My diet recently created the perfect storm for a urinary tract infection (UTI). First, I overindulged on crackers and excessive carbohydrates flooded my body with yeast. There’s a definite UTI-yeast infection connection. On top of that, I'd been eating a lot of grapefruit and their acidity can irritate the bladder. I’m particularly susceptible to UTIs, so it’s really no wonder that I woke up doubled over in pain.
UTIs account for almost 10 million visits to the doctor every year. And aren’t we females lucky? Our anatomy makes us more prone to them. Once you get just one, you’re prone to others—and UTIs are just not something you outgrow. In fact, some insist they become even more frequent with menopause. The simple reason is that a starch called glycogen is produced in our reproductive systems, and if it weren’t for estrogen, which creates acidophilus (the good bacteria), the yeast would see that environment as one big feast. As estrogen diminishes, you lose that protection.
Here are some things you can do to fight back against these painful infections.
1. Avoid sugar, excessive carbohydrates, and coffee.
These can all cause spikes in blood sugar and, whenever that happens, your body gets flooded with glucose, which causes yeast to thrive. Coffee just makes those spikes occur even faster. Try also to stay away from processed foods, because they can contain a lot of hidden sugars.
2. Get good bacteria.
As an added precaution, eat some plain yogurt or drink some unsweetened kefir (a Middle Eastern yogurt drink) every day.
3. Drink 4 ounces of cranberry juice.
Opt for pure, not the juice "cocktail." Almost all of us have heard about cranberry’s benefits, and it’s really true; in fact, some scientists have reported a lessening of symptoms within 8 hours of drinking. The berry’s substances are not broken down in the digestive process, so they cling to the cells along the urinary tract lining, preventing or getting rid of any bacteria, and yeast.
4. Stay hydrated.
Even though water isn’t a food, it’s essential nonetheless, because it helps to remove toxins. Additionally, when you become dehydrated, you’re putting stress on your organs—and when your immunity lowers, it’s a lot easier for bacteria, a major cause of the UTI, to form.
5. Avoid spicy foods.
Spice, heat and inflammation—need I say more?
6. Avoid citrus.
Although most of these fruits are alkaline-forming, they do contain acid—and that can irritate and inflame the urinary tract. If you’re prone to UTIs, you may want to avoid them.