At least 3 in 25 men and 10 in 25 women acquire urinary tract infections once in their lifetime. UTIs occur when bacteria from the digestive tract infect your kidneys, ureter, urethra, or bladder.
Like any disease, urinary tract infections present with an array of discomforts. For instance, they cause pelvic pain and a burning sensation when urinating. UTIs also cause a strong urge to urinate, which can be intense for people with urinary incontinence.
Understanding Urinary Incontinence (UI)
Urinary incontinence impairs one’s ability to control their bladder. Typically, this condition results from weakened pelvic floor muscles or nerve damage. Doctors may categorize it into one of the following incontinence types:
- Stress incontinence: In this type of UI, urine leaks upon exerting pressure on the bladder. This pressure may be a result of activities such as coughing or laughing.
- Urge incontinence: People with urge incontinence get a sudden and intense urge to urinate. The urge often leads to involuntary leakage before getting to the restroom.
- Functional incontinence: Functional incontinence affects people with physical and mental limitations. These impairments, similarly, prevent patients from accessing the restroom in time.
- Overflow incontinence: Patients with overflow incontinence have intermittent dribbling of urine.
Although not related, urinary tract infections often complicate UI. Patients with UTI and UI experience heightened urgency and frequency of urination. They find it hard to control their bladder.
Causes of UTIs
Escherichia coli is the major culprit for urinary tract infections. Normally, these microbes reside in the gastrointestinal tract and find their way into the urinary tract through the urethra. While UTIs affect anyone, some people are at greater risk. These individuals include:
- Sexually active people
- Women at menopause
- People with a suppressed immune system
- Patients using a catheter
When to Consult a Healthcare Professional
While you can manage UTI symptoms at home, you should always seek a doctor’s counsel. Doctors can prescribe the right medication to prevent complications and recurrence. In particular, you should consult a doctor under the following circumstances:
- Persistent, severe symptoms
- Presence of blood in urine
- Recurring UTIs
Home Remedies for UTIs
The most common remedies you’d want to try out when treating a UTI include:
1. Drinking Plenty of Water
Drinking plenty of water increases urine production. In return, the urine helps flush bacteria in the bladder and urethra. To flush out the bacteria, take at least 1.5 liters or 12 8-ounce cups of water daily.
2. Cranberry Juice
Cranberry is not a new remedy in the realm of medicine. People have used it to treat bladder and kidney infections for centuries. The juice’s medicinal value is linked to proanthocyanidins, a compound that prevents E. coli from sticking to urinary tract linings.
3. Vitamin C
Vitamin C helps manage UTIs in two main ways. For one, it supports the production of white blood cells, which fight infections. Moreover, the vitamins acidify urine, eliminating bacteria in the urinary tract.
Probiotics reduce the risk of UTIs by helping maintain a healthy gut and urinary tract flora. These good bacteria are available in fermented foods like yogurt. Moreover, you can purchase them as dietary supplements.
5. Baking Soda
Baking soda neutralizes the acidity of urine, reducing discomfort during urination. Using baking soda as a UTI remedy is straightforward. Dissolve half or one teaspoon in a glass of water. Take the mixture on an empty stomach.
6. Avoiding Irritants
Avoid douches, powders, and personal care products with irritants when you have a UTI. The irritants can exacerbate more discomfort in the genital area. Use fragrance-free products as they don’t have harsh chemicals.
7. Applying Heat
Suppose your UTI causes pain, soak a clean cloth or towel in warm water. Afterward, use the towel to warm-compress the lower abdomen. The compressions will help soothe cramping. Always ensure the compresses are not too hot so you don’t hurt your skin.
8. Emptying the Bladder Regularly
When nursing a UTI, urinate frequently to flush out bacteria in the urinary tract. Avoid holding in urine, as that can cause more discomfort.
There are many ways to prevent UTIs. For one, you can wipe from front to back after using the restroom. This practice minimizes the risk of spreading bacteria.
Other ways to keep the risk of UTI low include:
- Urinating before and after sexual activity
- Wearing breathable cotton underwear
- Avoiding tight-fitting pants
Manage Your UTIs at Home
There are many remedies for UTIs, from taking enough water to warm compresses. Some of these treatment options reduce symptoms like pain, and others flush the bacteria out of the urinary tract.
Since the home remedies don’t treat the root cause, ensure you seek medical attention alongside using the home remedies. Otherwise, the infections could spread to the kidneys and cause complications.
If you are experiencing symptoms of UTIs or urge incontinence, it is essential to consult a healthcare professional for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment. Here at the Incontinence Institute, we can help you navigate the challenges associated with incontinence. Contact us today for more information.