Bladder infections, otherwise known as urinary tract infections (UTI), are very common infections.  They can be extremely painful, and not to mention potentially dangerous to your health if left untreated. Normally, there is no bacteria anywhere in the urinary tract (urethra, bladder, ureters, and kidneys).  Problems arise when bacteria enter the urethra and make their way to the bladder, and possibly up the ureters the kidneys.  This infection can cause pain the lower abdomen, burning urination, frequent urination, fever, urge to urinate even when no urine passes, heaviness and cramping in the lower abdomen, blood in the urine, and back pain.

 Women are thought to contract them more easily because of a shorter urethra, which makes the journey for bacteria to the bladder short and quick.  Women can easily get a UTI after intercourse because when bacteria is pushed from the outside of the body into the vicinity near the urethra.

The typical treatment a doctor may give is antibiotics.  However, if you frequently get UTIs you may want to find other ways in which to prevent UTI’s from happening.  Frequent use of antibiotics can make bacteria more resistant to antibiotic treatment, so that you need a stronger dose and different type of antibiotic each time.  Also, antibiotics can create other problems in the netherregions like yeast infections.  Solving one problem while creating another doesn’t sound like a good solution.

Fortunately, there is a lot you can do to help prevent and deal with UTI’s

  • Take D-Mannose supplement:  This is a sugar-like powder supplement that is not absorbed by the body but excreted in the urine.  Bacteria in the bladder hook onto this molecule(thinking its food)  and can be flushed out when you urinate.  It does not kill friendly bacteria (so no risk for a yeast infection).  Its safe and tastes good too!  You can use it as a preventative supplement, or try it when you feel symptoms coming on.  It is 10-50 times stronger than cranberry. 
  • Stop sugar:  This is important, as bacteria thrive on sugar.  Often people who get recurrent UTIs consume a lot of sugar in their diet, making a bacteria-friendly environment.  Drinking cranberry juice is probably feeding the bacteria more than it is flushing it out.  Stopping sugar is important during a bladder infection, but can also stop infections from recurring.
  • Keep Clean:  Often bacteria from the anus can make its way to the urethra and cause an infection.  Be sure to shower before intercourse to lower the risk of this happening.  Wipe from front to back to prevent bacteria from the rear getting to the front (your urethra).
  • Urinate before and after sex:  This can prevent bacteria from creeping up the urethra.  Flush it out before it has a chance to cling on and cause a painful infection.
  • Get some acupuncture:  There are many points as well as herbal formulas for helping UTI’s that are not responsive to antibiotics.  I can personally attest to acupuncture alone preventing visits to urgent care.   Yaay, acupuncture :)

There are lots of things you can do to prevent the discomfort and pain of a UTI.  Hope this helps!

**This article is not intended as a substitute for a visit to your doctor.  If you think you may have a UTI, please see a doctor to get treatment, as a kidney infection is not something to risk.