Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)
Information on UTI Symptoms and Causes.
Select a Topic
- What is a Urinary Tract Infection?
- Diagnosing a Urinary Tract Infection
- What Causes Urinary Tract Infections?
- Help for Urinary Tract Infections
- More Information on Urinary Tract Infections
What is a Urinary Tract Infection?
A urinary tract infection (also referred to as a UTI) is a bacterial infection affecting the urinary tract. When bacteria from the rectal area enter the urinary tract via the urethra to the bladder and multiply in the urine, an infection occurs.
Diagnosing a Urinary Tract Infection
There are two main types of urinary tract infections, namely lower tract and upper tract infections. An infection found in the lower tract typically spreads to the urethra or the bladder.
Help for Urinary Tract Infections
Bacteria that infects the urethra (tube that carries urine from the bladder) causes urethritis, while bacteria that infects the bladder causes cystitis (or a bladder infection). An infection found in the upper tract spreads through the bloodstream into the kidney. This is called pyelonephritis, and is a very serious condition.
UTI Symptoms and Signs
- Frequent urination
- Pain or burning during urination
- Pain in the lower back or abdomen
- Pain above the pubic bone
- Dark, foul-smelling urine
- Blood in the urine
- A feeling of shakiness and fatigue
- Mild fever
What Causes Urinary Tract Infections?
Urinary infections are usually caused by the Escherichia coli (E. coli) bacteria, while other contributing factors include a shorter urethra in women, an enlarged prostate in men, frequent sexual activity, sexually transmitted diseases, or medical conditions such as HIV or diabetes.
This type of infection is commonly treated with antibiotics. However, it is increasingly recognized that frequent treatment with antibiotics may contribute to recurring UTI infections and increased dependency on antibiotic use, thereby further weakening the immune system.
Natural Remedies for UTIs
Natural remedies and holistic therapy can be very effective and have been used for centuries to alleviate pain and discomfort as well as address the underlying symptoms. Natural remedies for urinary tract infections are safe and cause no side effects. They also support one’s physical, mental, and emotional health, rather than simply treating UTI symptoms.
Using herbal and homeopathic remedies for urinary tract infections is also less likely to contribute to recurring infections, and can therefore provide a safe and longer-lasting solution to this common yet distressing medical condition.
Commonly recommended herbs include Agothosma betulina (Buchu), Arctostaphylos uva-ursi , Melissa officinalis (Lemon balm), Avena sativa , Hypericum perforatum (St. John's Wort), Vaccinium myrtillus (Billberry) and Echinacea angustifolia, while specific homeopathic and natural remedies for urinary tract infections may be used depending on the UTI symptoms and physical composition of the individual.
An herbalist or homeopath will help you to incorporate the most suitable treatment into your lifestyle.
More Information on Urinary Tract Infections
Tips for Preventing UTIs
- Drink at least 8 glasses of water a day to cleanse the system
- Cranberry juice has been shown to be effective in helping to prevent bladder and urinary tract infections
- Women should always wipe from front to back after urination
- Avoid resisting the urge to urinate
- Wash before and after sexual intercourse
- Urinate after sexual intercourse
- Change tampons and sanitary towels frequently during menstruation
- Avoid using products that may cause irritation of the vaginal area – for e.g. talc, bubble bath, or scented sprays
- Avoid wearing nylon underwear or wet swimsuits
- Shower instead of taking a bath, as bacteria accumulates in bath water
- While on medication, it is important to avoid caffeine, spicy foods, and sugar