If you’ve ever suffered from a urinary tract infection (UTI), you know firsthand, how uncomfortable and irritating it can be. What is a urinary tract infection (UTI)? A UTI is an infection that can involve any part of your urinary system. The infection can involve the urethra (urethritis), the kidneys (pyelonephritis), and the bladder (cystitis). The infection most often begins at the urethra, and if not addressed quickly enough it can travel all the way to the kidneys, resulting in more pain and worse symptoms. Bacteria are the most common culprit, especially E.coli. Once brewing, one may experience the frequent urge to urinate, pelvic pain or discomfort while peeing, pressure and pain even in the sides or lower back, cloudy or blood-tinged urine.
In the traditional medicine world, the first answer to any UTI of any severity is to prescribe an oral antibiotic. In the holistic world, we have found there are natural and effective methods to battling a urinary tract infection (and many work better and are less expensive than cranberry juice). Use these methods at the first sign of any UTI. Antibiotics are a last resort, if necessary, but many women find they are able to avoid abx with these methods.
1. First recommendation: D-Mannose.
D-mannose is a supplement to have on hand on your shelf which is a natural and effective way to target a UTI. It is a simple sugar constituent in cranberry juice. Research has shown that it stops E. coli from latching onto the bladder wall not allowing the bacteria to proliferate and preventing infections from taking place. It is useful for preventing recurrent infections and also to treat current infections.
An NIH publication published, “…patients using D-mannose as monotherapy in AUC achieved very good clinical cure rates, similar to those achieved by patients receiving antibiotic treatments.” “These findings are in line with previous studies showing similar effectiveness of D-mannose to that of antibiotics in UTI prevention.”
Many women who follow holistic methods, manage any signs of a UTI effectively with d-mannose alone.
Click here for a link to D-mannose.
2. Increase probiotic/ fermented foods.
The NIH reported, “Probiotics such as Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium are beneficial microorganisms that may act by the competitive exclusion principle to defend against infections in the urogenital tract.” Increasing probiotic rich foods with ferments is fantastic in this respect. Kombucha is a safe and easy method as well.
3. Vitamin C
Vitamin C is a component that plays a role in immune function and high in anti-oxidants. It aids in your infection fighting forces when one is present. Large amounts of vitamin C (until bowel tolerance) can help acidify the urine and limit some growth of bacteria while also flushing out the system.
Bearberry (Arctostaphyl uva-ursi) has been used for urinary infections in botanical medicine. It has been used for symptomatic relief. It can help to reduce urinary frequency and burning. It contains hydroquinone and arbutin, which are antiseptic properties, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory. The hydroquinone attaches to a sugar molecule, as the bacteria feed on the sugar molecule it creates a free radical harming the E.coli bacteria.
A study posted by BMC Complementary Medicine & Therapies posted, “Using UU as a first line treatment option may be proven as effective in resolution of UTI symptoms and reduction of antibiotic use.” This is for active infections, not prevention.
To use Bearberry as a tea for managing a UTI click here.
It is important to drink plenty of fluids to help flush out bacteria when battling a UTI. When any bacteria sit stagnant in a dark moist environment it grows and proliferates. When we flush it with pouring water, it is being washed away.
The body requires rest to restore and rebuild. This also holds true when fighting off any infections. Listen to your body, rest, fluids, heal. Many women find it challenging to sit down and rest even in times of illness, but for proper healing to take place it is essential to let the household tasks pile up, call in for reinforcements, and listen to what our body is telling us- rest & restore.
7. Meat stock
Meat stock has an overwhelming number of beneficial properties that aid the body in healing and restoring. As a part of the GAPS nutritional protocol, we know properly prepared meat stock has benefits which can aid one when healing a UTI.
8. Environmental factors & habits
Good hygiene for preventing bacterial spread is a first good line of defense. Proper handwashing after using the bathroom and cleanliness practices. Many women report wearing tight clothing and or staying in wet swimsuits for too long have aided in the start of a UTI. Therefore, wearing loose, breathable cotton clothing is important. Changing out of wet or sweaty clothing, and wearing clean clothing and proper washing are also important.
Proper urination is also a factor to be spoken of. Many find in a work environment that is busy and stressful, they are holding their bladder and not urinating as often as they should, therefore bacteria are sitting in the bladder allowing it to get into the cell walls. Takeaway: Use the restroom when you have to go!
While many natural options are listed here, this list is not exhaustive. Many find d-mannose is enough to prevent and stop a UTI in its tracks. Safe & happy healing everyone!
<3 Jillian @ Healthy GAPS Mama
Das S. Natural therapeutics for urinary tract infections-a review. Futur J Pharm Sci. 2020;6(1):64. doi: 10.1186/s43094-020-00086-2. Epub 2020 Sep 18. PMID: 33215041; PMCID: PMC7498302.
Wagenlehner F, Lorenz H, Ewald O, Gerke P. Why d-Mannose May Be as Efficient as Antibiotics in the Treatment of Acute Uncomplicated Lower Urinary Tract Infections-Preliminary Considerations and Conclusions from a Non-Interventional Study. Antibiotics (Basel). 2022 Feb 25;11(3):314. doi: 10.3390/antibiotics11030314. PMID: 35326777; PMCID: PMC8944421.
Afshar, K., Fleischmann, N., Schmiemann, G. et al. Reducing antibiotic use for uncomplicated urinary tract infection in general practice by treatment with uva-ursi (REGATTA) – a double-blind, randomized, controlled comparative effectiveness trial.BMC Complement Altern Med 18, 203 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12906-018-2266-x