Chronic ailments can become quite a hassle, especially when there are several symptoms, including pain, that interrupt the normal daily schedule. One of the worst things to deal with is a urinary tract infection. Having one is bad enough, but suffering from recurrent or chronic UTIs can really have an impact on your life. When it comes to treating a UTI, aside from visiting a doctor to get the proper antibiotics, there are several suggestions out there, some of which are more myth than reality.
The truth about UTIs
The best course of action to treat a UTI is to see a doctor. Because this is an infection caused by bacteria, it’s not something that is going to clear up on its own. It could get better, but that leads to the possibility of chronic infection, since it’s unlikely the bacteria disappear completely without a proper course of antibiotics.
At the same time, there are plenty of ways to help out with symptoms while a patient waits for the antibiotics to run their course. There are also some suggestions that are viable for assisting in more quickly remedying the infection itself. Take a look at some of the most common suggestions and the facts behind them regarding reliability of an overall healthy effect.
One of the biggest debates on clearing up a UTI has to do with bathing. Much like suggestions for women suffering from a vaginal yeast infection, there are several different ideas about how to bathe to ease or remedy the UTI. However, there is an initial problem with this that has to be taken into consideration.
Still, some believe that taking a bath with certain ingredients will help relieve the pain and burning of a UTI and could help draw out the bacteria. Exploring the suggestions, the findings show the following:
- Epsom salt. Because Epsom salt relieves pain, as well as detoxifies, it is an acceptable ingredient to a bath to help with a UTI. In fact, a patient could experience pain relief in the kidneys, back, abdomen, and urethra, as well as assistance with any pain experienced in the gut due to the antibiotics, all without causing a toxic environment.
- Apple cider vinegar. Many people tout apple cider vinegar as a cure-all, mostly because it has antibacterial properties. While it’s possible that consumption of apple cider vinegar could help in tandem with antibiotics for quicker results, and that bathing in water infused with the substance may lead to a cleaner area with fewer bacteria, there is no scientific evidence that this is a cure for a UTI.
- Baking soda. For a very long time, the old wives’ tale of baking soda treating a kidney infection has pervaded, assuming that the baking soda would help with filtration in the kidneys. However, recent studies show that this actually could be detrimental to a person’s health, either ingested or in the form of a bath. Some of the complications it could cause include respiratory depression, alkalosis, and electrolyte imbalance.
With liquids, the two biggest factors considered are water and cranberry juice. Each plays a role, but only in certain capacities.
- Water. Getting enough water (six to eight eight-ounce servings per day) is essential to maintaining good health. It also assists in making sure that the urine stays diluted and processes properly through the body. This can help relieve the pain of a UTI, flush out the bacteria, and maintain normal flow. In addition, staying hydrated helps prevent further infections from occurring.
- Cranberry juice. Drinking cranberry juice doesn’t cure a UTI. However, the increased fluid intake can still help flush out the bacteria in the urinary tract. At the same time, unsweetened, undiluted cranberry juice can help prevent a UTI, since the antioxidants keep bacteria from growing in the bladder.
- Sugar and caffeine. Both of these are irritants to the urinary tract, and they can exacerbate symptoms of a UTI. It’s best to avoid sugary and caffeinated drinks at all times but especially when a UTI persists. Do the same with alcohol.
Other personal care tips
Another great method of assisting antibiotics with ridding the body of the infection is to get some vitamin C. Obviously, it’s commonly used as a preventative method against certain types of infection, but as an immune booster, vitamin C can also help combat a UTI by lifting the immune system so that the body naturally begins to fight with the antibiotics against the intrusive bacteria.
For pain, using over the counter solutions that don’t involve aspirin, such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen, and naproxen sodium, can help relieve the symptoms, easing the body back into feeling normal enough to conquer the usual daily tasks. A patient can also apply heat to the affected areas in order to help sooth the pain in the flanks, back, and abdomen.
Self-care is important, especially when a person is sick or suffering from a painful condition. A UTI is a painful illness, meeting both hose criteria, and that makes it especially important to get treatment, as well as to seek out ways to help ease the troubles the infection can cause. Functioning like a normal human being, and getting through a tough day at work or at home, becomes nearly impossible with a full set of symptoms, but taking the right steps can ease and even stop some of those symptoms, making it much easier to feel like getting back to normal.