Urinary Tract Infections
UTIs are mainly caused mainly when bacteria set up home in the bladder.
A person with a UTI experiences pain and burning sensation while urinating, constant pressure in the Urinary tract and bladder, back pain, frequent urge to urinate, involuntary dripping of urine when not using the restroom, cloudy and foul smelling urine, fever, nausea and chills.
Women who have attained menopause, diabetic women with high blood sugar levels, pregnant women and women whose partners use condoms with spermicidal foam are prone to getting a UTI.
The chances of getting an infection increases if a woman gets it once. For some women it is genetic.
The most common UTI causing bacteria is E. coli.
How do people with UTIs deal with it?
People are usually prescribed:
- Antibiotics to kill the bacteria
- Lots of water to make one frequently urinate and flush out bacteria
- In terms of dietary solutions, Cranberry is the most commonly prescribed natural food product either as a juice or fruit to fight the infection in addition to antibiotics and water.
Cranberry as a fruit contains the following components
88% water, Fructose (a natural sugar), Vitamin C and Special components called anthocyanidins and Proanthocyanidins (PAC)
What are the forms of Cranberry consumed?
- Fresh whole berries
- Juices (10 to 25% pure juices)
- Capsules (in concentrated form)
- Whole cranberries should be consumed with lots of water.
- The most common form consumed is Cranberry juice and Cranberry cocktails.
- Cranberry cocktail contains 25% cranberry juice +75 % with other fruit juices for sweetness (reduce the tart flavor of the cranberry) is most consumed by women to get relief from the symptoms of UTIs.
- Concentrated cranberry juice with no added sugars and is tart.
How do PACs help?
Every time one has a UTI, the bacteria make a home for themselves in the Urinary bladder. They anchor themselves to inner walls of the bladder/ stick to the walls very tightly. Bacteria use special claws to fix themselves tightly onto the wall. They grow in number and spread inside the urinary bladder.
Cranberry has special components called PACs in them. This special component causes the bacteria to detach from the walls of the bladder. It destroys the claws that the bacteria uses to anchor itself to the bladder and grow to throw it out.
What form of Cranberry is the best and how much PACs should I consume?
Eating whole cranberries don’t help because they don’t contain the components that fight the infection.
Cranberry capsules are not as effective. They contain other additives and chemicals that are not good for health and are not the natural form of PACs.
Commercially available cranberry juice is loaded with sugar and hardly has any PACs in them.
It has been clinically proven that 36 mg of PACs is needed to kill bacteria and get rid of them.
So always make sure you look for a juice which contains 36mg of PACs and no added artificial sugars which can worsen the infection.
So Cranberry PACs are known to kill bacteria in the bladder. Every time the bacteria are killed, the contents of the bacteria/ pieces remain behind. These remnants can cause the infection to recur.
Cranberry juice alone doesn’t provide relief from other symptoms of UTIs like the uncomfortable itching burning sensation in the intimate area. Frequent urination can result in loss of Vitamins and minerals from the body.
How can you deal with the other symptoms apart from killing the bacteria? Is there a holistic solution to the issue?
Yes. Here are some measures you can take to prevent UTI:
- The simplest way to prevent UTI is to flush out urine from the bladder regularly, and for that, you need to always stay hydrated
- Do not hold your pee for too long
- Develop good bowel habits, as diarrhea or constipation may cause infection from the rectum to stray to the vagina
- Wipe from front to back after urinating or excreting
- Pee before and after sex
- Shower instead of soaking in a bath, and avoid using oils
- Avoid using spermicides or a diaphragm during sex
- Wear cotton underwear and keep the genital area clean and dry
- Sanitary pads and menstrual cups are a healthier alternative to tampons
- Avoid using deodorant or perfumed products around the genital area
- Sanitise the toilet seat before using a public restroom
Another solution available is to include &Me UTI Drink in your diet. Each bottle contains 18gm of Cranberry A-proanthocyanidins (PACs). So if you consume 2 bottles a day it is proven to benefit UTI. The drink’s diuretic property helps flush out toxins from the urinary tract. The Ayurvedic herbs soothe the intimate area and reduce itching while the Vitamins and Minerals in it replenish the nutrients lost by frequent urination.
The bottom line in this case would be that cranberries can’t hurt, and they may help. So it may be worth trying if you struggle with UTIs as the risk involved in doing so is very low.