How Your Diet Can Affect the Occurrence of UTIs
Most women have suffered from a urinary tract infection at least once in their life. Others seem to be plagued by UTIs, getting them time after time throughout their life. What most women don't realize is that urinary tract infections can potentially cause kidney damage and failure if left unchecked. Almost 12 million women per year will develop a urinary tract infection in any given year, and while most will seek expensive medical treatments, many more will attempt to cope with the frequent urination, constant need to urinate, pelvic aches, bloody or cloudy urine, fatigue, fever, chills and night sweats. These painful symptoms can make your life miserable, yet many people don't see their doctor because of embarrassment or costly medical treatments.
The Cause of UTI's
Most cases of urinary tract infections are the result of bacteria such as E.coli which find their way to your urinary tract. These bad bacteria can only be fought off by a totally healthy immune system, and most of us have a somewhat lowered immune system due to the busy lives and stress we are under. UTIs can also result for STDs such as herpes, gonorrhea and chlamydia.
How Your Diet Can Help
The latest studies seem to correlate a woman's diet with how often she will have a UTI and how severe it will be. In order to cure UTIs it is necessary to kill the bacteria in your urinary tract and get it out of your body. When the body is operating correctly, it will naturally flush bacteria from the body on its own. The idea is to create a hostile environment for bacteria, and some nutritionists believe that eating acidic foods and taking lots of Vitamin C can do just that. The Vitamin C also boosts your immune system, helping your body in its fight against UTIs.
Cranberry Juice, Yogurt and Cheese
Most of us have heard, or even been told by our doctor that drinking cranberry juice can help UTIs, and spare you the pain of frequent recurrences. Both cranberry and cranberry-ligonberry are helpful in the prevention of UTI's and a new study indicates that some other fruit juices as well as fermented milk products may also stop UTIs in their tracks.
Women who drank one glass of cranberry or other berry juice per day were about 35% less likely to develop a UTI than those who did not, while women who ate yogurt and cheese at least three times per week were a whopping 80% less likely to experience chronic UTIs. The reason berry juices are so effective in the fight against urinary tract infections is because they are full of flavonols which is a chemical some plants naturally produce as a response to bacterial infections. Cranberry juice also contains a natural chemical known as proanthocyanidins which interfere with the ability of E. coli to bind to the urinary tract walls. Fermented milk products contain beneficial bacteria which move into the digestive tract, displacing the harmful bacteria which cause UTIs.
Foods to Avoid When You Get Chronic UTIs
You now know the foods to consume to fight off UTIs, but there are foods you should avoid as well. Processed foods, chocolates, coffee, tea, spicy foods, fizzy drinks, soda, beer and other alcoholic beverages should all be avoided in order to nip your UTI in the bud.
You should only consume cranberry or other berry products if you do not suffer from any allergies to berries. Also, due to the natural bite of cranberry juice, most cranberry juice products are sweetened, so don't go overboard. Finally, especially if you are self-treating, you must be extra vigilant to ensure your UTI has not spread to the kidneys. If you develop flank pain, shivering, fever, chills, or blood in the urine, see your doctor immediately.