Description: Urinary tract infection is a great deal more common in women than in men. Almost half of women will be infected during their lifetime. Usually it begins with bacteria usually from the faeces, colonising the entrance to the the vagina, and then passing up the urethra into the bladder.
In men because of the longer link to the urethra, and the anti bacterial action of secretions from the prostate gland, it is much less common.
Symptoms include painful urination, frequency, urgency, pain just above the pubic bone and sometimes blood in the urine.
Occasionally the infection can rise up the ureters into the kidneys, causing pyelonephritis which is much more serious, with fever, chills, pain in the back, nausea and vomiting and does require relatively urgent treatment with antibiotics.
What your doctor can do
- Usually a sample of urine is taken (midstream to reduce contamination), to see what bacteria is causing the infection.
- An antibiotic is usually started immediately, there are a variety of drugs that are often used including nitrofurantoin, co-trimoxazole, Augmentin, ciprofloxacin. Because of the risk of resistance, the more powerful drugs are only used in resistant cases.
What you can do
- To reduce the risk of urinary infection drink plenty of water,
- Urinate when you feel the need to, in women wipe front to back,
- Cleanse the genital area before and after sexual intercourse.
- Cranberry juice – this contains an ingredient that prevents the bacteria (E. coli) from attaching onto the bladder wall, and enables them to be flushed into the toilet. Some people believe this component is D Mannose. Cranberry juice is quite tart, and it is frequently flavoured with sugar, try and avoid the sugary versions if you can (see below).
- Taking probiotics may possibly reduce the risk of E. coli infection.
- The double Pee technique – some people do not empty their bladder completely, or the urine can pass up into the ureters (reflux), and comes down at the end of urination. Sitting for 30 seconds and then gently trying to pass you and again often allows pursuant to be excreted. This is especially important with urinary infections as the bacteria can link in the bladder if not excreted.
- Reducing the sugar in the diet means less sugar and the urine which feed the bacteria.
- Vitamin C is excreted in the urine, it does have an antibiotic effect, and high dose vitamin C may be helpful.
- A good multivitamin/multimineral makes sure that immune system has all the nutrients and minerals it requires to function perfectly.
- Omega 3 fish oils, 1–2 grams daily. can reduce inflammation and help with the symptoms of cystitis.
- Probiotics - can reduce the risk of recurrences of urinary infections
- Vitamin C 2-4 grams daily
The Nutritional supplements I use and recommend to my patients
For patients with urinary tract infections - USANA - Cellsentials *, Biomega, probiotic, and vitamin D and Vitamin C-