Can you treat a UTI without antibiotics?
Because bacteria cause infections in the urinary tract, doctors usually prescribe antibiotics for treatment. Can a UTI be treated without antibiotics?
The most common bacterial infections in the EU are urinary tract infections (UTIs). Women are more likely than men to be affected by them, with approximately half of all women experiencing one at some point. Additionally, UTIs are known to recur frequently.
People are increasingly interested in whether non-antibiotic treatments can treat urinary tract infections (UTIs). This article discusses this possibility in detail, including seven evidence-based home remedies for treating urinary tract infections.
Antibiotics' benefits for urinary tract infections
Because antibiotics eradicate the bacteria that cause urinary tract infections, they are the standard treatment. Most UTIs are caused by bacteria that enter the urinary tract from the outside. The bacteria that are most likely to cause urinary tract infections are as follows:
➢ Klebsiella pneumoniae
➢ Staphylococcus epidermidis and Staphylococcus aureus
➢ Escherichia coli bacteria, which account for up to 90% of bladder infections
Antibiotic risks associated with urinary tract infections
While antibiotics are generally effective at treating UTIs, some people are allergic to them, and their use carries certain risks.
According to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 22% of women treated for uncomplicated urinary tract infections are developing a vaginal Candida infection, a fungal infection.
In addition to the above, antibiotics used to treat urinary tract infections can cause the following adverse side effects:
➢ abnormal liver function tests
➢ Nausea and vomiting
Among the more severe risks associated with antibiotic use are the following:
Developing more potent bacteria strains
Certain bacteria have developed resistance to conventional antibiotics over time. Numerous E. coli strains are becoming increasingly resistant to antibiotics, the primary cause of UTIs.
Whenever antibiotics are administered, bacteria are more likely to develop resistance. This will most likely happen if patients do not follow their doctor's directions to complete the entire course of treatment as prescribed by the doctor.
Doctors try to reduce antibiotics, especially when effective alternative treatments or diseases are solved autonomously.
Completing an antibiotic course according to the doctor's instructions is critical. Additionally, individuals should never share antibiotics with others.
It is negatively affecting beneficial bacteria.
The human body is home to a diverse community of bacteria, viruses, and fungi that coexist peacefully and contribute to properly functioning the body's organs. Antibiotics can effectively destroy some of these bacteria but can also increase the chances of subsequent infections.
Treatment for urinary tract infections that do not involve antibiotics is listed below.
While some natural or at-home UTI remedies are supported by scientific evidence, other remedies have been used in traditional medicine systems without proof of their effectiveness for thousands of years.
To treat an infection of the urinary tract (UTI) without antibiotics, the following natural remedies can be tried at home:
1. Stay hydrated to avoid UTI
Getting enough water into your system is one of the most straightforward ways to help prevent and treat urinary tract infections.
In addition to assisting the urinary tract organs in efficiently eliminate waste, water helps the body retain vital nutrients and electrolytes.
Staying hydrated also has the additional benefit of diluting the urine and speeding its passage through the system, making it more difficult for bacteria to infect the cells that line the urinary organs.
Because each individual's water requirements differ, there is no universal recommendation for how much water people consume daily. Drinking water is recommended for everyone, with an average daily intake of six to eight 8-ounce (oz) glasses.
2. Urinate only when the situation necessitates it to avoid UTI
Urinating frequently puts pressure on bacteria in the urinary tract, assisting in their removal from the body.
Besides that, it reduces the number of times bacteria in the urine come into contact with cells in the urinary tract, reducing the likelihood of bacteria attaching to cells and causing an infection.
Constantly urinate as soon as the urge strikes to aid in preventing and treating urinary tract infections (UTIs).
3. Drink cranberry juice to avoid UTI
Cranberry juice is one of the most well-known natural remedies for urinary tract infections. Additionally, it has been traditionally used to eliminate widespread infections and expedite wounds' healing process.
Cranberry juice's efficacy in treating urinary tract infections has been inconsistent. According to one review, the consumption of cranberry juice contains compounds that can prevent E. Coli cells from adhering to urinary system cells.
Cranberry juice contains non-bacterial and anti-inflammatory antioxidants, such as polyphenols.
While no particular amount of cranberry juice is available to treat a UTI, a standard recommendation is to consume about 400 millilitres (mL) of cranberry juice of at least 25 per cent daily to prevent or treat UTI.
4. Use probiotics
Beneficial bacteria, referred to as probiotics, can aid in maintaining a healthy urinary tract free of harmful bacteria.
Lactobacilli, in particular, may aid in treating and preventing UTIs. They may accomplish this by:
- Lowering the pH of the urine, thereby creating an unfavourable environment for bacteria
- Hydrogen peroxide production in urine, which is a potent antibacterial agent
- Preventing harmful bacteria from adhering to the cells of the urinary tract
Lactobacillus supplements taken concurrently with antibiotics for urinary tract infections may result in less antibiotic resistance than those who do not accept them.
In a wide variety of fermented and dairy products, probiotics can be found, among them the following:
- Some types of cheese
Additionally, individuals can take probiotic supplements, typically in capsules or a powder that dissolves in water or other beverages.
5. Consume an adequate amount of vitamin C
Vitamin C is an antioxidant that can help improve the immune system's function by reducing inflammation.
In addition, vitamin C reacts with nitrates in urine to form nitrogen oxides, killing bacteria in the urine stream. As a result, bacteria are less likely to survive when urine pH is lowered.
UTIs have been treated with vitamin C for thousands of years in various forms, such as cranberry juice, used to treat urinary tract infections. The lack of high-quality research, on the other hand, has made it difficult to determine whether or not increasing vitamin C intake can aid in preventing or treating urinary tract infections.
According to limited research, combining vitamin C with other supplements may help maximise the vitamin's benefits.
A 2016 study involved thirty-eight women with recurrent urinary tract infections. Vitamin C, probiotics and cranberries were received thrice daily for 20 days, followed by a 10-day break. They went through this cycle three times in a row for three months. According to the study, this could be a safe and effective method of treating urinary tract infections in the future.
According to the National Institutes of Health, women over 19 should consume at least 75 mg of vitamin C daily. In comparison, men should consume approximately 90 mg of vitamin C daily. Adults who smoke should increase their vitamin intake by 35 milligrams daily to compensate for lost time.
6. Front-to-back wipe
UTIs are caused by rectal bacteria or faeces entering the urethra, a tube that can exit the body by urine. UTIs are omnipresent.
As soon as bacteria enter the urethra, they have the potential to spread to other urinary tract organs and cause infections.
Following urination, wipe the genitals so that bacteria do not contact them, if possible. Separate toilet paper should be used to wipe the genitals and anus.
7. Maintain proper sexual hygiene
Bacteria and other microbes from the external environment are introduced into the urinary tract due to sexual activity. Individuals can reduce the number of bacteria transferred during sexual contact and other sexual acts by practising proper sexual hygiene.
The following are a few examples of proper sexual hygiene practices:
- Taking steps to ensure that sexual partners are informed of any current or previous urinary tract infections
- If you go from anal to vaginal sex, wash your genitals or change your condoms first.
- It is essential to clean the genitals before and after sexual acts or intercourse, particularly the foreskin.
- Using a barrier method of contraception, such as a condom, to prevent pregnancy
- Urinating before and immediately after sexual encounters
Scientists are developing vaccines to prevent bacteria from adequately attaching to human tissue.
In addition, they are working on developing additional UTI vaccines that will prevent bacteria from growing and causing infection in the future. To date, only one type of UTI vaccine has progressed to the stage of preliminary human trials. Animals and tissue samples will continue to be used in the remaining studies.
When to consult a physician about UTI
Those who believe they may be suffering from a urinary tract infection should consult their doctor for advice on treating it.
While antibiotics are not always necessary in treating urinary tract infections, it is critical to seek medical attention if you have any signs or symptoms of illness. A more severe disease that is more difficult to treat is reduced.
The following are the signs and symptoms of a urinary tract infection:
- Cloudy, murky, or bloody urine
- Alteration in the odour or colour of urine
- Pressure or cramping in the lower abdomen and groin area
- Fevers of a low grade (less than 101°F)
- When urinating, there may be discomfort or burning
- increased urination frequency and urgency
Most people, particularly women, will eventually suffer from a urinary tract infection.
Many urinary tract infections (UTIs) resolve independently or with primary care. Developing non-antibiotic methods of treating and preventing urinary tract infections is becoming increasingly popular among researchers.
A variety of long-established at-home remedies may be beneficial in preventing and treating urinary tract infections (UTIs).
Individuals who believe they have a urinary tract infection (UTI) should always consult a physician before treating the infection themselves.
You can purchase a number of the home remedies mentioned in this article on the internet, including
- Vitamin C supplements
- Probiotic supplements
- Cranberry juice.
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