One of the most common urinary ailments is the bladder infection, also known as a urinary tract infection or cystitis. While it is most often seen in babies, the elderly and pregnant women, nearly every one can contract a bladder infection through normal daily activities. Bladder infections are relatively harmless conditions, but their symptoms can be painful. While prescription antibiotics are required to cure these infections, certain foods can be used to speed up recovery or avoid bladder infections altogether.
Causes and Symptoms
You should first understand what a bladder infection is. They occur when bacteria that is normally found on the skin or in the intestinal tract is spread into the urethra, a tube that excretes urine from the bladder. As the bacteria make its way up the urinary system, it attaches to the lining, growing and multiplying.
A common symptom of a bladder infection is dysuria, or painful urination. You may also have an increased need to urinate or have trouble urinating all altogether. Another sign of bladder infection is pain in the pelvic region or lower back. You should also be careful if you experiences changes in your urine, like cloudiness or an unusual smell.
The number one way to speed up your recovery from a bladder infection or avoid future ones is to increase your water intake. Water promotes healthy a healthy urinary system by flushing out the bacteria that can be present in your bladder and urethra. Excess water in your blood stream is also mixed with the waste products as the kidneys filter the blood to make urine. Not enough urine can mean that your body has to pass solid waste products like urea and salts through your urinary tract. This can lead to kidney or bladder stones, which put you at risk for bladder infections. Dark urine is often a sign that you are not drinking enough water and should increase your intake.
Cranberries (along with blueberries and some other fruits) contain epicatechin, an antioxidant that can prevent bacteria from attaching itself to the urinary tract lining. If the bacteria cannot attach and multiply, it is forced to be flushed out of the system with the urine. Drink lots of cranberry juice, but be sure that it is unsweetened and has no additives. Too much sugar can have adverse effects on your urinary system, especially your kidneys.
Vitamin C can help promote good urinary tract health because the acidity fights bacterial infection. Bacteria have a hard time surviving in acidic environments. It should be noted that oranges and orange juice is not an efficient source of vitamin C because of the way your body digests it. It is better to look for your sources of vitamin C in other places, such as raw red peppers or supplements.
Garlic is another food that can help you avoid bladder infections. It is a natural antibiotic that can prevent infection on a broad spectrum. Garlic also manages your cholesterol levels. High cholesterol can cause damage to your kidneys, a major component of your urinary system. One downside to garlic is its distinctive taste and a smell that may follow you around. For these reasons, may prefer garlic supplements to the actual food.