A Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) is never a pleasant experience.
As we age UTIs can become more common due to changes to our urinary system affecting the kidneys, urethra, bladder and ureters, which make it more difficult for our bodies to rid themselves of bad bacteria.
UTIs occur when bacteria enters the urinary tract and multiplies. While both men and women can be affected, women are more prone to the condition because they have a shorter urethra, so it’s easier for bacteria to enter their bladder.
Some key changes to our urinary tract as we age include:
UTIs are not considered a serious condition, but it left untreated the infection can spread to the kidneys and bloodstream and become life-threatening.
Doctors will usually prescribe antibiotics to treat the infection and ease symptoms. While your symptoms may only last two to three days, the antibiotics course will often go for seven days to ensure the bacteria is removed.
There are also a number of natural treatments that doctors say can help to prevent UTIs and relieve symptoms.
Studies suggest that live cultures, such as those found in probiotics and natural yoghurt, can be helpful. Harvard Health reports that probiotics may help prevent UTIs by promoting ‘good bacteria’ to keep the vagina healthy. Probiotics are found in tablet form at the pharmacy as well as fermented foods, such as yoghurt, some cheeses, raw sauerkraut and kombucha.
This powerful vitamin helps keep urine acidic and balance bacteria in the urinary tract. You can take it in supplement form or consume plenty of vitamin C-rich foods, such as oranges, lemons, grapefruits, strawberries, blueberries, green leafy vegetables, and green capsicum.
Cranberries are often talked about as a helpful natural treatment for UTIs, but experts are split on whether or not they are truly effective. A recent study found that in reality they do little to help. That being said, doctors say there is no harm in taking a daily cranberry capsule if you feel it helps.
While UTIs are a recurring condition, experts say there are ways to help reduce their frequency and treat them both naturally and with medication.
If you’re prone to UTIs, try these small changes to help keep your urinary tracy and nether region clean.
*This is general advice, if you have symptoms of a UTI that worsen or notice blood in your urine, fever and back pain this could be a sign the infection has moved to your bladder and you should seek medical advice.