Countless women have gulped gallons of cranberry juice, gobbled on pounds of whole berries and even swallowed cranberry extract pills all in the hope of preventing one of nature's cruelest jokes: the urinary tract infection (UTI). Was it all in vain?
Researchers at a university in Scotland, led by Dr. Ruth Jepson, after reviewing 24 published studies involving 4,473 participants, announced there was no conclusive evidence to support this claim. This new information has many sufferers of frequent UTIs wondering what they can do to prevent the painful symptoms.
According to the Mayo Clinic, a UTI is an infection of any part of the urinary system, which includes the urethra, bladder, kidneys and ureters. An infection occurs when bacteria enters the body through the urethra and begins to multiply within the bladder. The most common infections are in the lower parts of the urinary tract, which are the bladder (cystitis) and urethra (urethritis). These infections can occur in both men and women, but women are more commonly affected since they have shorter urethras than men.
The symptoms of a UTI include burning or painful urination with a strong urge to urinate, even if only small amounts of urine are expelled, and urine that's cloudy, red, pink or brown in color with a strong smell. Women can also experience pain and/or pressure in the pelvic area while men may have rectal pain. The infection becomes more serious if it reaches the kidneys, which causes symptoms such as fever, shaking, chills, vomiting and nausea as well as pain in the upper back and side. If you experience any of these symptoms, it's especially important to get treatment as soon as possible.
Treating a UTI
Antibiotics are commonly prescribed to kill the bacteria that's caused the infection. A heating pad can also be helpful for abdominal discomfort. If you're interested in taking a more natural approach, here are some alternative therapies that can be effective:
D-Mannose -- Similar to glucose, D-Mannose is a sugar that supports urinary system health. In the bladder, D-Mannose binds with bacterial lectins to help the body expel them in the urine.
Uva Ursi -- You can take this herb on a daily basis to maintain proper function of the urinary system. It also contains antioxidants to fight off bacteria that can cause infection.
Asparagus Extract -- Asparagus contains compounds called asparagosides that keep the urinary system functioning optimally to prevent infection.
Marshmallow Root -- This herbal supplement has strong anti-inflammatory properties to soothe inflamed mucus membranes due to its high mucilage content.
Tips for Preventing UTIs
Risk factors for developing a UTI include kidney stones, an enlarged prostate, impaired immune system, certain medications (birth control) and hormonal changes. One of the other most common causes for UTIs is sexual intercourse. Here are some ways to reduce your risk for experiencing a UTI:
Drink plenty of water. Drinking water after sexual intercourse will also help flush out bacteria.
Urinate before and after sexual intercourse.
Wipe from front to back when using the bathroom to avoid getting bacteria in the urethra.
Women should avoid feminine cleansing or deodorant products that can irritate the genital area and the urethra.
Avoid caffeine, alcohol and acids (found in produce) as those can irritate the urinary system.
While this news has many reexamining the effectiveness of this common remedy, there are still ways to reduce your risk for UTIs and alleviate symptoms if you do have one. Stock up on these supplements and more at eVitamins for continued comfort.
Products you may like:
Now Foods D-Mannose Powder Why you may like this product? D-Mannose is a sugar found in
plants that helps the body
remove bacteria from the
bladder before it can cause
infection. This powder can be
used daily or weekly to
prevent urinary tract
Solaray Uva Ursi Why you may like this product? This antioxidant-rich herb can
be also be taken daily to
maintain the health of the
urinary system. This
supplement from Solaray
contains 500 mg of extract per
capsule and can be taken up to
three times a day.
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