If you’ve never experienced the stinging, burning sensation of a urinary tract infection (UTI), consider yourself lucky. Every year, millions of people contract these infections, and for some they are chronic, either never completely going away or recurring time and time again.
Although UTIs are common, you should still take them seriously. It is really important to seek medical help if you believe you have a UTI. For starters, a medical clinician can correctly diagnose a UTI, and be sure that the symptoms you’re experiencing aren’t signs of something more serious. Secondly, they can prescribe the appropriate regimen of antibiotics to cure the infection quickly and effectively. This keeps it from growing out of control and leading to complications like permanent kidney damage, recurrent infections or even sepsis leading to death.
That said, while your first reaction to experiencing UTI symptoms might be to hop in the car and go to a local urgent care clinic, there are also ways of helping to prevent such infections or treat UTI symptoms without ever leaving home.
Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate
Urinating with a UTI can be a painful experience. And while you may want to avoid urinating with a UTI, you won’t be doing yourself any favors. In fact, regular urination is one of your body’s best methods to flush the bacteria and other toxins which are causing the problem. So drink water, and plenty of it.
In fact, this is a good idea on the regular if you’re prone to UTIs or if you have a chronic case. Several studies have shown that those who urinate more frequently have a much lower chance of contracting a UTI in the first place. Plus, water does some amazing things for your skin, body and mind, so be sure you’re drinking plenty daily.
Eat Your Vitamins
It’s no secret that proper nutrition helps your body to ward off disease, and recover more easily when you’re sick. Vitamin C in particular can be beneficial for UTI sufferers because evidence shows that it can increase the acidity of your urine, which in turn kills off bacteria.
While you could just reach for a bottle of pills, the tastiest (and most effective) way to get your daily dose is to add more fruits and vegetables to your diet. We likely all think of oranges when we are looking for vitamin C, but there are many options for getting a dose of this crucial vitamin. These include guava, black currant, red pepper, kiwi and green peppers, all of which have a higher concentration than oranges. For more options, try strawberries, papaya, broccoli, kale, parsley or pineapple.
Worried about getting too much vitamin C? Don’t be. Since it’s not stored in the body, you’ll naturally flush out whatever you don’t need. In fact, if you do somehow manage to consume more than about 2,000 mg per day of vitamin C from natural sources (that’s the equivalent of about two dozen oranges), the worst effect you’re likely to encounter is a bit of digestive turbulence.
Drink Cranberry Juice
While many old folk remedies offer little more than a placebo effect, this one has been accepted by many doctors. There’s some evidence that cranberries contain active compounds that can help prevent bacteria from adhering to the bladder wall, or from sticking to other bacteria. This severely limits its ability to grow and multiply.
Of course, the evidence is not iron clad, and some studies have shown little to no effect. But since a cup of unsweetened cranberry juice contains almost 40 percent of your recommended daily value of vitamin C, and it’s also a good way to hydrate yourself, it’s likely to be beneficial either way. Just try to avoid the heavily sweetened cranberry juice cocktails, as the added sugar can cause other problems.
Heat Things Up
If your UTI comes with cramping, pain or pressure in your lower back or abdomen, a heating pad may help ease your suffering. Keep the heat setting on low and apply the pad over clothing or place a towel or thin blanket between it and your skin. Use it for a maximum of 15-20 minutes at a time to avoid burns. Don’t have a heating pad handy? A hot water bottle or washcloth soaked in hot water can provide much the same relief.
Get Medical Care Delivered to Your Home
If you’re considering going to your local clinic for treatment, don’t grab your wallet and keys just yet. Which would you rather do: sit in a crowded waiting room or stay put on your couch and wait for medical care to come to you?
That’s right, the days of house calls from medical professionals are back. With on-demand mobile urgent care services like DispatchHealth, quality medical care is conveniently delivered to your home or office. There’s no need to visit the local emergency room for your urgent health issues. These can now be treated at home, under the direct care of emergency care providers that can diagnose, prescribe, treat and follow up.
Sounds expensive, right? Actually, a visit with DispatchHealth costs 85 percent less than a visit to your local emergency room, and they accept most insurance.
The Bottom Line
When you’re dealing with symptoms of a UTI, you want relief right away. While there are plenty of things you can do yourself to help your body heal and prevent further infections, the best course of action is usually a round of antibiotics prescribed by a medical professional. If you don’t relish the thought of taking time out of your day to sit in a germy waiting room, get medical care delivered and relax at home instead!
DispatchHealth relies only on authoritative sources, including medical associations, research institutions, and peer-reviewed medical studies.
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