This article was originally written by Nicole Bandes, Certified Herb Specialist
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UTIs, or urinary tract infections, are infections that occur in the bladder, urethra or kidneys. While women suffer from UTIs most often, men are not immune. Generally, if a man has a UTI, he should address his concerns with a medical doctor because it may indicate a more serious condition affecting the prostate.
The most common symptoms of a UTI are frequent and urgent needs to urinate even if the bladder is empty, burning upon urination and sometimes abdominal cramping. It is now possible to determine if you have a UTI at home. Most pharmacies sell reagent strips that can be used to detect the presence of bacteria in the urine much the same way a doctor’s office will. .
Many UTIs can be treated naturally at home. The most well known folk remedy for UTIs is to drink cranberry juice. There is actually a great deal of scientific evidence that suggests cranberries can inhibit bacteria from attaching to the lining of the urinary tract which will prevent and even treat UTIs. What has always seemed to get lost in the translation is that the cranberry juice must be as natural as possible (no added sweeteners) and should be a high concentrate of cranberries rather than some cranberry and a lot of grape or other juice type. This type of juice is usually not available in a regular grocery store. It can, however, often be purchased from a health food or natural foods store. To effectively treat a UTI, it is necessary to drink a large amount (approximately a gallon per day) until symptoms clear up and then to drink about half as much for a minimum of 10 additional days.
Natural, pure cranberry juice can be very tart. If you prefer, you can take a cranberry juice supplement instead. Some high quality supplements will combine cranberry with Buchu, a diuretic which will help ease the feeling of needing to urinate when the bladder is empty. Remember to take these frequently throughout the day (every 3 to 4 hours is best) and with plenty of fresh, clean water.
Colloidal Silver and Garlic may be used as a natural antibiotic which will destroy the bacteria in the urinary tract. When using garlic supplements, it is important to use garlic that does not have the odor component removed as this is the part of the garlic that is antibacterial. If you are concerned about odor, use a garlic supplement that is combined with chlorophyll and is enteric coated.
Things to avoid during a UTI
* Citrus fruits: May cause an alkaline environment which will encourage bacterial growth.
* Sugars, processed foods, caffeine, carbonated beverages and alcohol.
* Feminine hygiene sprays, packaged douches, bubble baths, and tampons.
With diligence, most UTI’s can be remedied at home. However, if there is blood present in the urine or symptoms persist for longer than 1 week, a doctor should be consulted as it may indicate a more serious UTI that must be treated with antibiotics.