Over 80% of women will experience a urinary tract infection (UTI) at least once in their lifetime, and the risk is even greater for post-menopausal women.  Usually caused by bacteria (most commonly E. coli), conventional treatment for a UTI involves antibiotic therapy.   Antibiotics can be damaging to your hormones, promote yeast growth, and may become less effective if used repeatedly .  Many natural treatments exist to both treat and prevent recurrence of UTIs.

Know The Risk Factors

Some factors may increase your risk of developing a UTI.  If you are prone to UTIs, be aware of the following instigators:

  • Sexual intercourse
  • Oral contraceptives and diaphragms
  • Poor immune function, stress, and food sensitivities
  • Poor hygiene and improper wiping
  • Pre-existing infections: vaginal infection, yeast infection, herpes virus outbreak
  • Pregnancy
  • Post-menopausal (due to a deficiency in estriol, a form of estrogen)

Natural Treatments for a UTI

  • Whole unsweetened cranberries and unsweetened cranberry juice
  • Drink plenty of water to flush out the urinary tract
  • Probiotics (Lactobacillis acidophilus, Bifidobacterium longum)
  • D- Mannose (prevents bacterial adhesion to the wall of your urethra)
  • Botanical treatments: Arctostaphylos uva-ursi (Bearberry), Berberis or berberine, Buchu, and Echinacea are commonly used

UTI Prevention

  • Drink plenty of water
  • Supplement daily with a probiotic, multivitamin and Echinacea for immune support and bacterial balance
  • Wear loose fitting, cotton underwear
  • Urinate after intercourse
  • Avoid douching
  • Avoid creams, lubricants, tampons/pads/pantyliners, perfumes with parabens, bleach, scents, or alcohol
  • Avoid holding your urine for long periods of time
  • Always wipe front to back to avoid fecal bacteria from entering the urinary tract

Post-Menopausal UTIs

For women suffering from recurring UTIs during and after menopause, a common factor is a deficiency of estriol.  Estriol is a form of estrogen which declines during menopause.  Low levels of estriol are common among post-menopausal women, and can lead to symptoms of vaginal dryness, vaginitis, cystitis/UTI, vaginal atrophy, and urinary incontinence/leakage.  Bioidentical estriol is a very safe form of estrogen that can be applied as an intra-vaginal cream.  Short-term, low-dose estriol used for 6 months will prevent recurring UTIs in menopausal women.

 

If you think you may have a UTI, consult your ND for proper testing and treatment.  If you are pregnant or think you might be, do not begin any treatment for a UTI without first visiting your doctor.