Bacteria infections are the most common causes of urinary tract infection (UTI).
The large majority of these are caused when E. coli manages to go astray. It belongs in your gut but in certain situations it makes its way into the urethra. It doesn’t belong there and will result in an infection. These infections occur more easily in women due to the shorter distance bacteria needs to travel.
There are a variety of things that can make you more susceptible to a UTI including:
- changes in hormone levels
- frequency of sexual activity
- hygiene practices
- imbalances in the microbiome.
Microbiome imbalances can occur in the digestive tract, but also in the genital area. Both are potential contributors to UTIs.
In pregnant women, it is important to keep a closer eye on UTIs, making sure the infection is managed before it can reach the bladder. It is also a time of increased infection risk as it causes changes to the urethra.
SIGNS and SYMPTOMS
- Needing to urinate frequently, may be every 20 minutes
- Changes in urine appearance (cloudy) or smell (foul)
- A burning pain accompanies urination
If the infection has reached the bladder, there may also be fever and lower back pain.
- D-mannose is the sugar found in cranberries. It can bind to E. coli, preventing its ability to stick to the cells in the urethra and bladder. This helps reduce and eventually eliminate the infection through urination.
- Probiotics help reduce inflammation and support elimination of ‘bad’ bacteria. They do this by production of mucin, which acts as a barrier to ‘bad’ bacteria, and by preventing adhesion. Specific strains to look for include L. rhamnosus and L. reuteri.
- Vitamin C can influence the pH of urine, making it more acidic, and thus less likely to be an environment that ‘bad’ bacteria finds easy to live in. It also helps support immune system action.
HERBS for UTI
- Cranberry has antibacterial action and reduces bacterial adhesion to the lining of the urethra.
- Echinacea is a lovely immune support with immune modulating activity that can help combat the infection.
- Marshmallow is a soothing demulcent that can help reduce the pain and inflammation caused by the infection.
- Corn Silk is another lovely demulcent that is specific to the urinary system and helps to soothe the lining of the urethra.