Reading Time: 10 minutes
Urinary tract infections (or UTIs) are more than just a nuisance or inconvenience. They can be debilitating, and when left untreated, a danger to your health. In fact, in the US, UTIs are the second most common infection. And while drinking cranberry juice might be the most infamous way to naturally treat a UTI, there are actually alternative natural remedies that are more effective.
A urinary tract infection is as it sounds– an overgrowth of pathogenic bacteria, usually e.Coli, in the urinary tract, leading to infection. When bacteria enters the urethra and travels up the bladder, it begins to multiply. This triggers an inflammatory response in the urinary tract, eventually causing common UTI symptoms.
Women are more likely than men to suffer from UTIs due to shorter urethras and the bacteria doesn’t have to travel as far to reach the bladder. And, unfortunately, many women suffer from recurring UTIs even while practicing all preventative methods.
There are two types of UTIs to note: re-infections and relapse infections. A re-infection is a UTI caused by new bacteria that enters the urinary tract. Alternatively, a relapse infection is a UTI caused by old bacteria hidden in the urinary tract from a previous infection.
Urinary tract infections or UTIs are infections along the urinary tract including the bladder and kidneys. The main cause of getting a UTI is the transfer of E.coli bacteria from the intestinal tract (accounting for about 90 percent of cases). Other causes include poor hygiene, impaired immune function, antibiotic overuse, use of spermicides, and sexual intercourse. Another well known cause of recurring UTIs is candida overgrowth.
A recurring urinary tract infection is defined as experiencing at least 3 UTIs in the previous 12 months or at least 2 episodes within the previous 6 months. Recurring UTIs usually occur as relapse infections, when old bacteria is left over from a previous infection. In many cases, the harmful bacteria creates a biofilm to protect itself and is able to remain safely in the urinary tract. E.coli is one of the most common types of bacteria that has the ability to create this biofilm that can make it hard to treat. To treat recurring UTIs, it’s important to address the biofilm before targeting the pathogenic bacteria itself for the most effective treatment.
Maintaining a healthy bacteria balance in the body is key to keeping your vaginal microbiome healthy and preventing UTIs.
Many women are aware of the most common signs of a UTI, mostly from personal experience. However, there is a wide range of symptoms and you don’t necessarily need to experience them all at the same time to suffer from a UTI.
The most common symptoms of a UTI are:
While these are the most common symptoms of a UTI, it’s important to be tested and diagnosed by a doctor before pursuing treatment. In fact, many of these symptoms can be mistaken for other medical conditions or illnesses.
There are many common lifestyle habits that can might increase your risk of developing UTIs or recurring UTIs, including:
Why do these common practices increase the risk of developing a UTI? Much like the gut microbiome, the vaginal microbiome is a community of microorganisms that live in the human vagina. A healthy vaginal microbiome contains lactobacillus bacteria, which produces lactic acid and hydrogen peroxide, keeping the vaginal pH low. Many of these lifestyle practices can raise vaginal pH, allowing bacteria to overgrow and increase the risk of UTI occurrence. Maintaining a healthy bacteria balance in the body is key to keeping your vaginal microbiome healthy and preventing UTIs.
The typical treatment for a urinary tract infection involves a course of antibiotics. The choice and duration of antibiotics depend on the infection’s severity and the specific bacteria responsible. Healthcare providers may also perform diagnostic tests, including urinalysis to detect white blood cells, red blood cells, or bacteria in the urine. Urine cultures can identify the specific bacteria and susceptibility to antibiotics. For recurrent or complicated UTIs, additional testing may be required. This can include more precise bacteria cultures, imaging studies like ultrasound, CT scans, or MRIs, and cystoscopy, which uses a camera to examine the urethra and bladder. These tests aid in tailoring treatment plans and addressing underlying issues for effective UTI management.
While many doctors are quick to treat UTIs with antibiotics, they aren’t always necessary. And are often given prematurely. Antibiotics can be literally life-saving at the right time and place, but in the case of UTI’s, they can cause more issues in the future by destroying the beneficial bacteria that prevents pathogenic bacteria from growing.
Use of antibiotics can cause the body to build up resistance to them, making them essentially ineffective. This is especially true if antibiotics are used repeatedly and/or the prescribed course isn’t fully finished.
In addition, Long term use of antibiotics can lead to antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria such as E. coli developing in the gut. This can actually result in getting more UTI’s that are more difficult to treat and can lead to serious infections like a bladder or kidney infection.
Antibiotics cannot kill bacteria protected by biofilm. In these cases, the infection is still present even after antibiotic use. This can often create frustrating symptoms to reappear and a UTI to reoccur.
Antibiotics don’t discriminate against bacteria. So, while they are often effective at killing pathogenic bacteria, they also kill beneficial bacteria. A healthy balance of pathogenic and beneficial bacteria is actually needed to maintain a strong gut microbiome. Without the necessary beneficial bacteria, your gut health can suffer.
Again, it’s important to note that antibiotics are sometimes necessary and life-saving. If your UTI doesn’t get better with natural treatment, you may need an antibiotic to kill the infection and prevent it from spreading further. If a UTI worsens, it can spread to the kidneys, leading to a kidney infection, and eventually to the bloodstream, causing sepsis. Closely monitor your symptoms if you suspect a UTI is at play or have been clinically diagnosed with one. And if you experience back or side pain, fever, or vomiting, seek medical attention immediately.
While many lifestyle practices can increase your risk for a UTI, there are also habits and practices that can prevent the occurence of UTIs, such as:
Consume plenty of prebiotics and probiotics. Prebiotics are dietary fibers found in foods like garlic, onions, asparagus, and bananas. They serve as nourishment for the beneficial bacteria in your gut. Alongside prebiotics, incorporate probiotic-rich foods like yogurt, kefir, kimchi, and sauerkraut into your diet. Probiotics help maintain a balanced gut microbiome, which plays a vital role in immune health.
Furthermore, getting adequate sleep is crucial for your gut health. Aim for 7-9 hours of quality sleep each night. A well-rested body can better fend off infections and recover more efficiently.
Try to limit sugar and processed foods. High sugar and processed food consumption can lead to imbalances in your gut microbiome and suppress your immune system. Focus on a diet rich in whole foods, vegetables, and lean proteins.
Finally, manage stress as best as you can. Chronic stress weakens the immune system, making you more vulnerable to infections. Implement stress-reduction techniques like meditation, yoga, deep breathing exercises, or engaging in hobbies that relax and rejuvenate you.
Aim to drink at least half your body weight in ounces of water daily. Proper hydration ensures that your urinary tract is regularly flushed, helping to remove bacteria and toxins. Water also supports overall bodily functions and is essential for maintaining good health.
When you feel the urge to urinate, avoid holding it for extended periods. Frequent urination helps prevent the buildup of bacteria in your urinary tract. Always respond to your body’s signals promptly to maintain a healthy urinary system.
After sexual intercourse, it’s crucial to empty your bladder. This action helps flush out any potential bacteria that may have entered your urethra during sex. Make it a routine part of your post-coital hygiene to reduce the risk of UTIs.
After swimming or spending time in wet clothing, change into dry underwear and clothing as soon as possible. Prolonged exposure to damp swimwear can create a humid environment that encourages bacterial growth. Promptly changing into dry clothing reduces the risk of bacterial infections.
If a UTI or symptoms do occur, these are my suggested supplements to naturally treat a UTI:
D-Mannose is a natural sugar present in various fruits that is believed to aid in maintaining a normal and healthy urinary tract. This potent formula incorporates CranActin Cranberry AF extract, one of the pioneering cranberry products, enhancing its bacterial anti-adherence properties significantly. Additionally, Vitamin C has been included to bolster your immune function. To make it even SWEETER, this D-Mannose product is vegan, non-GMO, and rigorously tested in the lab to ensure authenticity, strength, and purity. This supplement can be a powerful tool against pathogenic bacteria in the urinary tract.
Fem-Dophilus® is designed to support vaginal microbiome and urinary tract health, featuring the clinically effective GR-1® & RC-14® strains. What sets this supplement apart is its unique manufacturing process, which shields these probiotic strains from stomach acid, ensuring their safe journey to the lower intestine and the vaginal tract.* Inside the package, you’ll find an Activ-Vial™ moisture-controlled desiccant bottle, providing added stability for the probiotic bacteria.
In a notable clinical trial, after 28 days of consuming 1.6 billion CFU of a probiotic formulated with L. rhamnosus, GR-1®, and L. reuteri, RC-14®, 82% of women experienced improved vaginal flora health, compared to 50% prior to supplementation. This outcome stands in contrast to the control group using 10 billion CFU of a common strain, L. rhamnosus GG, which showed no increase in healthy vaginal flora percentage. Each serving of Fem-Dophilus® contains 5 billion CFU, and it’s suitable for vegans, non-GMO, and gluten-free.
UT Synergy™ is formulated to naturally combat urinary tract infections (UTIs) and promote urinary tract health. It achieves this with the help of Hibiscus sabdariffa, a unique compound derived from the Hibiscus plant. This extract is rich in organic acids and polyphenols, including flavonoids and proanthocyanidins, known for their ability to inhibit microbes and prevent bacteria from sticking to the urinary tract. Additionally, the formula acts as a gentle diuretic, supporting healthy kidney function to further bolster the body’s defenses against UTIs.*
To use UT Synergy™ effectively, simply take 2 capsules per day. By harnessing the unique properties of Hibiscus sabdariffa, this supplement offers a natural and comprehensive approach to preventing and managing UTIs while promoting the overall health of the urinary tract.
Gut Health Oil is a potent herbal tincture meticulously crafted to revitalize your gut and enhance your overall well-being. This versatile elixir is your ally in tackling gut-related issues, from candida and parasites to common discomforts like bloating, gas, and digestive irregularities. What sets it apart is its prebiotic prowess, nurturing the growth of beneficial gut bacteria to boost your overall health, and nurture your vaginal microbiome.
Key ingredients, such as pumpkin seed oil, coconut oil, cloves, and calendula, bring a dynamic blend of anti-fungal, anti-parasitic, and anti-inflammatory properties, while also supporting liver, immune, and bone health. Gut Health Oil is your go-to solution for restoring gut harmony, offering you a holistic approach to digestive health. Importantly, it’s free from added sugars, artificial colors, flavors, preservatives, and common allergens. Plus, rigorous third-party lab testing ensures it’s heavy metal-free, securing your peace of mind and your gut’s vitality. This product will serve as an incredible defense against UTIs.
As we know, vitamin C is a potent antioxidant that bolsters the immune system. This is important when fighting off any kind of pathogenic bacteria overgrowth or infection. I suggest adding to your regime the natural, immune-boosting magic of Earthly’s Immune Aid Vitamin C Powder. Crafted from genuine food sources, it ensures swift digestion, optimal absorption, and effective utilization to empower your immune system. A must-have for your daily and winter wellness routine, this real-food solution stands in stark contrast to conventional grocery store Vitamin C supplements filled with unnecessary binders and harsh synthetic ascorbic acid.
Key ingredients like Camu-Camu, Acerola Berry, and Orange Peel are harnessed for their rich Vitamin C content, antioxidant benefits, and anti-aging properties. Experience immune support without compromise, knowing that our formula contains absolutely no preservatives, parabens, phthalates, fragrances, or any harmful elements. Elevate your immune defense naturally, embracing the purity and potency of real-food Vitamin C to champion year-round well-being and vitality.
Discover the key to enhanced urinary tract health and swift relief from UTI symptoms with UT-Relief. UTIs can bring pain and discomfort, but UT-Relief harnesses the potency of cranberries, dandelion root, cramp bark, turmeric root, and black pepper to combat these issues. This tincture is versatile, suitable for daily use, and highly effective when taken at the first signs of a UTI. Best of all, UT-Relief contains no artificial additives, allergens, or preservatives, ensuring a safe and natural approach to improving your urinary tract health. UT-Relief is a fantastic, holistic choice for a healthier, more comfortable life, free from UTI concerns.
While UTIs may not always be entirely preventable, there are proactive measures you can adopt to significantly lower the risk of their occurrence. For those grappling with recurrent UTIs, nurturing the health of your gut and vaginal microbiome emerges as a critical strategy. Harness the power of diet and lifestyle modifications, which play a pivotal role in healing and revitalizing your microbiome, with comprehensive guidance provided in my signature, the Microbiome Makeover.
This transformative program equips you with the tools and insights you need to take charge of your health and heal your gut so you can prevent conditions such as recurring UTI’s by getting to the root of imbalances in your body. By proactively addressing your microbiome’s health, you can embark on a journey toward greater overall well-being and resilience against UTIs!
"When it comes to balancing our body, healing the gut, reversing autoimmunity, and achieving optimal health—we are a lot like a car that won’t run right. In order to fix the problem once and for all instead of relying on jumper cables, we must get underneath the hood, run the diagnostics, and replace the battery so that it runs good as new."
-Nikki Yelton, RD
If you are ready to stop wasting precious time, get off the never-ending hamster wheel, and finally surrender trying to figure things out on your own—this is your moment.
You don’t have to settle for just getting by and hoping tomorrow is a better day. We both know you are a woman who deserves better and are made for so. much. more.