It’s true that urinary tract infections (UTI) are a common infection affecting millions of people a year. Are you are risk?
People with diabetes, women and the elderly are particularly vulnerable to them. Cranberry juice or supplement is a simple preventative treatment for a UTI, according to studies. A UTI is a serious infection that can result in complications if left untreated, so seek the care of your healthcare provider when needed.
An infection can occur anywhere along your urinary tract including the kidneys, ureter, bladder or urethra. A man can develop a UTI in the prostate gland as well as these other locations. Symptoms of a UTI can include blood in the urine; urine that is cloudy, dark or foul smelling; pain or burning during urination; abdominal or back pain; fever or an urge to urinate even when the bladder is empty. There may only be pain at the end of urination when the empty bladder walls collapse, causing irritation.
Bacteria can cause a UTI when transferred from other areas of the body. Most UTIs are caused by the bacteria E. coli, which normally lives in the bowel. E. coli can move from the anus to the opening of the bladder, where it begins to multiply. The urethra, the tube that carries urine from the bladder out of the body, is the first site of infection. If left untreated, the UTI can spread upwards to the bladder and then into the kidneys, causing a more serious infection. Less commonly, a sexually transmitted organism such as chlamydia or mycoplasma can cause a UTI. In this case, treatment is required for both sexual partners to prevent re-infection.
Health care providers have long recommended cranberry juice as a treatment for the prevention of urinary tract infections. They initially thought that because cranberry juice raised the acidity of the urine, this made the bladder less hospitable to the bacteria and inhibited its growth. However, research has shown that proanthocyanidins in the cranberries actually prevent bacteria from attaching to the tissue of the urinary tract. When the bacteria cannot attach, they cannot multiply. This is how cranberry juice helps to prevent UTI infections.
Anyone at risk for developing a UTI may benefit from a daily glass of cranberry juice. Patients with diabetes are more prone to urinary infections because of the changes in the immune system. Immunosuppressant drugs can increase the risk for a UTI because they inhibit the immune system. Patients with catheters, such as the elderly or the critically ill, are at an increased risk. Anything that obstructs the urinary tract, such as kidney stones, will also increase the risk of a UTI.
Doctors should suspect a UTI when an elderly person develops delirium, according to one study. This study found that 93 percent of patients hospitalized with delirium had bacteria in their urine. The delirium improved in 78 percent of patients with a UTI after the infection was treated. Elderly patients may benefit from drinking cranberry juice to aid in preventing these urinary tract infections.
In addition to cranberry juice, proper toilet hygiene can help to prevent a UTI. Women should always wipe from front to back to prevent exposing the urethra to bacteria from the anus. Drinking plenty of water will ensure that you urinate often and flush any bacteria from your urinary tract. Always urinate when you first feel the urge, and urinate after intercourse. Urine that sits in the bladder has a greater chance of growing bacteria. Elderly persons who require incontinence pads should have these pads changed often to prevent the growth of bacteria. If you are more prone to developing a UTI, drink cranberry juice or supplement every day to prevent the bacteria from adhering to the walls of the urinary tract.
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