When I started school at the tiny age of 5 I had a major problem with anxiety and consequently of controlling my bladder (to put it nicely). I was forever being ushered home with a Year 7 girl to change my undies. Needless to say this was a rather tiresome and embarrassing event that took place at least 3 times a week if not every day. However the result of these episodes led to only one path and that was several Urinary Tract Infections (UTI’s) all before I was 7 years old. Treatment back in the late 60’s was of course antibiotics and I was convinced that somehow I must have had a tattoo on my forehead that read “just give me antibiotics”! I may as well of had an intravenous drip! Long story short – coconut water was not around those days unless you went on an island holiday somewhere in the Pacific. Fortunately today there are more solutions than antibiotics to treat UTI’s.
What are Urinary Tract Infections -
Most UTI’s are caused by bacteria (E.Coli). Sometimes referred to as Cystitis (inflammation of the bladder), UTI’s can involve the urethra, bladder, ureter or kidneys. UTI’s often come about suddenly with no prior warning. If left untreated than a UTI can quickly become a kidney infection which has far more serious consequences.
Symptoms of Urinary Tract Infections -
Burning when urinating
Urinating only a little
Urgency to urinate
Blood in the Urine
Urine can be cloudy in colour and have an unpleasant odour
Pain in the groin and the lower back
Pain when urinating
What causes a Urinary Tract Infection -
Women tend to be more prone to UTI’s than men, mainly because their urethra is much shorter (only 4 cm) and is located closer to the anus.
Sexually active women
People with Diabetes
Men with Prostate problems
Some forms of birth control
Treating Urinary Tract Infections with Antibiotics -
Some treatments never change. From the late 60’s to the 2000’s, antibiotics are still the most common approach to killing the bacteria causing the infection. However the one problem with antibiotics is that they have no discrimination between the good bacteria and the bad. They inadvertently wipe out all the bacteria in the digestive tract, leaving you vulnerable to other digestive issues like yeast infections and candida.
UTI’s are not normally life threatening and the body’s immune system can usually fend off the attack in an otherwise healthy individual. However if a treatment of antibiotics is required, than make sure it’s accompanied with a suitable probiotic that will help feed the good bacteria so you won’t end up trading a bacterial infection for a yeast infection.
How to Prevent a Urinary Tract Infection -
Drink plenty of water and fluids –
A healthy bladder normally has a sterile environment. Bacteria is usually removed during urination and urine pH is normally unsuitable for the growth of bacteria. Drinking lots of fluids will dilute the concentration of any bacteria that might be present and help with flushing away any infection.
Avoid using spermicide products in conjunction with a diaphragm/contraceptive device.
Practice good hygiene – always wipe from front to back, (Urethra to Anus), after going to the toilet.
Go to the toilet when you need to rather than holding on.
Change underwear regularly.
Avoid wearing tight fitted jeans and shorts.
Empty your bladder after sex.
Some people are prone to to infections more than others. Part of the reason is diet and lifestyle. Eat a well balanced whole food diet, get plenty of sleep and limit things like alcohol, recreational drugs and smoking.
Treating Urinary Tract Infections Naturally -
The most common bacteria causing UTI’s is Escherichia coli (E. coli) that usually lives in the digestive system and bowel. A common remedy for UTI’s today is to use Cranberry juice or capsules. Cranberry juice appears to lower the ability of E. Coli to stick to the Urinary Tract lining cells. Cranberry juice also contains a group of powerful antioxidants called Proanthocyanidins. These antioxidants can also be found in grape seeds. Look for grape seed extract, Pycnogenol, or PCO in your health food shop or ask your natural health practitioner.
Treating Urinary Tract Infections with Coconut -
There is no doubt the western world diet and lifestyle often leaves us in a semi dehydrated state. Many health professionals have claimed that the switch to tell our brain that we are thirsty has become inactive due to the fact that we interpret thirst for hunger, leaving us sometimes dangerously dehydrated. When we are not consuming enough healthy fluids, like the 8-10 glasses of water per day, we can become more susceptible to illnesses and infections such as UTI’s.
Coconut water is a superfood filled with minerals, vitamins, amino acids, sugars, enzymes, and growth hormones. It possesses incredible healing properties… Coconut water is just as useful in combating influenza, dysentery, salmonella, and E. coli. It doesn’t necessarily kill the viruses or bacteria that cause the disease, (but) it provides fluids and nutrients that allow the body to successfully fight the battle on its own. It has a normalising effect and gives the body a boost of power so that it can overcome a number of conditions. It is known to be of benefit in relieving fatigue, constipation, dehydration, kidney and bladder disorders, glaucoma, and cataract.
Bruce Fife – Coconut Water For Health and Healing
Drinking 12-16 ounces of coconut water daily along with adequate amounts of water should give your body the boost it needs to fight off a UTI. One average size green coconut will yield between 12-16 ounces of water. You can also consume 31/2 tablespoons of coconut oil at the first sign of a UTI. Spread the dosage out through the day. The earlier you treat the infection, the quicker it will be resolved. Along with cranberry juice (make sure it is not sweetened) or grape seed extract and you should have all the ammunition you need to avoid taking antibiotics and to kill off the UTI.
You could also try cultured coconut water using kefir grains or a kefir starter pack.
Body Ecology stocks both the culture packs as well as Cocobiotic – a fizzy probiotic drink made of coconut water.
In Australia you can order through yourdigestion.com
REf sources: Better Health
Bruce Fife – Coconut Water for Health and Healing