It Burns! It Burns! – Treating UTI’s

Clinical Herbalist Reviewed on November 13, 2009 by Paulina Nelega, RH
Posted in Blog

As I have stated before, I am one uber-healthy lady. It is so rare for me to find myself sniffling or sneezing, rashing or otherwise. The one burning exception that rocks my status, however, is my propensity for UTI’s – the dreaded urinary tract infection. For me, there is nothing worse. And in my case, it is both excruciating and debilitating – it feels like I’m under-garmented with a lit match. Yes, down there!
A UTI is a bacterial infection of the bladder and urethra. Common among women, research shows that approx. 50% of all women (vs. 12% of men – you’re not immune either!) will have at least 1 in their lifetime. I think that female statistic is a little low: I have had maybe one hundred during mine so far. I digress, but only to assure you that I am an experienced sufferer. I know what I’m talking about!
Women have shorter urinary tracts than men, which make us more susceptible to bacteria that can invade and multiply. Most of these infections are not serious, though totally ridiculously uncomfortable. Common symptoms can be the need to pee a lot, pain or discomfort upon urination, bloating and cramping. In general, these are more annoying than dangerous.
Conventional medical treatments commonly use the ubiquitous antibiotics (surprised? I didn’t think so). They work, yes, but of course as we’ve learned, antibiotics wipe out our good bacteria with the bad, making us vulnerable and defenceless to a new attack (read my article on probiotics when you’re done with this one HERE).
Many UTI’s can be treated naturally, and are most effective when used at the first sign of symptoms. Most important is dramatically increasing fluid intake: a flushing of the urinary system helps eliminate the bacteria.
Recently during my last bout I came across a treatment called D-Mannose. A natural occurring simple sugar, it has been found to be the active ingredient present in cranberries, apples, peaches, berries and some plants. While it is a sugar, it is absorbed by the body at a much slower rate than normal sugars, and isn’t converted to glycogen or stored in the liver. What this means is that it does not alter our blood sugar levels. It is filtered quickly through our kidneys and bladder, and passes through our bodies without disrupting our natural health bacteria. Within a few hours of taking it, my typically troublesome symptoms were gone!
Naturally treating UTI’s is effective, but prevention is even better. When it comes to UTI’s, a few simple rules can mean the difference between a burning hell and a day in the park:
Pee after sex!
Wipe from front to back. This one is a no brainer for most (girls, that is), since our back-ends are the site for eliminating waste, and therefore home to many bacterium.
Reduce or eliminate refined sugars, flours, caffeine and alcohol. These foods cause an overly-acidic state in the urine, the perfect setting for bacterial growth.
Go! When you gotta, you gotta. With holding when you need to use the lady’s (or men’s) can keep bacteria trapped, and multiplying.
Please note: a UTI should never be taken lightly. Bloody urine, fever and rashes are all signs that your infection has gone deep, beyond the bladder and into the kidneys. While I always advocate a natural approach to treatment first, in this case seek medical attention immediately!
Love, Sage
Photo Credit: respres
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Our Expert

Paulina Nelega, RH
Paulina Nelega, RH, has been in private practice as a Clinical Herbalist for over 15 years. She has developed and taught courses in herbal medicine, and her articles on health have appeared in numerous publications. She is very passionate about the healing power of nature. Ask Dr. Jan

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