If you feel a burning sensation while urinating, you may be experiencing a telltale symptom of a urinary tract infection, simply known as a UTI. 40% of women are likely to have UTI at some point in their lives. 3 in 25 men may contract UTI. It is particularly common in women, babies and older adults (9). UTI is most frequently caused by bacteria that enters your body via the urethra, consequently infecting the urinary tract and making otherwise painless urination uncomfortable (1).
Aside from a burning sensation, other UTI symptoms can include increased attempts to urinate but being unable to pass only a small amount of urine, cloudy or discolored urine, and unusually strong-smelling urine (2). However, there are other health conditions that share these symptoms with UTI, and the only way to know the true cause behind them is by seeing your doctor or a clinical naturopath.
Getting a UTI is more common than most people realise. It is a condition that affects children, adolescents, and adults alike, with women being more prone to UTIs than men. The condition is usually easily treatable and is seldom cause for worry. In some cases, it may be possible to recover from this temporary health setback by doing a UTI home remedy, however, the best UTI treatment still incorporates the professional advice of a doctor.
Despite not being talked about often, urinary tract health is very much part of our overall physical well-being. After all, the urinary system is solely responsible for ridding the body of liquid waste products and if it does not function efficiently, we could develop other complications (2).
This article contains information on the most effective UTI treatments to manage an ongoing infection as well as other health practises to help prevent recurrences and significantly lower your susceptibility to UTIs.
All about the urinary system
The urinary system includes the kidneys, which filter and remove toxins from the blood then turns these waste products into urine. Afterwards, the ureters facilitate the movement of urine to the bladder. The bladder then stores urine before it exits the body through the urethra when you visit the toilet (2).
What causes UTI
As mentioned earlier, bacteria or microbes that enter the body and infect the urinary tract are the biggest culprits of UTI. While the urinary tract is capable of keeping out bacteria and other microscopic elements that harm the body, if the your immunity is compromised, your risk of UTI increases (3).
While you may suspect that UTI-causing bacteria comes from wearing unclean undergarments or your genitals coming into contact with other unhygienic surfaces or objects, research states that it’s bacteria that naturally lives on skin surrounding the genital area, the rectum, or in the bowels that are the true cause. Furthermore, most UTIs can be attributed to Escherichia coli (E.Coli) bacteria (3). E coli is commonly found in the large intestines of humans. Its entry into the urethra from the anus especially for women, can cause UTI. Wiping front to back is recommended to prevent UTI (10). Proanthocyanidin in berries like cranberries, blueberries and raspberries as well as yoghurt, pickles and sauerkraut contain good bacteria. High fibre foods like bananas, beans, lentils and nuts help remove harmful bacteria from our bodies. Omega-3 fatty acids in salmon reduce inflammation in the body to fight E coli (11).
A UTI can affect the urethra, ureters, bladder, or kidneys, but UTI symptoms can manifest the same way regardless of which of these urinary system organs are affected. It is important to book an appointment with your doctor or clinical naturopath if you suspect you have a UTI, as this infection can spread to other organs, complicating UTI treatment (3).
UTI treatment and prevention
A UTI treatment is best carried out with the professional advice of a doctor or clinical naturopath. It is never advised to self-diagnose and carry out a UTI treatment or a UTI home remedy on your own without proper support.
When you undergo a full urinary analysis at the doctor’s, you will likely come home with a prescription and be advised on practical health and hygiene tips to prevent reinfection (2).
Evidence-backed tips for UTI treatment and prevention often center around increasing water intake to encourage your body to flush out UTI-causing bacteria, avoiding commercially produced intimate products that may alter the balance of good and bad bacteria on the skin, and making sure that you clean your genital area after toilet visits to get rid of any urine or fecal residue. For women in particular, they are advised to wipe from front to back so that they avoid the spread of bacteria originating from the anus to the urethra (3).
It’s also good to know that adjusting your diet by eating more nutritious food can contribute to successful UTI treatment and prevention. Specifically, eating and drinking more cranberry, or consuming the fruit in its supplement form, is something worth exploring (4).
Cranberry as a recommended UTI treatment and UTI home remedy
Cranberries can help support urinary tract health and reduce the occurrence of medically diagnosed cystitis (5, 6). The super fruit can be consumed as is, in the form of an unsweetened or unprocessed beverage, or as a supplement. Cranberry supplements are ideal for individuals who may not have access to fresh fruit. For a UTI to occur, bacteria must stick to and raid the lining of the bladder. Cranberries contain A-type proanthocyanidins, which arrest the bacteria’s power to adhere to the bladder walls. This helps reduce the chances of infection (12).
Vitable Australia is a trusted source for Cranberry supplements and other vitamin and mineral supplements for maintaining overall health. You can get a hold of this UTI support by subscribing to the monthly supplement package. Vitable Australia lets you customise your own vitamin pack to ensure that you only get the supplements you need. Support your urinary tract health with these personalised vitamin packs brought straight to your doorstep through Vitable’s convenient vitamin delivery service.
*Always read the label. Follow the directions for use. If symptoms persist, talk to your health professional. Vitamin and/or mineral supplements should not replace a balanced diet.
- Center for Disease Control Content Team. “Urinary Tract Infection”. Center for Disease Control: Cdc.Gov. Published August 18, 2021 on https://www.cdc.gov/antibiotic-use/uti.html. Accessed January 24, 2022
- Cleveland Clinic Content Team. “Urinary Tract Infections”. Cleveland Clinic: My.Clevelandclinic.Org. Published May 7, 2020 on https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/9135-urinary-tract-infections. Accessed January 24, 2022.
- Mayo Clinic Content Team. “Urinary tract infection (UTI)”. Mayo Clinic: Mayoclinic.Org. Published April 23, 2021 on https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/urinary-tract-infection/symptoms-causes/syc-20353447. Accessed January 24, 2022.
- Better Health Content Team. “Urinary tract infections (UTI)”. Better Health: Betterhealth.Vic.Gov.Au. Published on https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/urinary-tract-infections-uti. Accessed January 24, 2022.
- Guay, D. R. “Cranberry and Urinary Tract Infections”. National Center for Biotechnology Information: Pubmed.Ncbi.Nlm.Nih.Gov. Published 2009 on https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19441868/. Accessed January 24, 2022.
- Hisano, M., Bruschini, H., Nicodemo, A., & Srougi, M. “Cranberries and lower urinary tract infection prevention”. National Center for Biotechnology Information: Ncbi.Nlm.Nih.Gov. Published June 2012 on https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3370320/. Accessed January 24, 2022.
- https://www.ucsfhealth.org/conditions/urinary-tract-infections. 2022
- https://www.ucsfhealth.org/conditions/urinary-tract-infections#:~:text=The%20most%20common%20bacteria%20found,90%20percent%20of%20the%20time. 2022
- https://www.dispatchhealth.com/blog/what-to-eat-and-avoid-during-uti/#:~:text=Try%20incorporating%20foods%20like%20plain,harmful%20bacteria%20from%20your%20body. Feb 2021
- https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/306498#Cranberry-capsules-reduce-the-prevalence-of-UTI. Feb 2016.