Urinary tract infections (UTIs) can be tremendously painful and uncomfortable. Though much more common in women, men are still susceptible.For people with a history of UTIs, it's important to take preventative steps to reduce your likelihood of getting even more, and fortunately there is a ton that you can do to reduce your risk and, should you fall victim, to speed up your recovery.
- Drink at least 2L of filtered water per day as water helps flush unwanted bacteria out of the urinary system. Avoid tap water, which may contain chlorine and other irritants, and invest in a good water filter.
- Drink unsweetened 100% cranberry juice (8 – 16 oz) daily. You can do cranberry with sparkling water and lime (and maybe even some stevia) to make it into a tasty mocktail.
- Determine food sensitivities/allergies and remove from diet. See a functional medicine practitioner for guidance.
- Reduce or eliminate sugar as it suppresses the immune system.
- Consume fermented foods daily. Aim for 1/4 cup of raw kimchi, sauerkraut, yogurt (non-dairy if you are intolerant), beet kvass, kefir, or whatever other fermented foods you enjoy.
- Consume garlic and onions daily.
- Consume foods rich in beta-carotene (e.g. sweet potato, squash, carrots, dark leafy greens) daily.
- Consider a gut healing protocol, especially if you have a history of antibiotic usage. A functional medicine practitioner can guide you through one.
- Consider the Interstitial Cystitis Elimination Diet. More information can be found here: http://www.todaysdietitian.com/newarchives/020314p34.shtml
- Practice proper wiping (front to back) when using the bathroom.
- Avoid holding urine. Urinate as soon as the urge strikes.
- Wear breathable underwear (e.g. cotton).
- Urinate before and after sex.
- Practice Kegel exercises.
Supplements and Botanicals
Supplements to consider
- Cranberry extract
- Vitamin C
- N- acetyl-D –glucosamine (NAG)
Botanicals to consider
Check dosing on packaging.
- Urtica dioica (Nettle Leaf)
- Taraxacum officinale (Dandelion Root)
- Arctostaphylos uva ursi (Uva Ursi or Bearberry) - do not use for more than 2 weeks as can irritate liver and GI
- Hydrastis canadensis (Goldenseal)
- Allium sativum (Garlic)
- Centella Asiatic (Gotu Kola)
- Consider a combination product
Consult with your healthcare practitioner to determine the best supplements and botanicals at the correct dosages for your particular case. And, as always, consult with your practitioner before embarking upon a new treatment protocol.