Urinary Tract Infections: Natural Solutions

Urinary tract infections are not something we sit around the dinner table discussing, but google searching on the internet, that’s another story. Believe it or not, this topic is one of the most highly searched health terms. That means, you are not alone, and let’s hope there’s valuable information out there. When I asked my audience on media the other day what conditions they wanted information for, this was what they decided! I had NO CLUE that so many people were interested in UTI solutions, but considering that if many people get them, especially women, elderly, and men with BPH, I shouldn’t be surprised. The other thing to take note of is that if you get them, they often reoccur, which means antibiotics over and over again if you go a traditional treatment route and are unable to prevent them.

Let’s get down to business.

What causes Urinary Tract Infections?

The short answer? E. coli getting into the urinary tract, penetrating the cell lining and taking up shop. This is just another case of infection due to bacterial overgrowth.

How do you treat or prevent Urinary Tract Infections?

This is where visiting a doctor who can diagnose the infection and evaluate the severity is important. If there is a severe active infection, you may want to consider antibiotics as the treatment option that is needed because no one wants it to progress into a kidney infection! However, if it is somewhat early and benign, you may be able to get away with an antimicrobial combo like Uva Ursi and Berberine to get the job done.

In the case of prevention, my preference in practice is the use of cranberry extract that contains at least 36mg PAC (proanthocyanidins). These plant compounds found in cranberries have the ability to attach to E. coli and PREVENT them from attaching to the lining in the urinary tract. Having said that, that’s why we use this in folks who have the tendency to get them over and over. You know you want prevention for these patients, and cranberry extract supplements tend to be a great solution! Studies show that if you combine a cranberry extract with 36mg PACs with a broad spectrum probiotic, that it has even slightly better prevention rates (which were already great!) I’m pretty transparent about the supplement industry and what is pretty standard across the board and what you need to be intentional about in terms of quality, and this is one that is notorious for not having many PACs when tested. Be sure to ask your doc for a good cranberry extract!

In addition to antimicrobials for treatment or cranberry extracts for prevention, whether they be prescriptive or natural, you want to make sure to do implement the follow lifestyle habits:

  • drink plenty of water because hydration will help drive urination, flushing out the urinary tract
  • urinate after intercourse
  • wipe front to back, ladies. You don’t want anything bacterial from the back entering the front.
  • steer clear of too much sugar and simple carbs in your diet, because that tends to be a fuel source that bacteria thrive on!
  • take a probiotic or eat fermented foods to help keep your internal environment balanced

Implement these simple solutions, and you could avoid a trip to the doc, another round of antibiotics, and all of the time you waste not being able to pee, having burning during urination, or pain in the back and pelvis!

Cranberry Sage Cocktail

This recipe is for all those craft cocktail drinkers out there. I have been researching shrubs for about 6 months now, so I was super excited to see this inspiration in the Costco magazine.  I get inspiration all over the place…and this one just happened to come from Costco! First things first, you need to make a shrub.  What is a shrub? It is a vinegar syrup.  Weird, I know.  However, they’ve been used forever as soda.  You can use them with club soda as a virgin cocktail or use it with club soda and alcohol for a cocktail!  This has a vinegar bite that you will appreciate if you like kombucha.  If you have never had kombucha, you may want to try a cranberry kombucha prior to putting the effort for this shrub!
Cranberry Sage Cocktail
1 pound cranberries
1 cup honey
1 cup apple cider vinegar
2 fresh sage leaves
club soda
Preheat oven to 350F. Place the cranberries on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for about 20 minutes.  Transfer the roasted cranberries to a quart sized mason jar.  Add the honey and cover and seal the mason jar.  Shake it so the cranberries are covered with honey.  Let it stand in the dark, cool place for 5 hours.
Add 1 cup of apple cider vinegar to the cranberries and shake the mixture to dissolve as much of the honey as possible.  Add the fresh sage leaves and shake so they are soaking in the vinegar.  Let the mixture stand for 24 hours in a dark, cool place, shaking regularly.
Strain the mixture through a seive and store in a clean mason jar.
Serve 2 oz of cranberry sage shrub, 2 oz vodka, with some club soda.  Garnish with a couple cranberries.