MN 561The Urinary Tract Infection Discussion

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MN 561The Urinary Tract Infection Discussion

MN 561The Urinary Tract Infection Discussion

 

 

 

UTIs are responsible for > 7 million physician visits
annually and approximately 15% of all community-prescribed antibiotics in the
US are dispensed for UTI’s. In the US,
UTIs account for > 100,000 hospital admissions annually, most often for
pyelonephritis (European Association of Urology, 2015). Describe the current
clinical practice guidelines for diagnosis, management, and prevention of
UTI’s.

What is a urinary tract infection?

urinary tract infection (UTI) is an infection that affects any part of the urinary tract, including the kidneys, ureters, bladder, or urethra (1Trusted Source).

Bacteria are the most common cause of UTIs, but fungi can also cause infection (1Trusted Source).

The two strains of bacteria Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus saprophyticus account for about 80% of cases (2Trusted Source).

Common UTI symptoms include (1Trusted Source2Trusted Source):

  • a burning sensation when peeing
  • frequent urination
  • cloudy or dark urine
  • urine with a strong odor
  • a feeling of incomplete bladder emptying
  • pelvic pain

Though UTIs can affect anyone, women are more prone to infection. This is because the urethra, the tube that carries urine out of the bladder, is shorter in women than men. This makes it easier for bacteria to enter and reach the bladder (2Trusted Source).

In fact, about half of all women will experience a UTI at some point in their lives (3Trusted Source).

Antibiotics are used to treat UTIs and are sometimes used in low doses long-term to prevent recurrence (4Trusted Source).

There are also several natural ways to protect against infections and reduce the risk of recurrence.

 Drink plenty of fluids

Hydration status has been linked to the risk of urinary tract infection.

This is because regular urination can help flush bacteria from the urinary tract to prevent infection (5Trusted Source).

One study examined participants with long-term urinary catheters and found that low urine output was associated with an increased risk of developing a UTI (6Trusted Source).

An older 2003 study looked at 141 girls and showed that low fluid intake and infrequent urination were both linked to recurrent UTIs (7Trusted Source).

In another study, 28 women self-monitored their hydration status using a probe to measure their urine concentration. They found that an increase in fluid intake led to a decrease in UTI frequency (8Trusted Source).

To stay hydrated and meet your fluid needs, it’s best to drink water throughout the day and always when you’re thirsty.

SUMMARYDrinking plenty of liquids can decrease the risk of UTIs by making you pee more, which helps remove bacteria from the urinary tract.

2. Increase vitamin C intake

Some evidence shows that increasing your intake of vitamin C could protect against urinary tract infections.

Vitamin C is thought to work by increasing the acidity of the urine, thereby killing off the bacteria that cause infection (9Trusted Source).

An older 2007 study of UTIs in pregnant women looked at the effects of taking 100 mg of vitamin C every day (10Trusted Source).

The study found that vitamin C had a protective effect, cutting the risk of UTIs by more than half in those taking vitamin C, compared with the control group (10Trusted Source).

Some evidence shows that increasing your intake of vitamin C could protect against urinary tract infections.

Vitamin C is thought to work by increasing the acidity of the urine, thereby killing off the bacteria that cause infection (9Trusted Source).

An older 2007 study of UTIs in pregnant women looked at the effects of taking 100 mg of vitamin C every day (10Trusted Source).

The study found that vitamin C had a protective effect, cutting the risk of UTIs by more than half in those taking vitamin C, c

 

Another study looked at behavioral factors that affected the risk of UTIs and found that a high vitamin C intake decreased the risk (11Trusted Source).

Fruits and vegetables are especially high in vitamin C and are a good way to increase your intake.

Red peppers, oranges, grapefruit, and kiwifruit all contain the full recommended amount of vitamin C in just one serving (12Trusted Source).

SUMMARYIncreasing vitamin C intake may decrease the risk of UTIs by making the urine more acidic, thus killing off infection-causing bacteria.

3. Drink unsweetened cranberry juice

Drinking unsweetened cranberry juice is one of the most well-known natural remedies for urinary tract infections.

Cranberries work by preventing bacteria from adhering to the urinary tract, thus preventing infection (13Trusted Source14Trusted Source).

In a 2016 study, women with recent histories of UTIs drank an 8-ounce (240-mL) serving of cranberry juice every day for 24 weeks. Those who drank cranberry juice had fewer UTI episodes than the control group (15Trusted Source).

Another study showed that consuming cranberry products may lower the number

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of UTIs in a year, especially for women who have recurrent UTIs (16Trusted Source).

A 2015 study showed that treatment with cranberry juice capsules equivalent to two 8-ounce servings of cranberry juice could cut the risk of UTIs in half (17Trusted Source).

However, some other studies suggest that cranberry juice may not be as effective in the prevention of UTIs.

One 2012 review looked at 24 studies with a total of 4,473 participants. Though some smaller studies did find that cranberry products could reduce UTI frequency, other larger studies found no benefit (18Trusted Source).

Although the evidence is mixed, cranberry juice may help reduce the risk of urinary tract infections.

Keep in mind that these benefits only apply to unsweetened cranberry juice, rather than sweetened commercial brands.

Take a probiotic

Probiotics are beneficial microorganisms that are consumed through food or supplements. They can promote a healthy balance of bacteria in your gut.

Probiotics are available in supplement form or can be found in fermented foods, such as kefir, kimchi, kombucha, and probiotic yogurt.

The use of probiotics has been linked to everything from improved digestive health to enhanced immune function (19Trusted Source20Trusted Source).

Some studies also show that certain strains of probiotics may decrease the risk of UTIs.

One study found that Lactobacillus, a common probiotic strain, helped prevent UTIs in adult women (21Trusted Source).

Another study found that taking both probiotics and antibiotics was more effective at preventing recurrent UTIs than using antibiotics alone (22Trusted Source).

Antibiotics, the main line of defense against UTIs, can cause disturbances in levels of gut bacteria. Probiotics may be beneficial in restoring gut bacteria after antibiotic treatment (23Trusted Source).

Studies have shown that probiotics can increase levels of good gut bacteria and reduce side effects associated with antibiotic use (24Trusted Source25Trusted Source).

. Practice these healthy habits

Preventing urinary tract infections starts with practicing a few good bathroom and hygiene habits.

First, it’s important not to hold urine for too long. This can lead to a buildup of bacteria, resulting in infection (26Trusted Source).

Peeing after sexual intercourse can also reduce the risk of UTIs by preventing the spread of bacteria (11Trusted Source).

Additionally, those who are prone to UTIs should avoid using spermicide, as it has been linked to an increase in UTIs (27Trusted Source).

Finally, when you use the toilet, make sure you wipe front to back. Wiping from back to front can cause bacteria to spread to the urinary tract and is associated with an increased risk of UTIs (28Trusted Source).

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