As a person living with an incurable chronic illness, my body is more susceptible to infection. Fighting illness every single day takes a toll on the body, so my immune system isn't always able to combat common unfriendly bugs the way it should. This can mean that something like a mild urinary tract infection can quickly become a serious problem for me. Unfortunately, taking the prescribed antibiotics can cause digestive upset, which can also quickly become a serious problem for me. So when I do develop a urinary tract infection, I've had to learn to weigh my options.
Antibiotics may effectively kill off an infection, but they also disrupt the natural balance of healthy flora in our intestinal tracts. They don't just kill bad bacteria; they kill good bacteria, too. And because the good bacteria keep the bad bacteria under control, antibiotics can leave us with even more problems to deal with once our initial complaint is resolved. Our friendly bacteria also help us with many aspects of health and play a huge role in our immune system. If I took antibiotics every time I had an infection, I'd have no friendly bacteria left! This would further destroy my immune system, making me even more prone to infection and in need of more antibiotics. That cycle would just continue on forever, so here's what I do when I have a urinary tract infection, before I consider taking antibiotics.
1. I break out the essential oils.
Studies have shown that oregano essential oil is successful at killing off the type of bacteria that causes urinary tract infections. I add two drops of therapeutic-grade oregano essential oil to a vegetable capsule with equal parts olive oil, and I take this three times a day until symptoms resolve. I have found that this really works for me.
2. I start taking D-Mannose and cranberry.
D-Mannose supports female urinary tract health and has been shown to help prevent and treat UTIs. It can often be found in capsule or powder form with cranberry added for extra support. I always look for high-quality supplements without any fillers and follow the instructions on the bottle.
3. I hydrate like crazy.
I always make sure to drink plenty of fluids to flush the urinary tract. If I get bored drinking plain water, adding lemon to my water or drinking naturally sweetened cranberry juice are both super-nourishing options. Loading up on water-rich fruits and vegetables (like lettuce and watermelon) is also a great idea during this time.
4. I slow down.
Getting plenty of rest and sleep is so important, especially when the body is working hard to purge an infection. Stress can further exacerbate UTI symptoms, so if you're dealing with a UTI (or other illness), give yourself permission to slow down and do what you need to do to get well.
Looking to prevent a UTI before it starts? Here are some natural remedies a holistic doctor recommends to her patients.