Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs)

Do you ever get a burning sensation when you wee? Cystitis or problems with passing urine shouldn’t be ignored, especially if you get feel this frequently. Most women experience urinary tract or bladder infections at some point in their lives, and 10-20% get some kind of discomfort at least once a year so it’s something lots of us deal with.

As well as the pain, inconvenience and irritation they can lead to kidney issues if not properly treated. If you experience a high temperature, feel sick, have a pain in your side or back, or are worried with your UTI symptoms you must contact your GP for advice.

How to avoid UTIs

2016-12-05 16.13.25 (2)The main way to treat and avoid mild bladder infections when you feel one coming on is increasing the urine flow and supporting the immune system to fight off the bacterial infection.

Drinking lots of water, vegetable juice or herb teas is the best way to keep hydrated. Aim for 2 litres throughout the day.

I work with clients who experience recurrent cystitis. Working on your diet, and potentially looking at supplements, means you can reduce the rate of occurrence.

Nutrients to protect against UTIs

  • Cut out caffeine, alcohol processed foods and sugars which all dampen down the immune system.
  • Cranberries and blueberries – these berries contain proanthocyanidins which stop bacteria sticking to the walls of the bladder so can help avoid infection. Since it’s hard to get fresh cranberries all year round, cranberry extract in capsules may be easier and more cost effective. Blueberries are a good alternative.
  • Avoid sweetened drinks, including cartons of cranberry juice as the sugar supresses your immune system.
  • Increase foods high in anti-inflammatory essential fatty acids such as oily fish and nuts / seeds
  • Include quercetin, a naturally occurring antioxidant which has an anti-inflammatory effect. This is found in onions, citrus fruits, olive oil and apples.
  • Vitamin C has also been shown to reduce bacterial infections in the urinary tract – include red peppers, tomatoes, as well as fruit like oranges, kiwi and strawberries
  • Some women find relief from alkalising the urine with potassium citrate (available from chemists) which raises the pH level
  • Garlic is an antimicrobial force against many bacteria – eat a few cloves raw every day by crushing with a little water, or just add to cooking.
  • For non-diabetics another potential option is D-mannose, a sugar found in blackcurrants and redcurrants, gooseberries, aloe vera, soy beans and vegetables including cabbage, aubergine and tomatoes.

Gut Health

With my clients I also look for issues with food intolerance to reduce the toxic load on the digestion, and I find it can be helpful to reduce sugar and simple carbs in the diet, which feed bacteria.

We often look at increasing fermented foods and rebalancing the gut to support positive bacterial colonisation across the body.  Research has shown people who developed UTIs had less diverse bladder microbiota, and other studies show taking probiotics can improve the recovery rate from bladder infections.

If you suffer from UTIs on a regular basis don’t live with it, support your body so you can beat the bacteria.

An appointment with Anna, our Nutritional Therapist, will cover your full health history, all symptoms and an in-depth look at your diet – get in touch now to book your free 15 minute health consultation and find out more – info@the-gentle-touch.com