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The symptoms of a urinary tract infection are quite distinct:

  • Pain or a stinging sensation while urinating
  • Cloudy or strange-smelling urine
  • A frequent need to urinate, but only a small amount of actual urine produced
  • Pressure in the lower belly

If you’ve had any of these symptoms before, do not worry: you are not alone. Urinary tract infections are some of the most common infections experienced by Americans, and they are especially common in women. A urinary tract infection, commonly called a UTI, is an infection caused by bacteria located anywhere within the urinary tract, which includes the kidneys, ureters, bladder and urethra. Most commonly, the infections occur in the bladder and urethra and are caused by the bacteria Escherichia coli (E. coli). The E. coli are commonly found in the intestines and typically travel into the urinary system, causing the unpleasant symptoms.

The usual treatment for a UTI is a prescription of antibiotics. When antibiotics are used to treat urinary tract infections, it is possible for the bacteria to develop antibiotic resistance. That means that the bacteria no longer respond to the medication and continue to grow, making the UTI worse. When the antibiotics stop working, doctors are presented with a huge problem of how to treat the infection.

 Bacteria that become resistant to antibiotics force us to consider alternative methods of treatment

Source: Andrew Brookes

Case studies suggest that there are natural ways to treat antibiotic-resistant urinary tract infections. Two individuals who suffered from recurring UTIs took antibiotics and their infections became antibiotic resistant. When these individuals starting taking daily supplements of parsley, garlic and cranberry juice, both were able to go for 12 months without a single UTI. Once they stopped taking the supplements, the UTIs came back.

Why did the supplements work against bacteria that was resistant to medication? Studies suggest that parsley may have antioxidant effects, as does garlic. Oil extracted from garlic may even have antibacterial properties. Studies also suggest that cranberry juice may specifically help with UTIs, but prior research has not shown if cranberry juice helps with antibiotic-resistance infections.

As with all supplements, consult with your doctor before taking them to treat any condition, and be wary that supplements are not regulated by the same rules as medications. However, this opens up interesting possibilities for future research into how to treat antibiotic-resistant conditions in a natural way.

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Feature Image Source: Vasile Cotovanu

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