Get this: urinary tract infections are the second most common type of infection a human can get. That’s why they’re responsible for about 8 million doctor visits every single year. Who would have thought that pee could be so problematic?
A UTI occurs when bacteria enters the urinary tract, overstays its welcome, and multiplies. Most UTIs happen in the bladder, but if left untreated, they can spread to the kidneys and wreak havoc. Both women and men get UTIs, but the female anatomy makes women 8 times more likely to. (Sorry, ladies).
For most people, UTI symptoms can include any of the following:
- Sudden urges to pee
- Burning sensation when you pee
- Cloudy or bloody urine
- Your pee has a not-so-cute smell
- Abdominal pain
Once a urinary tract infection is diagnosed, the most common form of treatment is antibiotics. These powerful prescription drugs battle the bad bacteria in your urinary tract and stop it from spreading. No doubt about it, antibiotics are a quick fix. But in the long-run, they can stop working and even cause potential harm.
Ready to (finally) break up with antibiotics? Here’s everything you need to know about the dangers of antibiotics and how to prevent UTIs with no prescription necessary.
What causes a UTI?
From toddlers to grandparents, urinary tract infections can impact anyone at any age. All it takes is a build-up of bacteria to bring on a painful UTI.
Bad pee habits are a major UTI cause. Holding in your pee for long periods of time or not peeing enough can motivate bacteria in the bladder to multiply.
About 90% of UTIs are caused by a bacteria called E. coli, which is found in the intestines. As soon as E. coli moves to the urinary tract, it can take over and cause infection. Poor bathroom hygiene, like wiping back to front, is usually the culprit for E. coli spread.
Sex is another UTI trigger. Penetration can cause the bacteria in a woman’s vagina to shift and find its way to the urinary tract. Certain contraceptives, like spermicides, diaphragms, and condoms, can also be a UTI’s BFF. (Psst. Want to master your UTI-free sex life? Click here.)
Women are more susceptible to UTIs because their urethras are shorter and closer in proximity to the vagina and anus. This means bacteria can spread easier and move up the urinary tract faster. 60% of women will have at least one UTI in their lifetime and 25% of women will experience a recurrent UTI within one year.
Pregnant and menopausal women also have a higher risk of UTI. Hormonal and physical changes can impact the bacteria in the vagina and bladder, making it easier for infection to spread.
Elderly people are highly susceptible to UTIs because of their weakened immune systems. In fact, older adults often develop silent UTIs, which can cause life-threatening damage without any of the usual UTI symptoms.
On top of it all, certain health conditions, urinary tract abnormalities, and even genetics can make you a victim of frequent UTIs. See? We weren’t kidding when we said UTIs are common.
How are UTIs treated?
Here’s the good news: over 25% of UTIs go away on their own. By drinking plenty of water, peeing often, and taking certain supplements, you can politely ask the bacteria to GTFO of your urinary tract. But if your symptoms don’t go away within a couple of days after noticing them, it’s probably time to start treatment.
Antibiotics are the most popular way to cure a UTI already in progress. In fact, UTIs account for about 20% of all antibiotic prescriptions in the US. Your doctor will diagnose your infection through a urine test. Then they’ll prescribe antibiotics for about 3 to 10 days, depending on how severe the infection is.
Why do antibiotics sometimes not work for UTIs?
While antibiotics are tough on infections, it’s actually quite easy for bacteria to become resistant to them. The more resistant bacteria are, the less effective future antibiotics will be. In fact, antibiotic resistance is a serious global health concern. Over 35,000 people die every year from antibiotic-resistant infections in the US alone.
There are a few ways you can become antibiotic-resistant. First, if you stop taking your antibiotics UTI treatment before you’re supposed to. This is a common problem since most people start to feel better after 3 days of treatment and toss the remaining pills. Taking the same antibiotics over and over again can also lead to resistance. This is a major concern for people who struggle with recurrent UTIs.
But antibiotics can cause other issues, too. They can disrupt the gut and vaginal flora, allowing bad bacteria to take over. Taking a daily probiotic, like Utiva’s Probiotic Power supplement, can improve gut flora and urinary tract health while reversing any damage caused by antibiotics.
Plus, antibiotics can sometimes get confused between good and bad bacteria. If the good bacteria is killed off too, you’re more likely to develop future complications, like yeast infections. 22% of women who take antibiotics for a UTI will get a yeast infection.
If antibiotics don’t work, the untreated UTI becomes serious business. Not only could it spread into the kidneys, but it could also make its way into the blood or body tissue. At that point, you’re dealing with a potentially life-threatening situation.
Can cranberries prevent UTIs?
For decades, scientists have been searching for natural remedies to treat UTIs. The most popular? Cranberries.
We all love a good cranberry dessert. But the real power of cranberries comes from a bacteria-fighting compound called proanthocyanidins (or PACs). This all-natural ingredient prevents bacteria from sticking to the walls of your urethra and bladder. In other words, it’s a UTI’s worst enemy.
But simply eating more cranberries or chugging cranberry juice cocktail won’t do the trick. You need at least 36 mg of PACs per day at a high concentration, such as 15%, to effectively prevent UTIs. The most accurate method to measure PACs is called DMAC/A2 and is used primarily by professional brands. Utiva’s Cranberry PACs Supplement has all of the above, packaged in a 100% plant-based and doctor recommended capsule.
Taking one capsule per day will significantly decrease your risk of urinary tract infection and free you from the antibiotics cycle.
Pro tip: make sure to always check that a supplement has the correct dosage before relying on it for UTI prevention. Even big-name cranberry pills for UTI might not have enough PACS to get the job done (or have any PACs at all).
How else can I prevent UTIs without antibiotics?
To tackle painful and recurrent UTIs, the best thing you can be is proactive. Here are other effective home remedies for UTIs that will help you be anti-antibiotic for good.
- Take a D-Mannose supplement to block E. coli from binding to the urinary tract and combat incoming UTIs.
- Keep it bacteria-free down there with cleansing wipes that are specifically designed for UTI prevention.
- Always wipe front to back.
- Drink 6 to 8 glasses of water per day to pee more frequently and flush bacteria out of the system.
- Pee before and after sex and always clean toys and genitals to avoid bacteria spread.
- For menopausal women, try a vaginal estrogen treatment to decrease your risk of infection.
- Take a daily Utiva Probiotic Power to restore good bacteria in the vagina.
- Take more Vitamin C to boost the immune system and make your urine more acidic so that it kills off harmful bacteria.
- Wear cotton underwear and loose-fitting clothing (for women and girls, in particular).
Want to learn more about antibiotics and UTI prevention? Go to www.utivahealth.ca for helpful resources and join our Utiva Community to get tips and tricks from UTI warriors.