What is a UTI?
A urinary tract infection as indicated by the name is an infection of any organ in the urinary system. It is a relatively common condition but can become serious. Most UTIs go away after a few days, and you can quicken this process with a few UTI herbal remedies.
A UTI can be in the bladder that collects urine, ureters that transport urine from the kidneys to the bladder, and the urethra through which urine passes to the outside.
If prolonged infection of any one of these organs is not treated properly then it can lead to kidney infections. The infection of the bladder is called cystitis and the infection of the urethra is called urethritis.
These prolonged UTIs lead to kidney infection, which is more dangerous than UTIs. Women are at more risk of getting a UTI infection as compared to men. Sometimes women can have repeated infections over the years.
Symptoms of a UTI
The most common symptoms of UTI include: passing of urine in small amounts, persistent desire to urinate, burning sensation while urinating, pink, red, or dark brown-colored urine which indicates the presence of urine in blood, pelvic pain in women especially around the hips and in the pubic bone.
Types of UTIs
Depending on the type of organ, urinary tract infections are of three main types.
- Kidney infection: the symptoms include vomiting, nausea, chills and fever, and back pain.
- Cystitis: blood in urine, lower abdomen pain, frequent urination, pelvic pressure
- Urethritis: symptoms include discharge and burning sensation while urinating.
What causes UTIs?
The urinary system has the ability to defend itself from bacteria, but sometimes the defense system fails. When this happens, bacteria climb into the urinary system and start multiplying and spreading a full-blown infection.
We know that the large intestine contains a large number of bacteria, including E. coli. Sometimes this bacteria travels from the anus into the urinary system by way of the urethral opening.
When this happens the bacteria that enter the urinary system start reproducing, and this results in infection or UTI.
The reasons why women have more risk of suffering from UTIs than men are because first, the distance between their urethra and anus is shorter, making cross contamination easier.
Then, the actual length of the urethra is shorter, making it easier for bacteria to reach the bladder and kidneys.
Diabetic people are also more prone to infections including UTIs. Hormonal changes, stroke, kidney disease, etc. can also lead to UTIs.
Signs of an upper UTI:
An upper UTI is when the infection travels to the ureters or kidneys. This is way more serious than a lower UTI, and will require antibiotics and monitoring from a medical professional.
See a doctor or go to an ER if you:
- Develop a fever
- Experience pain in your lower back, lower stomach, or groin area
- Have blood in your pee
- Experience nausea and vomiting
- Start having chills and shaking
- Feel generally sick
- Your UTI lasts for more than a few days
As we have already described that UTI is caused by bacteria. That’s why antibiotics are used for the treatment of urinary tract infections.
However, using antibiotics for longer periods can lead to antibiotic resistance in bacteria. That’s why people who suffer from UTIs prefer natural and herbal remedies.
Note: If a urinary tract infection (UTI) persists it can become an upper UTI, and you need to go to a doctor immediately. Only use these remedies to help clear up a lower UTI and keep it from getting worse.
There are some natural remedies for those who want to treat a UTI without antibiotics. Below is a list of some herbs that can be used to treat UTIs.
Cranberry juice contains D-mannose, which is a simple carbohydrate frequently used to treat less severe cases of UTI. D-mannose is also available in tablets or powder form and can be used for treating UTIs.
Scientists do not know exactly how D-mannose helps treat UTIs, but the most commonly believed theory is that it makes it difficult for bacteria to stick to the walls of the urinary tract, therefore more bacteria is flushed out with urine.
In one study, 43 women consumed D-mannose for 15 days, and at the end of this study 90% of their infection was gone.
More about Cranberry Juice Benefits here!
Bearberry leaf (uva ursi):
Uva ursi is a wild flowering plant. Its berries are the favorite snack of bears, hence the name bearberry. Moreover, its leaves have been used for medicinal purposes for centuries.
Many compounds present in this plant have antimicrobial properties which means that they can limit the growth of bacteria although more research is needed to confirm the role of uva ursi in treating UTIs.
It contains arbutin, a compound that has damaging effects on E. coli. Studies have shown that it is safe to use for a short period, but its long-term usage is not supported by scientific evidence, therefore, it should not be used for long periods of time.
Chamomile tea contains compounds that have antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. These compounds help to treat inflammation of the urinary system during the UTI, and also inhibit bacterial growth, thus helping in reducing the symptoms of the infection.
Garlic is mostly used in traditional medicine practices. It contains compounds that have anti-fungal and antimicrobial properties.
The main compound with anti-microbial properties in garlic is allicin. During test tube studies allicin has exhibited strong inhibitory effects against E. coli bacteria, which is the main cause of UTI.
Therefore, the use of garlic during the UTI infection can help you get rid of bacteria and treat the disease to some extent, but human research is also needed in this case to confirm its role.
Parsley is a diuretic, which means that it can help flush out infectious bacteria from the urinary system. Using parsley with mint tea or chamomile tea reduces the reoccurrence of UTIs in women who suffer from frequent UTI infections. Try Parsley Tea!
Buchu is an herb that can reduce bladder spasms. It means that buchu can help you reduce the frequent sensation of urination, which is the most common symptom of UTI.
Herbal medicines are sometimes mild, which is why you have to use them in combination with other herbs. Buchu can be used with cranberry juice and herbal teas to get better results.
Conclusion on UTI remedies:
It is concluded from the above discussion that all those herbs which have anti-microbial properties can be used to treat UTIs.
One of the simplest ways to treat UTIs is to stay hydrated and drink lots of water. This works best because whenever you urinate, you are flushing some bacteria out of your system.
Herbs can definitely be used, but more scientific research is still needed to confirm their role in preventing and treating infections.