly people, E. coli is among the most widespread infections, but polymicrobial infections and gram-positive organisms are also common as opposed to the cases involving younger people.
Epidemiology: Who Is More Prone to Develop UTIs?
How common the urinary tract infections are largely depends on the sex and age of the individuals. Healthy people that are at the highest risk of developing UTIs include newborn children, prepubescent girls, young women, and older men. In addition to that, people suffering from the abnormalities of the structure of the urinary tract and those with immunosuppression are also more prone to developing UTIs. The infections in neonates, most often affect males while with age girls and women have significantly higher chances of getting an infection. Another fact that should be mentioned when it comes to UTIs in males is that circumcision makes infants more predisposed to developing UTIs.
According to the statistical information, up to 40% of females will experience one of the urinary tract infections during their lives and the majority of women experience this problem more than once. When it comes to pregnant women, about 4-10% of them suffer from bacteriuria, which needs to be treated as soon as possible, because it can lead to pyelonephritis and premature delivery.
Bacteriuria is something that is rare in men under the age of 50. The reason why older men are more prone to experiencing this problem is most likely due to the prostate problems, the use of catheters, or surgeries.
When we talk about the hospitalized patients, urinary tract infections are among the most commonly acquired problems with up to 50% of patients getting them during their stay.
Pathogenesis of UTI: How Does the Problem Occur?
There are two main ways by which bacteria can enter and affect the urinary tract: hematogenous and ascending. According to some studies, a lymphatic route can also become the cause of the issue, but there is not enough evidence to consider this route as the one regularly causing the development of UTIs.
Pathogenesis of UTIs
In comparison to the ascending route, the hematogenous one causes the infection of the renal parenchyma and the development of UTIs more rarely.
Patients, diagnosed with endocarditis or bacteremia, suffer from kidney abscesses that are caused by Staphylococcus aureus and gram-positive organism. As a result, the hematogenous infection of the kidneys in the majority of cases takes place because of the recurrent infections associated with bacteremia. When this happens, pyelonephritis can take severe forms and be accompanies by leukocytosis and fever.
Ascending route is the most common one that leads to the development of UTIs. In the majority of cases, the condition occurs when the uropathogens from the fecal flora colonize the urethra and disturb the normal flora. The most common bacteria colonizing the urethra and entering the bladder, in both recurrent and acute forms of UTI, is E. coli.
Women are especially prone to the contaminations due to the shortness of the urethra and its close proximity to the anus. Once the E. coli enters the bladder, the bacteria can get attached to the wall of the bladder and form a biofilm, which cannot be eliminated by the immune system of the body. Whether the urinary infection develops or not depends on the particular individual and his or her natural defenses.
In addition to that, different abnormalities of the urinary tract that disturb the urinary flow play a significant role in the development of UTIs. These problems are among the most common reason for the urinary infections in men. The health issues, such as prostatic hyperplasia (preventing complete emptying of the bladder), neurological causes, dysfunction of the bladder, and more can lead to UTIs.
Indian Home Remedies for Urinary Tract Infection
Because urinary tract infections are so common, it is not surprising that there are numerous methods of treating these conditions with the help of natural ingredients. Indian home remedies have been effectively used for centuries and they are not only affordable and effective but also much better for your body as they don’t contain harmful chemicals. Thanks to the fact that the mentioned remedies are safe, they can be used for both the treatment of urinary infections and their prevention.
The most widely used Indian home remedies for urinary tract infection include:
- Amla is an Indian gooseberry that is rich in vitamin C and used for many different purposes, including the treatment of UTIs. The way the plant works is by promoting the development of the acidic environment in the urinary tract, which means that the bacteria causing UTI cannot survive. It is an excellent natural remedy that can be used to treat the infections affecting the urinary tract of both children and adults.
- This spice, which we often use for the cooking purposes, has a lot of useful properties and can be used in combination with other methods to treat a range of health issues. When it comes to treating urinary infections, cinnamon can be consumed to treat the problem and also prevent it. The way it works is by eliminating the E.coli bacteria that is among the most common causes of UTIs in both men and women. The herb is effective at reducing the burning or stinging sensation experienced while peeing, which makes it perfect for dealing with UTIs.
- Curd, which is a dairy product obtained as a result of coagulating milk, is among the staples of Indian cuisine and is used in a large number of dishes. Similarly to other natural Indian remedies, curd can be used not only when a person already suffers from UTI but also to prevent the recurrence of the problem. The presence of Lactobacilli bacteria in curd is what makes it such a great tool in reducing the symptoms of the urinary infections.
- This remedy obtained from the gum resin of the Mukul tree is an essential part of the Ayurvedic medicine. It is used to relieve the symptoms of arthritis, treat skin conditions, improve the blood circulation, and strengthen the immune system. Another amazing quality of guggul is the fact that it effectively reduces the pain during urination if you suffer from UTI.
- This herb that a lot of people add to their dishes to make them full of flavor is not only delicious but also possesses the properties that are needed to provide the relief from UTI. Drinking coriander tea or regularly using it in your meals can help eliminate the stinging sensation while urinating. At the same time, it reduces the inflammation, which leads to faster healing.
- Dry ginger, which is referred to as sonth, is another remedy that is definitely worth mentioning. The uncomfortable sensations and itching that accompany UTIs can be successfully treated by consuming sonth on a regular basis. The best results can be achieved by taking sonth with sugar and milk, which leads to the elimination of the UTI pain. If you continue consuming sonth regularly even after you are treated, it will help prevent future infections.
- Badi Elaichi. Also referred to as black cardamom, Badi Elaichi, is actively used in the Indian cuisine to provide an interesting flavor to a variety of different dishes. The burning sensation that is common with all UTIs can be eliminated with the help of Badi Elaichi, so it’s definitely a remedy that should be taken into consideration.
As opposed to the antibiotics, these natural methods of treating UTIs won’t cause harmful side effects but will also improve your overall health, which means that you will be less likely to get the same problem again in the future.
The Best Recommendations and Home Remedies for Urinary Tract Infection
While there are some forms of UTIs, especially acute pyelonephritis, that are severe and should definitely be treated under the supervision of a medical specialist, a lot of the times urinary infections can be treated with the help of home remedies.
These simple rules are essential to follow either you are recovering from a urinary infection or you want to prevent the recurrence of this problem:
- Drink a lot of water. If you are someone who doesn’t drink enough water throughout the day, you will need to increase its intake to help flush the bacteria from your body. You should try drinking about 8 glasses of water a day to make sure you are hydrated and your body can fight the urinary infection.
- Don’t neglect the rules of hygiene. The most important rule for women when it comes to preventing UTIs is always wiping from front to back. By doing this, you minimize the chances of the bacteria entering the urethra, which is located quite close to the anus.
- Don’t hold the urine for a long time. When you go a long time without urinating, the number of bacteria in the urinary tract continues to increase, thus making you a lot more prone to developing UTIs. If you drink plenty of water during the day, you will ensure that you urinate a lot, which is exactly what is needed. Another important rule is to urinate after sexual intercourse to remove the bacteria that may have entered the urethra in the process.
- Use a heating pad. Irritation and inflammation that come with UTIs cause the stinging and overall uncomfortable sensations in the body. Applying the heating pad on the pubic area for about 15 minutes on the low setting can help soothe the irritated area.
- Avoid the irritants. While some foods can help you deal with the infections, others only lead to more irritation. When dealing with UTIs, it is a good idea to avoid alcohol, coffee, chocolate, carbonated drinks, spicy foods, and too much sugar.
- Eat garlic. Garlic has long been known for its antifungal and antibacterial properties and it is effective at fighting E. coli. For this reason, regular consumption of raw garlic can help treat and prevent the development of urinary infections.
- Consume D-Mannose. According to the studies, this type of sugar is highly effective at preventing certain types of bacteria from sticking to the walls of the urinary tract. If your UTI infection is caused by E. coli, you should definitely try this remedy, as it can help you avoid consuming antibiotics.
- Vitamin C. Taking vitamin C is a great idea if you suffer from recurrent urinary infections, as it makes the urine more acidic, thus preventing the growth of E. coli. In addition to that, the vitamin strengthens the immune system, which is essential when overcoming any health issue.
- Drink ginger tea. Ginger is among the most popular natural remedies when it comes to dealing with any inflammations, and urinary infections are not an exception. Drinking ginger tea every day will certainly help you fight UTI if it is already present and also help reduce your chances of experiencing this health problem again.
- Avoid using spermicides. Women using spermicides should use other contraceptive methods if they suffer from urinary infections or are prone to them, as spermicides cause irritation in the area and create the perfect environment for the attachment of E. coli.
- Eat food containing probiotics. As opposed to antibiotics, which negatively affect the bacterial flora, probiotics promote the best conditions for a human body to function properly. When the bacterial flora in the body in benign, it is difficult for the harmful bacteria to grow and spread. Fortunately, it’s not difficult to improve your bacterial flora at home, as all you need to do is eat food containing probiotics.
Some of the best options include:
- Coconut kefir
- Fermented cabbage, radish, or cucumber
- Sour pickles
To get the best results, you should use the combination of the mentioned home remedies. Making the right lifestyle choices will ensure that you will overcome your urinary infection quickly and without resorting to the chemical drugs.
Grandma’s Recipes to Treat Urinary Infections
Before the drugs were as available as they are now, people used a variety of different natural methods to treat inflammation in the body, including UTIs. If you want to go a more natural route, you can use some of the most effective grandma’s recipes that are safe and will bring you the results you need.
Some of the options that you have include:
- All you should do is use dry chamomile and make an infusion to drink before food about three times a day. Chamomile is known for its antibacterial properties, so it will remove the bacteria from the body. For the maximum effect, you can wash the infected area with the chamomile infusion.
- Raw parsley or its seeds. Similarly to the chamomile, you need to make an infusion using the parsley leaves or seeds and drink it throughout the day. It is recommended to continue such treatment for 2-3 months to get the best results.
- Cranberry leaves or berries. Cranberry juice has long been recommended as an effective method of preventing UTIs as well as a powerful tool in its treatment, but there is also another way to use cranberries. You can make an infusion using either cranberry leaves or berries and take it several times a day. Such infusion is more concentrated compared to the juice that you can buy at the store.
- Making an infusion using fresh or dried dill is also a great idea, as this herb is known for reducing the pain associated with the urinary infections and it also decreases the inflammation thanks to its antibacterial properties.
- Dandelion and celery seed. Another infusion that you can prepare is the one involving celery seeds and dandelion. This combination provides great results, as these ingredients flush the toxins from the kidney and bladder.
- Getting juice from the fresh chervil and consuming it is an excellent way to treat the bladder infections and kidney disorders
- Bearberry. This herb is known for its antiseptic properties and it successfully combats various infections in the body, including UTIs.
- Echinacea is among the most popular natural remedies, which is not surprising when we take into consideration its wide range of qualities. Its antiviral and antibacterial properties make it a perfect treatment for cystitis and other urinary infections.
Different herbs can be used in combination to achieve the best results. As opposed to the chemical drugs, the grandma’s recipes require more prolonged treatment, but they are perfect if you want to improve your overall health without getting dangerous side effects. These methods can be used not only by females, as they are also perfect home remedies for male urinary tract infection.