Anyone who’s ever suffered from a urinary tract infection (UTI) will know just how painful, debilitating and outrageously irritating they can be!
And although men can also get UTI’s, women are far more likely to experience them mainly because the urethra (the tube between the opening of the urethra and the bladder) is shorter in women than in men, so bacteria have a shorter distance to travel to reach the bladder and cause issues.
Fortunately, there are some great natural solutions we can turn to at such times:-
- D-mannose is a simple sugar that is found naturally in high amounts of fruits such as apples, oranges and peaches, as well as blueberries and cranberries. Taking D-mannose powder in 2g doses throughout the day (up to 12 times per day = 24g in total) can help prevent/cure UTI’s – as can drinking cranberry juice.
- Cornsilk tea can help to treat kidney, bladder and urinary tract infections. Drinking this tea can clean and coat the inner lining of your urinary tract – clearing away toxins, pus and the burning urine sensation caused by infection. It also supports and soothes the entire urinary system including the kidneys and bladder (and prostate gland in men). It can also help with both the passing – and prevention – of kidney stones.
- Uva Ursi (astringent, anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial) and Lady’s Mantle (astringent, anti-inflammatory and diuretic) can also be taken as herbal teas to treat UTI’s. And Nettle tea is particularly beneficial for the kidneys as well as being a powerful blood tonic.
- Turkey Tail (Trametes versicolor) is a medicinal mushroom that is found worldwide, although is more prevalent in the northern rather than southern hemisphere. Turkey Tail is very effective at treating UTI’s. My husband and I make tinctures from wild-harvested Turkey Tail from our Knsyna Forest farm and we had an excellent testimonial from someone who had been suffering from a chronic UTI for 3 months and our Turkey Tail tincture cleared it up within 2 days. The lady in question went back to her doctor after this – who found absolutely no trace of the infection remaining. You can read more about this amazing mushroom here and buy it from any of these these outlets.
- Our Usnea tincture (Usnea barbata and Usnea longissima) is also a very powerful anti-bacterial tincture that can be used to treat UTI’s as well as vaginal (and other) infections. You can read more about it here and it is available from the same outlets as the Turkey Tail tincture (see above).
- Yoni steaming is an awesome way to deal with any chronic infections, including UTI’s. As long as you don’t experience short menstrual cycles (27 days or less), you can order my Cooling Blend of herbs, which is specifically for dry-natured infections such as UTI’s. If you do have a short menstrual cycle, I would recommend ordering my Soothing blend and also adding plain cornsilk to combat the infection. (Message me if you would like me to add cornsilk to your order for you).
- Avoiding sugar, simple carbohydrates, alcohol, gluten and processed foods all help to keep gut bacteria healthy – and these friendly bacteria help to combat the not-so-friendly ones that find their way into our bodies from time-to-time. Eating daily fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kimchi and kefir also helps to maintain healthy bacterial levels. Gut health is a MASSIVE subject however! But if you are interested in learning more about this cornerstone of all good health, I would recommend watching the excellent “Interconnected” series here.
- A supplement such as Vibrant Health’s UT Biotic is the perfect way to take in the specific strains of healthy bacteria needed for to keep the urinary tract balanced and happy.
- Stay cosy (a hot water bottle on the kidneys/pelvic area is a great idea) and get plenty of rest.
- Drink plenty of water – stay well-hydrated.
Prevention Is Better Than Cure
Obviously, avoiding getting such infections in the first place is first choice! Here are some good practices for doing that:-
- Good sexual hygiene – washing both before and after sex (you and your partner) – and taking particular care after anal play.
- Good toilet hygiene – wipe from the front to the back after you use the toilet. Most UTI’s are caused by E-coli bacteria found in the faeces. Rinsing after defecation can also help prevent bacteria from the anus reaching the urethra.
- Only use natural soaps and body products – the petrochemicals and parabens in chemical-based products can create hormonal imbalances that can lead to more frequent UTI’s (as well as a myriad of other issues). And NEVER use vaginal douches – they are SO not necessary – and they also wipe out good bacteria so that UTI’s are more likely to occur.
- Only use 100% organic cotton pads and tampons and change them frequently.
- Only use 100% natural washing detergent for your laundry.
- Never “hold your pee” – urinate when you need to!
- Don’t sleep in your underwear – allow your entire vulva to breathe!
- Get off the contraceptive pill – this has been linked to an increase in UTI’s (as well as an increased risk of cancer, heart attack and stroke… Need I say more…).
- Only use natural lubes such as jojoba oil, macadamia oil, cacao butter or coconut oil.
- Weekly yoni steaming helps improve muscle tone around the urethra, reducing the chance of UTI’s, as well as helping to flush out any harmful bacteria that may be sitting in or around the urinary tract.
When to call in the Big Guns…
Having said all the above, however, there are still some cases where I have no hesitation recommending women to go and get antibiotics… Particularly for those infections that have been going on for more than a week with no sign of improvement, or that are particularly aggressive, or that seem to be particularly resistant to anything natural we try and throw at them. Or for chronic or recurring infections in older women too. There just comes a time when enough is enough and getting ourselves to a doctor for a prescription is just the wisest choice. UTI and bladder infections when left for too long can spread to the kidneys – with very serious or even life-threatening consequences – so this eventuality is definitely something we want to avoid at all costs. If you start getting chills, fever or lower back pain at the same time as a UTI, these are all possible signs of a kidney infection and should never be ignored.
So, for sure, always try some natural cures first – as well as staying warm and cosy and getting plenty of rest -and see if you can’t shake off the infection on your own. That would always be first choice. But if an infection doesn’t show any improvement at all after a week – OR if it worsens at ANY time – OR you are experiencing the additional symptoms as mentioned above… then get yourself to a doctor and an antibiotic prescription sharpish. As I have said before, there is a definite time and place for allopathic medicine. It saves lives when necessary – and it’s just not worth the risk of creating kidney damage – or worse – by ignoring a more stubborn or resilient infection.
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