If you’ve ever suffered from a urinary tract infection (UTI), you know that it is no fun at all. It’s painful, and the frequent urination can be very disruptive to your day and to your sleep. It’s important to see your doctor as soon as you suspect a UTI, because if left untreated it can turn into a kidney infection.
Are you prone to UTIs? I bet that in addition to other tips from friends and doctors, you’ve had at least one person recommend cranberry juice or supplements to help prevent them. It’s not news that cranberries contain compounds that can help prevent UTIs, but conventional wisdom has been that concentrated cranberry supplements pack more protective punch than a glass of cranberry juice. A new study in The Archives of Internal Medicine suggest that the juice may actually be better.
The study was a meta analysis, meaning that researchers looked at several studies on cranberry and UTIs. The studies used different amounts of cranberry juice or used cranberry supplements taken once or twice a day. You’d probably expect that taking a concentrated cranberry pill twice a day would be most effective in preventing UTIs, but it turns out that regular cranberry juice drinkers had less frequent UTIs than folks taking supplements.
The only trouble with these results is that in the cranberry juice trials, they aren’t sure how much cranberry folks were consuming. There’s a big difference between cranberry juice cocktails – sweetened with sugar, high fructose corn syrup, or juice – and straight 100 percent cranberry juice.
Thanks to some medical problems I had as a child, I have struggled with UTIs for almost three decades. On the next page, I’ll share some of the techniques that have helped me reduce my UTI frequency over the years.
How to Prevent UTIs Naturally
I am not a doctor, but these are habits that doctors have recommended to me and have helped reduce the number of UTIs I get each year. When I start to slack on these habits, I definitely end up at the urologist’s office more often. If you’re prone to UTIs, chances are you’ve heard at least a few of these suggestions, as well.
- Drink plenty of water – This dilutes your urine and can help flush out bacteria so it won’t get a chance to cause an infection.
- Urinate after sex – Sex can cause bacteria to get into your urinary tract, and urinating right afterwards can flush it away.
- Drink unsweetened cranberry juice – One to two ounces per day has helped me a great deal, but you want to be sure that it’s 100 percent cranberry. The taste is very strong, so I’d suggest knocking it back like a shot.
- Cut down on sugar – Bacteria eats sugar, so try not to feed it.
- Limit alcohol consumption – One to two drinks a day is OK, but more than that can make you more prone to UTIs. I’m not sure why this is, but when I drink more, I seem to end up at the urologist’s office more.
- Avoid synthetic undies – Or, at the very least, choose undies with a natural cotton liner in the crotch area.
- Urinate often – If you’re drinking plenty of water, this won’t be a problem, but it’s also important that you don’t hold it in. If you have to pee, go as soon as possible.
- Take showers, not baths – Soaking in the tub is relaxing, but it’s also an opportunity for bacteria to get into your urinary tract. The occasional bath probably won’t be a problem, but in general stick to showers.
- Eat fresh fruits and veggies – Fresh produce has a lot of water in it, and it can help you stay hydrated.
I’d love to hear from you guys! Are you prone to UTIs? What natural preventive measures have worked for you?