Urinary tract infections (UTIs) affect both men and women, but women are more likely to get them — up to 30 times more likely. In fact, 1 in 3 women is likely to have a UTI before age 24.
The risk increases for women who are sexually active, are pregnant, have diabetes, recently used a catheter, or have gone through menopause. The type of UTI you have depends on which part of the urinary system is affected.
But no matter where or why they affect you, UTIs often start mild but can become severe if left untreated or they become chronic. Although there are medications and medical treatments available if you’re dealing with a UTI, you can manage and prevent the condition at home.
Here are some home remedies for UTIs courtesy of Dr. Neeraj Kohli at BostonUrogyn in Wellesley and Hudson, Massachusetts. For UTIs and other urogynecological conditions, Dr. Kohli and his team offer extensive experience, state-of-the-art treatment, and personalized care.
The symptoms you’re likely to encounter with an UTI are the result of bacteria entering the urinary tract and spreading in the bladder. They include:
If your urinary system fails to remove the bacteria from your body, a UTI in the bladder (cystitis) or urethra (urethritis) often takes hold. If the UTI spreads to your kidneys (acute pyelonephritis), you could experience back or side pain, chills, shaking, fever, nausea, and vomiting.
Left untreated, UTIs can recur, cause permanent kidney damage, increase the risk of premature birth or low weight birth in pregnant women, or cause sepsis, which can be life-threatening.
Some risk factors of urinary tract infections are unique to women, including:
E. coli bacteria live in the intestines and travel through the anus out of the body. They’re the common cause of UTIs, and the factors above plus others all contribute to increased risk. A kidney stone or suppressed immune system can also raise your chances of a UTI.
Here are some ways to prevent UTIs or treat them at home:
Drinking more water allows your body to flush more bacteria from your body, and it also helps reduce the chances of infections in the future.
Reduce the amount of time you hold your urine (which can increase bacteria buildup), urinate after sex, avoid spermicides, and be sure to wipe from front to back when using the bathroom.
An increase in vitamin C can help protect against infections by increasing the acidity of your urine. Supplements like D-Mannose and cranberry extract use nutrients and sugars from cranberries to help prevent and treat UTIs.
Other useful supplements include garlic extract and bearberry leaf.
Drinking unsweetened cranberry juice and taking probiotics can also help in the fight against UTIs. Cranberries help to prevent bacteria from adhering to your urinary tract, and probiotics promote an increase of healthy bacteria in your gut.
But if you’re dealing with a urinary tract infection and you need help, don’t hesitate to make an appointment with Dr. Kohli and BostonUrogyn today. Call or book your visit online.