If you ask the average woman if she's ever had a urinary tract infection (UTI), there is a 50/50 chance that she will shake her head yes (as she is cringing).
Truth is, over half of us females have at least one vivid memory of an unrelenting, overwhelming urge to urinate, followed by tiny drops of urine feeling like little blow torches or razor blades coming out.
My one and only UTI struck during finals week in my freshman year in college back in 1980. And I still cringe to this day when I think of it! It was a miracle that I could actually concentrate on my exams.
But the good news is that UTIs can be prevented—and it’s easier than you think!
7 Ways to fight urinary tract infections
Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are the second most common type of infection, and are the reason for over 8 million doctor visits every year in the US alone.
Both men and women can get them, but women are far more likely to be the unlucky recipients due to our anatomical differences (females have shorter urethras so the bacteria have an easier route to travel).
Let’s see exactly what’s going on with UTIs and how you can prevent your number from coming up.
3 Hot spots
Although the collective term is "urinary tract infection," there are three different hot spots where the action can occur:
1- In the kidneys (acute pyelonephritis)
The most common symptoms are upper back and side pain, high fever, shaking and chills, nausea and vomiting.
2- In the bladder (called cystitis)
Here the main symptoms are pelvic pressure, frequent painful urination and blood in the urine.
3- In the urethra (urine tube)--aka urethritis
This is the one where you get the classic horrendous burning when you urinate.
The most common cause of UTI is bacteria traveling into the urethra and then into the bladder. It can also continue on the path into the kidneys, but that is the least common form of UTI.
Escherichia coli (E. coli) is the culprit behind most cases of cystitis (UTI in the bladder). This is a growing concern because E. coli is becoming especially resistant to antibiotics...which is making UTIs in the bladder more difficult to treat!
A UTI in the urethra usually occurs when bacteria from the rectal area "moves next door" into the urinary area. Also, because the female urethra is close to the vagina, sexually transmitted infections such as herpes, gonorrhea and chlamydia can cause urethritis too.
Natural ways to end the misery
Here are 7 surefire strategies that can help you put an end to your UTI misery once and for all:
1) Take a high-quality probiotic supplement every day
Super Shield multi-strain probiotic formula is your best defense against urinary tract infection (and other types of infection too).
Super Shield contains the powerhouse probiotic strains Lactobacillus rhamnosus, Lactobacillus acidophilus and Lactobacillus casei, all of which have been shown to be helpful in treating and preventing urinary tract infections.
Plus, having and maintaining a strong healthy microbiome with Super Shield will help counteract the harmful effects of antibiotics, making it harder for urinary tract infections to come back again and again and again.
2) Drink cranberry juice
This isn’t just an old wives’ tale. Cranberry juice is loaded with Vitamins C and E, which boost your immune system, making it more effective at resisting infection.
Plus cranberries have antioxidants called proanthocyanidins that block infection-causing bacteria from attaching to the urinary tract lining.
But note that cranberry juice also contains Vitamin K (a natural blood clotter) so be sure to talk to your doctor if you're on blood thinners like Warfarin.
3) Drink lots of (pure, filtered) water
Recent research led by Dr. Yair Lotan, from the Simmons Cancer Center at the University of Texas Southwestern in Dallas and now published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine, has shown that boosting water intake might reduce these infections by almost half!
So if Ronald Reagan was President last time you drank a glass of water, time to start upping your water intake before you too start peeing blow torches.
Eight 8-oz. glasses a day is a good start.
Note that "water" does not include sweetened drinks of any kind. The sugar encourages harmful bacteria to thrive, so you'll be defeating the purpose and promoting another UTI by drinking them.
4) Limit the booze, the Joe and the Coke
Alcohol and caffeinated drinks are irritating to the bladder and can make you feel even worse during a UTI.
Plus the sugar in soda feeds harmful UTI bacteria.
5) Always wipe front to back after a bowel movement
Wiping front to back prevents the "special delivery" of harmful bacteria right to your urethra's doorstop.
6) Keep it dry
Avoid wearing damp, tight clothing (such as bathing suits or sweaty workout gear) for long periods of time. Instead change into clean, dry clothing as soon as you can.
7) Limit the douches and sprays
Using vaginal deodorant sprays or other feminine products such as douches and powders in the genital area can irritate the urethra.
If you feel you must occasionally douche, use good old fashioned warm water and white vinegar.
Yes, you CAN finally take measures to help your body say goodbye to urinary tract infections and their painful misery for good!
To your health,