Urinary Tract Infection in Women

Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are caused by bacteria and are 10 times more common among women than men. About 30 percent of UTIs go away and do not recur. When UTIs do recur, it is often because the treatments used to suppress bacteria seem to work at first, but do not produce a lasting cure. UTIs can also recur when a woman is infected again by a different kind of bacterium.

Signs and Symptoms

What Causes It?

Some risk factors include the following.

What to Expect at Your Provider's Office

Your health care provider will feel your abdomen and kidneys for changes and use laboratory tests, such as a urine culture, to find out if you have a UTI. If the usual treatments do not work, your provider will explore the possibility that you have some other condition. Other illnesses can cause symptoms that mimic a UTI, such as sexually transmitted diseases.

Treatment Options

Drug Therapies

Several antibiotics and other drugs are used to treat UTIs. The most effective antibiotics are usually taken for 7 to 10 days. Shorter courses of treatment are available, and your health care provider may prescribe an antibiotic that you take for 1 to 3 days.

Complementary and Alternative Therapies

Nutrition Herbs
Herbs may be used as dried extracts (capsules, powders, teas), glycerites (glycerine extracts), or tinctures (alcohol extracts). Teas should be made with 1 tsp. herb per cup of hot water. Steep covered 5 to 10 minutes for leaf or flowers, and 10 to 20 minutes for roots.

Start herbal therapy at the first sign of symptoms and continue for three days after you start feeling better. Teas work best for treating UTIs because the additional fluid intake helps the "flushing action." Combine two herbs from each of the following categories and drink 4 to 6 cups per day. Marshmallow root (Althaea officinalis) is best used alone in a cold infusion. Soak 1 heaping tbsp. of marshmallow root in 1 qt. of cold water overnight. Strain and drink during the day in addition to any other urinary tea.

For advanced or recurrent infections prepare a tincture of equal parts of goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis) and coneflower (Echinacea purpurea). Take 30 drops four to six times per day.

There have been few studies examining the effectiveness of specific homeopathic remedies. Professional homeopaths, however, may recommend one or more of the following treatments for UTI based on their knowledge and clinical experience. Before prescribing a remedy, homeopaths take into account a person's constitutional type. In homeopathic terms, a person's constitution is his or her physical, emotional, and intellectual makeup. An experienced homeopath assesses all of these factors when determining the most appropriate remedy for a particular individual.

Following Up

Preventive measures you can follow:

Special Considerations

If you are pregnant, you are more at risk for developing a UTI.


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