Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)

UTI is an infection in any part of the urinary system, the kidneys, bladder, urethra or ureters. Most infections involve the lower urinary tract i.e. the bladder and urethra. However UTI’s can involve the ureters and kidneys in the upper tract. Upper tract UTI’s are rarer than lower tract UTI’s and are usually more severe.

Women are at a greater risk of developing UTI than men reason being, women’s urethra is smaller and becomes infected more easily and is near the anus which is a source of contamination.

Most UTI’s are caused by bacteria, but some are caused by fungi and in rare cases by viruses.

Symptoms of UTI

  • Strong persistent urge to urinate or when urinating.
  • Passing frequent small amounts of urine.
  • Urine that appears cloudy/red/bright pink or cola colored.
  • Strong smelling urine.
  • Pelvic pain in women especially in the center of the pelvis and around the area of the pubic bone.

Part of Urinary Tract affected                    Symptoms

  • Kidneys (Acute pyelonephritis)  –   Upper back & side pain, high fever, shaking & chills, nausea & vomiting.
  • Bladder (Cystitis) –  Pelvic pressure, lower abdomen discomfort, frequent painful urination, blood in urine.
  • Urethra (Urethritis) –  Burning sensation when urinating, discharge.

Diet & Nutrition for UTI

Drink a lot of water, even if you are not thirsty. This will help flush out bacteria. According to most research, the pH of urine is a large factor in how hospitable the urinary tract will be to the bacteria that causes UTI. Because our diet directly affects the pH of our urine, we can manipulate this balance to be beneficial for UTI fighting compounds already present in the body.

Depleting your body of water leads to dehydration. When the body is dehydrated, bacteria can grow in the bladder. Drinking abundant amounts of water flushes the kidneys & bladder, prevents dehydration & additionally reduces risk of developing kidney stones.

Do not allow yourself to hold your urine because you think you are too busy to urinate. When you sense the urge to urinate and hold in the urine instead, you put yourself at risk for major urinary tract issues. Retaining the urine also allows germs that are floating in your bladder to remain there. Emptying the bladder promptly flushes out bacteria.

UTI’s left untreated can spread into kidneys or become chronic and much more difficult to treat.

 

FOODS TO EAT/DRINK

  • WATER – Drinking plenty of water about 8 cups a day is one of the best things for your urinary & digestive systems.
  • BERRIES – Cranberries, blueberries, raspberries, & other berries promote urinary tract health & provide protection against infection.
  • PROBIOTICS – Yogurt, cheese they help put the bad bacteria at bay.
  • FIBER – Lack of regular bowel movements can cause pressure in the urinary tract & block urine flow, allowing bacteria to grow. A diet high in fiber paired with drinking enough water promotes healthy digestion & regular movements. Example whole grain breads, apples, bananas, dried beans, lentils etc.
  • VITAMIN C – Oranges, lemons, strawberries, & green leafy vegetables packed with Vitamin C makes urine more acidic, which helps prevent bacteria from growing in the system.

FOODS TO AVOID

Caffeinated coffee, sodas, alcohol, spicy foods, artificial sweeteners. Avoid a lot of acidic fruits, such as oranges, lemon or limes during the infection. They can irritate your bladder. However, once your infection is gone, eating acidic fruits with vitamin c can help prevent future infections.