If, like 60% of American women, you’ve had a urinary tract infection (UTI), and that burning sensation when you urinate strikes, you know you need to take action fast to avoid some serious pain. You’ve probably heard of a few home remedies, but do any of them actually work?
Marsha D. Bornt, MD, Donna Lamson, CRNP, MSN, WHNP-BC, and their team at Apple Hill Gynecology, in York, Pennsylvania, have treated countless UTIs over the years. We want you to know that most of them won’t work, even if they provide temporary relief from your symptoms.
First, let’s review the facts about UTIs.
UTIs develop when bacteria enter your urethra. Women are more likely to develop UTIs because of the proximity of their urethras to their anuses. Sexual activity and incorrect hygiene can push bacteria into your urethra.
As the infection takes hold, you develop symptoms such as burning pain during urination, cloudy or discolored urine, foul-smelling urine, and pelvic pain. When untreated, the bacteria can travel up your urinary tract to your bladder and potentially spread to your ureters and kidneys.
Drinking plenty of water is a great way to keep your urinary tract healthy overall. You should also incorporate it into an overall treatment plan for a UTI. However, if a bacterial infection has taken root in your urinary tract, you are going to need more than water to get rid of it.
Though studies show that cranberry can prevent bacteria from sticking to the inside of your urethra, most of the cranberry juices that you can buy at the grocery store are chock full of sugar. The sugar makes the juice taste better, but also is appealing to bacteria and can lead to a more severe infection. If you’re prone to UTIs, ask your provider at Apple Hill Gynecology if cranberry capsules or other sugar-free products could help prevent infections.
You can pick up plenty of over-the-counter UTI products in your local pharmacy. If you start to take any of these products at the first sign of a UTI, they can relieve your symptoms. However, this might lull you into a false sense of security. Though you might have symptom relief, these products won’t actually fight off the bacterial infection.
If you have any UTI symptoms, you should make an appointment with our team here at Apple Hill Gynecology. We offer urinalysis tests to confirm your diagnosis and can prescribe antibiotics to fight off the infection. We can offer advice on easing your symptoms and reducing your risk of recurring UTIs.
Fortunately, you can take steps to prevent urinary tract infections. First, make sure to drink lots of water. Staying hydrated helps your kidneys and urinary tract flush out liquid waste and bacteria.
Additionally, you should practice excellent genital hygiene. Clean your genitals clean with a mild, unscented soap. Always, and we mean always, wipe from front to back after you urinate.
And finally, urinate after sexual intercourse. Sexual activity can push bacteria into your urethra. Urinating right away can flush out any fluids that may have been forced into your urethra during sex.
You could also increase your vitamin C intake. It can increase the acidity of your urine, which creates a hostile environment for bacteria. You might also find that taking a probiotic helps you maintain a healthy biome and immune system. If you have questions about UTI prevention and treatment, your provider can answer them.
Call our office, or make an appointment online today if you have any UTI symptoms. Getting a diagnosis and treatment as early as possible can lessen your discomfort and help you get back to good health.