Disclaimer: I am not a doctor. This is all advice off personal experience and talking to others in a similar situation. If you are suffering from a serious UTI/cystitis please see a doctor ASAP.
Okay ladies let’s get serious. Have you ever had a urinary tract infection? It’s a horrible realisation that washes over you as you go to the bathroom for the hundredth time in what seems like an hour, only to find a tiny dribble escaping. It burns and hurts, and you can be running a fever and having pain in your muscles near your bladder and kidneys too.
Sufferers of reoccurring UTIs have all been guilty of trying to cure it themselves. We’ve all done it; when you think that by drinking copious amounts of cranberry juice or trying that new herbal remedy and then holding on until you can fall asleep, and you’ll be magically well in the morning. Only you find out you wake up with stabbing pains in your back and have to get yourself to the doctor or even the hospital, post haste!
Once you get a UTI, it can reoccur quite easily. So you can find yourself getting it again and again and again. It’s not only frustrating, but can get harder and harder to treat as your body becomes used to antibiotics. This is so dangerous, as an untreated UTI can lead to severe damage to the bladder and even kidney failure. So it is imperative that it is taken care of as soon as possible.
For long-term sufferers, or people who have found themselves more susceptible than not to infection, some lifestyle changes may have to be made to ensure you’re not on an endless cycle of medication.
Some things I have found help are:
- Taking daily cranberry supplements – ditch the juice, it’s full of sugar and it doesn’t absorb as well as the supplements do.
- Take daily Vitamin C supplements – and eat a lot of fruits and vegetables that contain vitamin C, it helps the cranberry absorb better.
- Reduce the amount of stress in your life, if you’re a natural worrier or suffer from anxiety, take steps to reduce this, as UTIs are often brought on by periods of extreme stress. Meditate, listen to relaxing music, do breathing exercises, read a book, take a bath, do anything to reduce those levels once you feel them rising.
- Pee after sex – every damn time. Do not skip it, even if you’re exhausted, it’ll just take a second!
- Drink more water, have some right now! It sounds simple but a lot of us do not get enough. Have a big 1L next to your desk or work area every day. If you struggle with the ‘boring’ factor, try putting some fresh fruit or citrus slices into the water to liven it up.
- Lower your caffeine intake – it’s a diuretic that strips your body of hydration, I’m not saying never enjoy coffee again, but reduce the amount you’re drinking during the day, say from 4 down to 2, and try and replace one of them with decaf or a different drink.
- Drink alcohol as minimally as possible – alcohol is terrible for your renal system and can weaken your immune system, thus if you have to go on antibiotics your chances of becoming sick increase substantially.
- Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables – staying healthy will give your body the tools it needs to fight sickness when it comes.
- If you already have a UTI or infection, go to the doctor as soon as possible, as it will stop you from becoming really, really sick, UTIs can turn into infections very quickly and can turn a simple 1-day off work into a whole week off if not treated carefully.
Putting your body and health first in the short and long term can help prevent these infections from coming back. You will find your own tips and what triggers your own body along the journey, listen to yourself. When you need help, take the steps to get it. Take the time away from your busy schedule to help yourself live a happier life!