5 Home Remedies For UTIs

5 Home Remedies For Urinary Tract Infections - Image Of Cranberries

We get it. UTI’s are annoying and frustrating, especially if they’re recurrent.  The last thing you want to do is take time out of your busy day to visit your doctor for an antibiotic.

While antibiotics are the fastest and most recommended way to treat a UTI, there are some home remedies you can try to treat the condition. 

Below are 5 things you can try to treat a UTI on your own.

  1. Drink Lots Of Water. Drinking lots of water, and emptying your bladder when you need to, will help you flush harmful bacteria from your system. You may be hesitant to drink water due to the burning sensation you may have when peeing, but trust us on this – getting in your recommended 8 glasses a day will do you a world of good.

  2. Try Unsweetened Cranberry Juice. While the research is a bit unclear, cranberries have been used as prevention of UTI for generations. Studies have shown that cranberries actually make it harder for the bacteria that causes UTIs to stick to the urinary tract walls. So, while not really a remedy, if you frequently get UTIs, it might be worth drinking a couple of glasses of unsweetened cranberry juice, or snacking on the actual fruit (whole or dried).

  3. Don’t “Hold It”. We all get busy, but holding off going to the bathroom gives any bacteria that may already be in your bladder the chance to grow and multiply, potentially resulting in an infection (or keeping one that you already have alive and well). Drink lots of water and when you have to go, go.

  4. Try taking a probiotic. Introducing a probiotic to your system may help to replenish naturally occurring bacteria that live in the vagina, which can help fight off the bad bacteria that causes a UTI and restore the balance.

  5. Eat garlic. It turns out that garlic doesn’t just ward off vampires. A recent study showed that garlic extract may be effective in reducing the bacteria that causes UTIs.

Have you tried any of the above, or other home treatments to treat your UTI? Tell us about them in the comments below!

How To Get Rid Of A Bladder Infection Fast

How to get rid of a bladder infection fast.

If you’re reading this post, you’re likely in the midst of a bladder infection or urinary tract infection (UTI) and are in some serious need of relief now!  We get it – UTIs are no fun – they can be really painful, leave you rushing to the bathroom nonstop, and can even lead to leaks. So it’s no wonder you’re researching quick cures for bladder infections. 

The best thing you can do for fast relief from a bladder infection is to is see your doctor, and get an antibiotic. 

Antibiotics kill the bacteria that causes bladder infections and are the best way to stop a UTI in its tracks. They typically work pretty quickly, although be sure to take your medication for the full course, even if you’re feeling better sooner than that.  So, if you’ve been experiencing a UTI for more than a couple of days, make an appointment with your doctor now to get treatment.

In the meantime, there are a few things you can do for a little relief.

  1. Drink water – lots of it. Getting in the recommended eight glasses of water per day can help flush the bacteria out of your bladder and make you heal a bit faster.  Limit your caffeine or sugary drinks though, as they can irritate you bladder.
  2. When you gotta go, go. Holding your urine when you really have to go gives time for the bacteria in your system to multiply, making it harder to get rid of. 
  3. Talk to your doctor about over the counter pain relievers. While these won’t cure a UTI, they may help give you a bit of relief while you’re waiting for the antibiotics to treat the infection. 
  4. Rest.  Getting enough rest gives your body the energy it needs to be able to fight off an infection. Make sure you are getting the recommended 7-8 hours of sleep each night.
  5. Wear loose clothing.  Not only will this be more comfortable for you during this time, but it might also prevent bacteria growth. Bacteria grow the quickest in moist, warm environments so ditch the skinny jeans for a week or so and opt for loose trousers, skirts or dresses. 

Follow the steps above for quick relief from UTIs.  

7 Tell-Tale Signs You Have A Bladder Infection

7 Signs You Have A Bladder Infection Or UTI.

If you’ve suffered from bladder infections in the past, you likely know the symptoms when you spot them. After all, a UTI is an unpleasant experience and not easily forgettable. But if you’re experiencing one for the first time, it may be hard to know what your symptoms mean. 

Below are 7 signs that you may be suffering from a bladder infection or a UTI.  Of course, any of these may occur on their own, but a UTI is more likely when you experience a combination of any of the below. 

7 Signs That You May Be Suffering From A Bladder Infection Or UTI

A painful burning sensation.

A strong burning sensation when you’re urinating is one of the most common signs of having a bladder infection. It happens when bacteria, (most often E. coli) gets into your urethra.

Needing to go. A lot. 

Many women with UTIs experience the need to go to the bathroom often – even if they just went.  These bathroom trips typically don’t produce much urine.

An overwhelming need to urinate fast. 

If you’re rushing to the bathroom often, with the intense need to urinate NOW, it may be a sign of a urinary tract infection.  This typically is accompanied by painful urination.

Abdominal pain.

Pain, pressure or tenderness in your abdomen and pubic area is common with a bladder infection.  If the pain moves to your lower back, it could be an indication that the infection has spread to your kidneys. 

Cloudy, or Bloody Urine.

Cloudy colored urine is common in urinary tract infections, and if you see blood in the urine, it may be a sign of a leakage of red-blood cells from your kidneys. Both are signs of a UTI or bladder infection.

Strong Smelling Urine. 

This may be one of the first indications that you’re developing a UTI.  You can thank the bacteria that are causing the infection for producing a strong ammonia smell, or a sweet or off-smelling urine. 

Fever.  

While less common, and certainly not an indicator on it’s own, if you’ve developed any of the above symptoms, and also have a fever, it’s time to get checked out by a doctor (if you haven’t already).  A UTI is considered more serious the farther up the urinary tract is goes, and fever (and sometimes chills, or even nausea or vomiting) can be an indication that it’s reached the kidneys.  If this happens, call your doctor right away.

If you’re experiencing any combination of the symptoms above, see a doctor right away. Bladder infections are often treated with antibiotics and the sooner you start them, the sooner you’ll find relief. 

 

 

 

Ask The Expert: Why Does It Hurt When I Pee?

NAFC Ask The Expert Logo

Each month, we ask our expert panel to answer one of our reader's questions. To learn more about the NAFC Expert Panel, and how to submit your own question, see below.

Question:  I’ve been feeling a really burning sensation when I pee the past few days. What’s happening?

Answer: While a burning sensation can be caused by many things such as sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) or a kidney infection you likely have a UTI, or a bladder infection.  UTIs are very common, and are typically caused by bacteria that get into the urinary tract through the urethra.

UTI’s are more common in women, but can occur in men too. Symptoms may include not only a burning sensation, but frequent urges to urinate, abdominal pain, fever, and cloudy, bloody, or strong-smelling urine.

UTIs are generally treated with antibiotics, which can ease symptoms pretty quickly, although prevention is key.  Be sure to always drink plenty of water, eat a healthy diet, don’t hold in your urine, urinate after sex, and keep your vaginal area clean.  Make sure you’re wiping from front to back to avoid introducing new bacteria into your vaginal area. 

It also helps to keep stress to a minimum – while stress doesn’t necessarily cause a UTI, when you’re highly stressed, your immune system doesn’t work quite as well and can lead to you developing illnesses or infections.  Practice some stress-reducing activities, such as exercise or meditation.

UTIs can be painful and inconvenient, but with quick attention, they don’t have to keep you down.  Talk to your doctor for treatment, and then practice some of the steps above to prevent them from happening in the future. 

Are you an expert in incontinence care? Would you like to join the NAFC expert panel? Have a question you'd like answered? Contact us!

3 Common Infections That Affect Young Women And How To Treat Them.

3 Common Infections That Affect Young Women And How To Treat Them: UTI, Yeast Infection, HPV

You’re young, healthy and probably think you’re invincible. However there are some infections that are common in young women. Read below to learn about three you are likely to experience at some point, and what to do about them.

Urinary Tract Infections

Urinary tract infections can occur in men and women of any age. They can be very uncomfortable and most symptoms include a burning feeling when urinating, urinating frequently, feeling tired or shaky, or feeling a pain or pressure in your back or lower stomach. They occur when foreign bacteria enter into the urethra and travel up to the bladder where they can cause an infection.  The most common causes of UTIs are improper wiping after using the toilet (always wipe from front to back to avoid spreading bacteria from the anus to the urethra) and sexual intercourse, which can present larger numbers of bacteria into the bladder. (Tip: Always urinate after having sex – it helps to flush away any bacteria that may be present). UTIs typically clear up quickly with antibiotics, but drinking plenty of water, removing any bladder irritants from your diet (caffeine, alcohol, spicy foods), and emptying your bladder regularly can help treat UTIs too.

Yeast Infections

Yeast infections are caused by the presence of extra yeast in the vagina. When the normal ratio of yeast to healthy bacteria is off, yeast can grow too much and cause an infection. This imbalance can be caused by fluctuating hormones, certain antibiotics, or other conditions like diabetes. Many women experience itching in the vagina, in addition to painful urination and a thick white discharge. Yeast infections are typically diagnosed by a physician, and can be treated with OTC anti-fungal cream, suppositories, or anti-fungal tablets.

HPV

Younger women tend to have more sexual partners than older women.  Great for your sex life – not so great when trying to prevent STDs.  The human papilloma virus is the most common sexually transmitted disease, and one that you should be regularly checked for. Be sure to ask your doctor to check for HPV at each Pap smear.  It’s a good idea to also get tested for chlamydia and gonorrhea while you’re at it. 

Learn more about women’s conditions here. 

Ask The Expert: What's The Best Way To Prevent UTI's When You Have A Neurogenic Bladder?

UTI's and neurogenic bladder

Question:  What’s the best way to prevent UTI’s when you have a neurogenic bladder?

Answer:  Unfortunately, Urinary Tract Infections are common in patients with neurogenic bladder. Patients with neurogenic bladder often have a harder time completely emptying their bladder. They also are often unable to sense that the bladder is full, resulting in them holding urine for too long.  Some patients also self catheterize, or use indwelling catheters, which can present complications leading to a UTI.

Of course, the best treatment of a UTI is prevention. 

Below are 2 simple steps that patients living with neurogenic bladders can take to avoid bladder infections.

1. Keep things clean.

It stands to reason that keeping yourself, and any equipment used to assist with voiding, hygienic can help keep bacteria at bay. Be sure to properly clean your body, and any external catheters after each use. Always wash hands before and after self-catheterizing.  During a short-term infection, change indwelling catheters and be sure that the bladder fully empties to prevent urine from remaining in the bladder for too long.

2. Develop a voiding schedule.

While many things are considered when deciding when to catheterize, including patient and caregiver schedules and urine production, steps should be taken to ensure that the bladder is emptied frequently to prevent infections. Develop a schedule that works for you and stick to it.

UTI’s can cause many complications for people with Neurogenic Bladder, including decreased quality of life and other serious health concerns. If you are experiencing any common signs of a UTI, call your doctor.

Common signs of a UTI:

  • Fever
  • Urinary incontinence/leaking around the catheter
  • Cloudy urine
  • Spasticity
  • Back pain
  • Bladder pain
  • Lethargy
  • Painful or difficult urination
  • Sudden, high blood pressure

Bladder Health and Sex

Bladder Health and Sex

Understanding what is normal during sex and what is unusual can be challenging. After all, sex is a very private experience and differs for every person. Generally speaking, there is no reason for your bladder to empty during sex or for you to feel extreme discomfort or experience pain during sex.

As you can guess, the health of your bladder can directly affect your sex life. 

Two common reasons individuals experience pain or discomfort with their bladder during or after sex are: bladder pain syndrome and stress urinary incontinence.

Interstitial cystitis/bladder pain syndrome (IC/BPS)

Bladder pain syndrome is the continual sensation of pressure or pain on the bladder. This syndrome typically affects women and leaves individuals feeling as if they have to urinate when they don’t have any urine to pass.

Consider making dietary changes and practicing bladder retraining so your bladder begins to hold more urine before experiencing the urge to go.

Relax before engaging in sex to ensure as little stress as possible. Stress can cause flare-ups and trigger discomfort.

Stress Urinary Incontinence

Stress Urinary Incontinence or SUI occurs because of weak pelvic floor muscles and/or a deficient urethral sphincter. This weakness can cause the bladder to leak during exercise, coughing, sneezing, laughing, or any body movement that puts pressure on the bladder. If sex is particular jarring, SUI can be affected.

Consider exercises to strengthen your pelvic floor and limit caffeine intake. Always empty your bladder before sex.

We hope this peek into how your bladder health can impact sex was helpful. If you have experienced any of the symptoms noted above and haven’t talked to your doctor, it’s time to schedule an appointment. Additionally, we feel it’s important to share your health with your partner if you continue to have sex while experiencing some of these bladder health concerns.

Join us on our forum to talk more and learn how others have dealt with issues like these.  

UTIs - What Causes Them And How To Avoid Them

UTIs - What Causes Them And How To Avoid Them

UTIs, or Urinary Tract Infections, will affect most women at some point in their lifetime.  UTI’s are recognized by the burning sensation they cause in the bladder or urethra (the tube that empties urine from the body) during urination, and the intense urge to urinate frequently – even if it is just a little amount.  Some women may also leak urine during a UTI, even if that isn’t something they normally experience.  Urine may also smell differently and appear cloudy or dark. 

UTI’s are not pleasant, but there are things you can do to prevent them.

The first thing you need to know is why UTIs happen.  UTIs are caused by the presence of bacteria in the urinary tract, which can then travel up to the bladder.  And, while the urinary tract does have several safe guards, which naturally help it to flush bacteria out, infections can still occur.  Infections are more common in women primarily due to their anatomy.  Bacteria from the bowel can easily sneak into the urethra because it is so close to the anus (This is why we wipe front to back people!), and women have much shorter urethras than men, which means bacteria can more easily get into the bladder.   Certain conditions can make people more prone to UTIs – those who wear catheters may be at an increased risk since it is harder to flush bacteria out of the urinary tract. And anyone who has trouble emptying his or her bladder completely can also be at risk.  Sex can also contribute to UTIs since it can introduce new bacteria to the urethral opening.

The good news is that most UTIs don’t last long once treated.  Since the main cause of a UTI is often the presence of bacteria, antibiotics are usually used to treat them, and take roughly 2-3 days to work.  Drinking lots of water and fluids can also quicken your recovery time, because it helps you to flush out the bacteria out of your system. 

Here are some tips to avoid UTIs altogether:

Wipe front to back.

Keeping the Urethra clean and avoiding contact with bacteria from the anus or bowel can help prevent bacteria from entering the urinary tract in the first place.

Drink lots of fluids. 

Staying hydrated and drinking lots of water each day will help flush out any bacteria that may be present.

Urinate when you need to.

Holding urine in the bladder for longer than necessary only increases the chance that bacteria will multiply and cause an infection.

Urinate after having sex.

This helps get rid of any bacteria that may be lingering from intercourse.

If you do get a UTI, see a doctor right away for treatment. If left untreated, the bacteria can sometimes make its way to the kidneys and cause a more serious infection.

Incontinence: Myths VS. Truths

Incontinence Myths Vs. Truths

Incontinence affects millions of people every day— both men and women. Talking about issues like stress urinary incontinence, an enlarged prostate, or adult bedwetting isn’t something people do regularly, so there are a lot of rumors swirling around about how to manage your bladder and bowel health.

We’d like to combat the rumors and get an honest dialogue going. Let us put the myths side by side for you to review.

Myths Vs. Truths of Incontinence

Myth:  If you drink less water, you won’t have to go as often.

Truth:  Drinking enough water every day is crucial to avoiding infections and keeping your body hydrated. Drinking fewer diuretics, like coffee or tea, will help lessen the urge to go.

Myth Always buy one size larger in absorbency products.

Truth It is very important to buy the appropriate size absorbency product to avoid skin rashes, leakage, or bunching under clothes. Learn more about how to find the right type of absorbent product here.

Myth:  Incontinence just happens with old age. It’s normal!

Truth:  Incontinence isn’t necessarily indicative of old age. It’s really indicative of weak pelvic floor muscles.

Myth Going to the bathroom at night isn’t an issue until you have to go more than 3 times.

Truth:  If you go the bathroom two times or more a night regularly, you may have Nocturia. Nocturia is an overproduction of urine at night or an overproduction of urine during the daytime and nighttime.

Myth Accidentally wetting the bed is just a kid’s problem.

Truth While once thought of as something only little kids experienced, studies show that at least 2% of adults lose control of urination during the night. This is bedwetting or Nocturnal Enuresis (NE).

Myth Only women deal with incontinence. What I have is just temporary. Men don’t have problems like this.

Truth Men and women are both privy to bladder and bowel struggles. In fact, as many as 50% of men experience symptoms of an enlarged prostate by the age of 60. An enlarged prostate can interfere with the urethra, the tube inside the penis that carries urine and semen out of the body and create pressure that blocks the natural flow of urine (and semen) causing irritation. If left untreated, this condition can lead to more serious problems. 

Myth:  You don’t need to talk to your doctor about your incontinence. It will go away on its own.

Truth With more than 25 million Americans affected by either bladder control or bowel control issues, the medical community has taken note. And because incontinence is a symptom rather than a disease, the method of treatment depends on diagnostic results. Talk to you doctor to learn more about other areas of your health that may be affecting your bladder or bowel control. Click here to find the right doctor for you.

Did you learn anything new in the comparison above? Share your thoughts in the comment section or share this post to start the conversation on Facebook!

Clean & Odor Free

Staying Clean And Odor Free When You Have Incontinence

People with bladder control problems are often concerned about odor. Advertisements on television and in magazines remind us not to offend others with “unpleasant” odors. Concerns about how we are perceived by others when sitting in church or standing in the supermarket checkout line is natural, and people with bladder control problems need to pay attention to deodorizing their skin and urinary products.

What causes urine to smell bad?

Normal urine does not necessarily have a foul smell. Many people with bladder control problems limit the amount of fluids they drink in hopes of reducing troublesome leakage. This causes the urine to become highly concentrated. It will appear dark yellow and have a bad odor.

You can prevent your urine from having an unpleasant odor by drinking 6 to 8 glasses of water per day. Diluted, uninfected urine does not have a strong or unpleasant odor. Infection is also a cause of foul-smelling urine. If a strong or foul-smelling odor exists, contact your physician for diagnosis and treatment of a possible urinary tract infection. If an infection goes untreated, it can sometimes damage the kidneys.

There are other causes of odor in the urine. Some foods, beverages, and medications affect the smell of urine. This depends on each person’s body chemistry but everyone seems to identify asparagus and coffee as producing a stronger, more distinct odor.

Some medications may also change the way your urine smells or looks, so be sure to talk to your pharmacist if you are taking a new medicine and note a difference in the way your urine looks or smells.

What can I do about it?

Internal deodorant tablets such as Derifil® or Nullo® have proven useful to many incontinent people. The deodorizing tablets are taken by mouth, and the manufacturers’ instructions advise that it takes time (2 to 14 days) to get satisfactory results.

Vitamin C is another effective urine deodorizer. Speak to your healthcare professional about this; it might not be good for you to take vitamin C because of other medical conditions you have or other medicines you are taking. You should not substitute the vitamin C in tablets with vitamin C in citrus fruits and juices. Citrus fruits and juices may cause your urine to be irritating to your bladder and may cause a bad odor in the urine too.

If you have a normal, healthy bladder and no problems with frequency or pain before or during urination, good juices for you to drink are cranberry, cherry, apple, pear nectar, and other non-citrus juices. Non-carbonated water is always best.

To keep urine acidic and naturally reduce odor, drinking cranberry juice (6 to 8 ounces a day) may be helpful. If you are diabetic or overweight, be careful! Cranberry juice is high in sugar. Look for a low-calorie cranberry drink.

How do I control odors?

The best way to control odors is a combination of good hygiene and the use of commercially-prepared cleansers and deodorants. Overall body cleanliness and the use of fresh, clean undergarments daily are essential. After voiding or having bowel movements, wipe from front to back. Clean the area after each pad or appliance change with a gentle cleanser — rinsing and drying thoroughly.

If the skin is dry or reddened, a moisturizing cream may be used. For further skin protection, a protective ointment (not urine soluble) may be applied to the skin as a final step. Keeping skin, appliances, and pads clean and frequently washed or changed is the best guarantee against odor.

What if I wear incontinence products?

When you buy disposable absorbent products, read the package to see if there is an odor-reducing material in the pad or garment. This should not be a perfume but rather a material that actually prevents odor from forming. If you are wearing absorbent products or collection devices, there are several important steps you should take to guard against odor.

First of all, the urine and stool must be contained. Adult briefs and pads should be worn close to the body. A properly fitted adult brief or a pad held in place by a stretch mesh brief or an incontinence pant will insure that you are not offensive to anyone nearby. Urine collection devices, such as a condom catheter, external pouch, or leg bag, should be leakproof and air tight.

All reusable parts should be disinfected regularly with a commercial cleaner or with a solution of one part white vinegar to two parts water. Bleach is harsh and, though it kills bacteria, it does not dissolve urine crystals the way vinegar and commercial cleansers do. It’s best to clean appliances the way the manufacturer recommends.

Always dispose of products in an airtight container. When traveling or sharing a house with others, dispose of each incontinence garment in a plastic bag with a zip-style seal.

How can I get rid of odor?

When stool or urine gets on your bed linens or clothing, wash them immediately. If you depend on a helper to do your wash or to take you to a laundromat, store the soiled items in an airtight container.

Baking soda or white vinegar added to the wash water may eliminate odor in clothes and linens. Use one or the other, not a combination of the two. If you are using white vinegar in the wash water, follow it with one or two cold water rinses.

Clothing made of 100% polyester may have to be thrown away, because it is difficult to get the smell out of this fabric.

The air around you also deserves attention. Use an air freshener that neutralizes odors, not one that leaves a strong smell of perfume. Potpourri and incense, available in grocery stores, drug stores, and card shops, will keep your house smelling fresh.

Sometimes people are not aware that an odor is present. If you are incontinent, find someone you trust to tell you honestly if there is any odor anywhere.