Urinary tract infection (UTI) is a general term for a bacterial infection that develops in the urinary tract. Urine is usually sterile and free of bacteria or viruses. But, if bacteria enter the urethra, an infection can occur. An infection in the urethra is called urethritis.
If the infection reaches the bladder it's called cystitis or a bladder infection. This is the most common type of urinary tract infection.
If left untreated, the infection can reach the kidneys. A kidney infection (pyelonephritis) can be dangerous, but if treated quickly, there is usually no permanent damage.
Urinary tract infections are most commonly caused by stool bacteria called Escherichia coli (E.coli). This is very common in women because of the close proximity of the opening of the urethra to the anus. In most cases, the infections are easily treatable, but some women are more prone to reoccurring UTIs.
If you suspect that you have an infection, go to your doctor and have your urine tested. It's a quick simple procedure and results are usually given on the spot or within a few hours. If you suffer from urinary tract infections often, additional tests might be needed.
Kidney infections, if not treated promptly are dangerous and can lead to blood poisoning, damaged kidneys and even death.
If you have any of the following symptoms, see a doctor immediately. Do not attempt to treat yourself:
The most common treatment for UTI is antibiotics. For treatment of cystitis, antibiotics are usually prescribed for 3 days and for kidney infection treatment is usually 7 to 14 days. In some cases, painkillers may also be prescribed.
Although excellent results can be obtained with antibiotics, overuse of has caused bacteria to build a resistance to them in many cases, resulting in a reoccurring UTI infections for many women.
There are treatments that work very effectively and are ultimately healthier for the body. For those women for whom antibiotics have not met their need or for those women who do not want to use antibiotics, the methods below could provide relief.
Whatever treatment you decide to use, visit your doctor first for tests and discuss possible treatments.
D-Mannose: D-Mannose is a simple sugar similar to glucose. It is found in many fruits including oranges, cranberries and blueberries and is also produced in the body. When a concentrated amount is ingested it prevents bacteria from attaching to the walls of the urinary tract, so it is washed away by urine. D-mannose has no side effects and can be used safely by diabetics.
For additional information on D-Mannose, read this excellent article by Dr. Mercola:
Cranberry juice: Unsweetened 100% cranberry juice or cranberry extract tablets have been found to be effective in fighting urinary tract infections for many women. While it was once thought that the acidifying effect on the urine destroyed bacteria, recent research has shown that cranberries contain a low level of D-mannose and other compounds that reduce the ability of bacteria to adhere to the walls of the urinary tract, and are flushed away by urine. In addition, cranberries strengthen the immune system, which helps the body fight off infection.
The pain caused by UTI can be unbearable. Below are some useful suggestions that can help you get immediate relief: