An infection that affects any part of the urinary tract such as the urethra, bladder, ureters or kidneys is called urinary tract infection. Owing to the short distance between the anus and the urethra and the anatomy of the urinary system, women have a significantly higher risk of experiencing infection of the urinary tract than men.
The lower urinary tract comprising of the urethra and the bladder is the most common site of infection. If left untreated, the infection may spread to the upper urinary tract, leading to serious infections of the kidneys.
Although urinary tract infections are conventionally treated with antibiotic drugs, alternative therapies with supplements and herbs can provide fast relief from the symptoms of urinary tract infection and prevent recurrent infections.
Ways To Treat A Urinary Tract Infection
Oral antibiotics provide instant relief from pain and discomfort caused by the infection. Uncomplicated infection that affects the lower urinary tract usually heals within a few days after taking antibiotic drugs. However, you should complete the full course of the antibiotic medication as prescribed by your physician to ensure complete elimination of the disease causing bacteria from the urinary tract.
Antibiotics commonly prescribed for treating urinary tract infections include ampicillin, amoxicillin, ciprofloxacin, levofloxacin, nitrofurantoin and sulfamethoxazole-trimethoprim. People susceptible to recurrent urinary tract infections require prolonged treatment with antibiotic medications. Antibiotics are administered intravenously to treat severe infections that require hospitalization.
Cranberry juice is the most popular and effective home remedy for urinary tract infection. The antimicrobial ingredients in cranberry are not destroyed by the stomach acids and digestive enzymes. They are transported into the urinary tract where they prevent the E. coli bacteria from adhering to the walls of the urinary tract. By preventing bacterial adhesion, the antibacterial components in cranberry inhibit the bacteria from growing and multiplying.
Uva ursi, commonly known as bearberry, is widely used in Native American folk medicine for treating urinary tract infection.
The leaves of uva ursi contain two potent antimicrobial compounds, hydroquinone and arbutin, that help to kill the bacteria in the urinary tract. Moreover, the astringent property of tannins in the leaves helps to alleviate discomfort caused by inflammation of the bladder lining.
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Probiotic intravaginal suppositories help to treat urinary tract infection and prevent recurrent infection. By introducing the beneficial lactobacilli bacteria in the vagina, the intravaginal suppository helps to suppress growth of the infection causing bacteria in the urinary tract.
In the Indian traditional medicine system, a variety of herbs is used for treating urinary tract infections. Ginger, pomegranate and Terminalia chebula are recommended for fighting infections caused by the E coli bacteria.
Extracts of these medicinal plants can also fight infections caused by multi-drug resistant bacterial strains that do not respond to conventional pharmacological drugs.
When used as an adjunct to antibiotic therapy, the Indian coleus plant improves the effectiveness of the treatment and minimizes the risk of developing recurrent infections. By preventing bacteria from adhering to the linings of the urinary tract, it exposes them to the antibiotic drug.