A urinary tract infection (UTI) is usually caused by detrimental bacteria colonising and over proliferating within the urinary tract. This increase in bad bacteria causes irritation and inflammation of the mucus membranes and the wall of the urinary tract.
SYMPTOMS OF A URINARY TRACT INFECTION
- A stinging or burning pain during urination
- Increased frequency of urination
- Fever and chills
- Blood in the urine
CAUSES OF A URINARY TRACT INFECTION
- Oral contraceptive use
- Over-acidic digestion and blood pH
- Recent anti-biotic use
- Microorganisms – Candida species are responsible for approximately 25% of urinary tract infections
- Sexual overactivity
NATURAL REMEDIES FOR A URINARY TRACT INFECTION
- Cranberry – prevents bacteria adhering to the epithelial cells (wall) of the bladder. This herb may provide symptomatic relief
- Golden seal due to its berberine content limiting the colonization of bacteria
- Echinacea and Olive leaf may support the underlying immune system weakness and is also an anti-bacterial
- Barberry and Bearberry may inhibit the ability of the bacteria to adhere to the wall of the Bladder and thereby helps to prevent and control urinary tract infections (due to the Berberine content)
- Marshmallow is a herb used for soothing irritation to the mucosal linings of the urinary tract
- Buchu and Cornsilk are used by many herbalists to flush away the detrimental bacteria that cause urinary tract infections
- Neem may be beneficial to kill off or suppress some types of bacteria.
- Green Barley powder is a blood alkaliser which may reduce inflammation, acidity and pain
- Beneficial bacteria (probiotics – Lactobacillus acidophilus and Lactobacillus rhamnosus) may help to prevent UTI’s and reduce the length and severity of them by re-inoculating the urinary system with healthy bacteria
- Vitamin C (non acidic Calcium ascorbate) may be helpful to reduce acidity, provide anti-oxidants and support the immune system to reduce bacteria
DIET TIPS FOR A URINARY TRACT INFECTION
- Increase water intake. Drink at least 2 litres of filtered water daily to encourage frequent urination and flushing of the urinary tract. “The solution to pollution is dilution”
- Reduce acidic foods in the diet and increase alkaline foods
- Begin the day with a glass of warm water with lemon juice squeezed into it. Lemon juice turns alkaline inside the body and can help balance the PH of the blood and urinary tract so that the opportunistic bacteria are not able to proliferate
- Eat plenty of foods high in anti-oxidants such as blueberries, grapes and cranberries.
- Alkalise the blood: vegetable juices, barley grass, lemon juice, miso soup and plenty of water
- Eat more berries like cranberries or blueberries. You can add these to smoothies, porridge, juice or fruit salads
- Watch for symptoms of candida as this complaint contributes to urinary tract infections, bloating, thrush or constipation
- Make some barley water: boil pearl barley for 20-30 minutes, allow to cool and add some honey and lemon. Drink 3 cups/ day. This preparation soothes the urinary tract and alkalises the system
- Drink cranberry juice (100% with no added sugar). Cranberry reduces the bacteria in the urine and has been shown to inhibit the adherence of bacteria to the wall of the urinary tract
- Avoid foods which can aggravate urinary tract infections such as alcohol, coffee, soft drinks, citrus foods, tomatoes, vinegar, yeasts, sugar and artificial sweeteners.
- Relief from the pain and burning sensation for females can be found by wearing a sanitary pad which has sugar free yoghurt applied to it
LIFESTYLE TIPS FOR A URINARY TRACT INFECTION
- Alkalise the urinary tract
- Reduce acidic foods
- Avoid alcohol, refined carbohydrates and sugar
- Introduce healthy bacteria to the urinary tract
- Research side effects of any pharmaceutical medications you are currently taking
LEMON JUICE AND URINARY TRACT INFECTIONS
It is an old Naturopathic remedy to use the juice from lemons and limes to alkalise the body and reduce inflammation and acidity. The citric acid contained in the juice of lemons and limes causes an alkalising reaction on the digestive system. Lemon juice has many healing abilities to improve health such as its ability to alkalise and reduce inflammation, purify, cleanse and cool. It is also an astringent, antiseptic, decongestant, anti-microbial and contains Vitamin C. Heat conditions such as a urinary tract infection respond well to lemon juice. Considering that a urinary tract infection thrives on a damp and acidic environment, lemon juice due to its cooling and alkalising effect is a beneficial way of using food as medicine to help relieve the symptoms of a urinary tract infection.
Although all citrus fruits turn alkaline in the body and are high in Vitamin C content, other citrus fruits (oranges, grapefruit) do not exhibit the same therapeutic qualities as a lemon or a lime. Although other citrus fruits contain healing qualities (and some people recommend them for their high vitamin C content) they are best avoided during urinary tract infections because they can exacerbate the symptoms and cause discomfort.
HEALING TIME FOR A UTI
Most acute cases of urinary tract infections (UTI) last around 5 days, this is generally the time it takes for the body to fight the bacteria, reduce inflammation, alkalise the blood and heal the mucus membranes (the lining of the walls of the urinary system). A UTI infection becomes serious (chronic) if you begin to experience pain, have blood in the urine, interstitial cystitis (chronic, non-bacterial) or lower back pain. This is the time when antibiotics are definitely required so as not to cause further damage to the lining of the urinary tract, bladder and kidneys.
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