What is a Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)?
A bladder infection, or urinary tract infection (UTI), is caused by bacterial overgrowth in the bladder’s interior walls. Approximately 20% of women will suffer from UTI’s each year. UTI’s are more common in women than men due to the location of a woman’s urethra. Each year it’s estimated that there are more than 15 million urinary tract infections in the US alone, around 20% of the population according to Michael Murray in his Encyclopedia of Nutritional supplements. It can affect any part of the urinary tract, but occurs most often in the bladder known as cystitis.
The infection can occur at different points in the urinary tract, including:
- The bladder. An infection in the bladder is also called cystitis or a bladder infection.
- The urethra. An infection of the tube that empties urine from the bladder to the outside is called urethritis.
- The ureters. The tubes that take urine from each kidney to the bladder are rarely the only site of infection.
- The kidneys. an infection of one or both kidneys is called pyelonephritis or a kidney infection.
What are the Signs & Symptoms of A Urinary Tract Infection?
Frequent, urgent or painful urination
Burning feeling during urination
Abdominal pain or cramping
Cloudy or bloody urine
Nausea or vomiting
Causes and Associated Risk Factors to A Urinary Tract Infection
Most UTIs are caused by a harmful bacteria called Escherichia coli (or E. coli). As well as Staphylococcus.
Sexual intercourse (It’s advised that after sexual intercourse its good to try to urinate as soon as you can) – (JW, 2019)
Excess sugar intake
Frequent antibiotic use
Lack of probiotics in diet and
Injury to the area.
What Else it Could Look Like – Differential Diagnosis :
|Similar Pathology||Description||To Note|
|Cervicitis||Inflammation of the cervix|
|Vaginitis||Inflammation of the vagina||May also be due to a yeast infection|
|Chlamydia trachomatis or Neisseria gonorrhoeae infection||Bacteria found in men part of urethritis rather than UTI|
|Prostatitis||Inflammation of the prostate|
|Interstitial Cystitis||Chronic pain in the bladder||May be considered if there is multiple episodes, but urine cultures are negative and no improvement with anti-biotics|
|Hemorrhagic Cystitis||If there is blood in the urine||Can be due to infections or radiation therapy, underlying cancer, medication use - like chemotherapeutic agents and toxins|
|Eosinophilic Cystitis||Eosinophils are present in the bladder wall. Cause not yet known||Quite rare. Signs and symptoms are similar to bladder infection. This can be linked to allergies or infections|
|Pelvic Inflammatory Disease||May present as UTI but is an infection of the female reproductive organs||It usually occurs when sexually transmitted bacteria spread from your vagina to your uterus, fallopian tubes or ovaries.|
What Should I Eat?
Water: It’s very important to increase your urine output in order to flush out bad bacteria. To do so, drink plenty of water at the earliest symptoms of an infection.
Cranberry juice (natural and sugar-free): Cranberry prevents bacteria from clinging to the bladder walls. Look for all-natural juice with no sugar added. Better still make it from fresh cranberries in the juicer (usually from mid-September until around mid-November in North America and March through May in Chile) the flavour is too tart, sweeten with honey, date syrup or stevia.
Blueberries: Blueberries can also help to expel bacteria from the bladder.
Garlic: Garlic is highly effective in fighting infections.
Fermented foods: Foods such as natural yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut and kimchi can help to re-colonize the bladder with helpful bacteria.
Seaweed: Green superfoods like spirulina, chlorella, wakame and kelp are high in chlorophyll and nutrients which may fight yeast.
Green leafy vegetables: Kale, spinach, arugula, chard, parsley, cilantro and other leafy greens vegetables are high in compounds which help UTIs.
What Should I Not Eat?
Sugar: Sugar feeds bacteria and is a major cause of yeast infections.
Caffeine: Caffeine is a diuretic, which causes dehydration and pain.
Soda: Many women who consume soda (diet and regular) may see an increase in bladder infections, therefore it is best to avoid all soda.
Alcohol: Alcohol increases acid production and may lead to increased pain during urination.
Flour products: Refined flours and baked products such as muffins, crackers, cereals, bread and pasta quickly break-down into sugar causing yeast overgrowth.
High-glycemic fruits: Because of its high-sugar content, dried fruit, tropical fruits and high-glycemic fruit may contribute to yeast infections.
What Should I Take?
D-mannose (500 mg, four times daily) Prevents bacterial buildup in the bladder.
Oil of oregano (2-3 drops rubbed into the souls of your feet) , three times daily, or 500 mg capsules, three times daily) Anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-viral. Do this for 3 days or a maximum of 7 days.
- Probiotics (50 billion units 3x daily, I love Micromax) Helps increase good bacteria in the bladder and reduces the growth of infection-causing bacteria. Especially take probiotics if you have taken anti-biotics which affect your good gut flora and also lead to recurrent UTI (Murray, ND, 2001) The insertion of Lactobailli suppositories into the vagina after anti-biotics should re-establish the flora or you can insert active cultures Murray goes on to advise.
Grapefruit seed extract 200mg 2-3 x per day
Cranberry (400 to 500 mg, two times daily) Prevents bacteria from sticking to bladder walls.
- Vitamin C (1,000 mg, three times daily) Makes the urine more acidic, inhibits the growth of E. coli and enhances immune function.
What Essential Oils Will be Helpful?
Clove, Cypress, Frankincense, Lemon, Myrrh, Oregano (very strong so dilute with a carrier oil like coconut or olive oil) and Sandalwood
To use: Here are several options of essential oil use in treating yeast.
Massage 1 to 2 drops of cypress (or any of the above oils) into the lower abdomen twice a day.
Drink lots of water with 1 to 2 drops of lemon oil in each glass.
Massage 1 to 2 drops of oregano oil into the feet multiple times each day.
If you have found this information useful or you have anything to add please leave your comment below.
Murray, ND, M. (2001). Encyclopedia of Nutritional Supplements. 1st ed. California: Prima Publishing, p.363.
JW, F. (2019). Health behavior and urinary tract infection in college-aged women. – PubMed – NCBI. [online] Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2324774 [Accessed 4 Oct. 2019].
Cranberry Effectiveness: https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/e7c4/8185bbc0e2be17cbf4eb3f73efbe956c7fa7.pdf
Oregano Essential Oil: http://www.pakbs.org/pjbot/PDFs/39(2)/PJB39(2)609.pdf
Cranberry and Vitamin C: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0302283816302500