London: UTIs also is known as urinary tract infections are caused by bacteria that are normally found in the intestines. However, if this bacterium is transferred to the urinary tract, it can lead to infection. In women, the opening of the urinary tract and gastrointestinal tract is located within close proximity to each other.
This means it is a relatively simple process for bacteria to be transferred from the rectum to the urethra, where an infection can be caused due to differences in defense mechanisms between the GI tract and the urinary tract. Dr. Rachel Floyd, Kidney Research UK Fellow, has explained how to prevent UTIs. She has also revealed the surprising food people can eat to ease symptoms, including cabbage and cauliflower.
How to prevent UTIs
The advice for preventing UTIs has changed little over the past 20 years.
Dr. Floyd said: “The key points to follow are to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water, wiping from front to back after using the toilet, emptying your bladder as soon as you feel the urge and also as soon as possible after sex, and avoiding the use of perfumed soaps and other hygiene products that may cause irritation.”
Despite an extensive Cochrane review of the literature in 2012, there is still no clear evidence that cranberry juice or other similar supplements can help prevent or treat UTI.
UTIs and fluids
Drinking plenty of water can help prevent UTIs, as for bacteria to cause a bladder infection, it first needs to stick to the cell lining in the urinary tract.
Dr. Floyd said: “Increasing your fluid intake will give bacteria less opportunity to bind to host cells before being washed away when you urinate, thus lowering your chance of developing an infection.
“However, it’s important to drink the right kind of fluids. “For example, although this won’t directly cause a UTI, too much caffeine can act as an irritant so may aggravate symptoms.”
What to eat if you have a UTI
Experts have said there is no real benefit to drinking cranberry juice if you have an infection – and the only benefit is that it can help flush out an infection.
The only benefit is that it might help flush out the infection. Dr. Floyd said: “As well as acting as a preventive measure, drinking lots of fluids can help wash away the infected bacteria.
“Probiotics – foods containing ‘good bacteria’ are another supplement that people often claim can treat UTIs. “These include live-cultured yogurts, kimchi, raw cheese, and sauerkraut. Therefore, if you are suffering from a UTI incorporating these foods into your diet will do no harm.”
Dr. Floyd said that although no food group can cure a UTI, there are small changes you can make to your diet which may help contribute to soothing symptoms.
“Foods high in Vitamin C, such as oranges, cabbage, cauliflower, and tomatoes make your urine more acidic, and acidic urine inhibits the growth of bacteria in your urinary tract,” she said.
“It’s also important to get cut bladder irritants from your diets, such as caffeine, alcohol, spicy food, carbonated drinks, and artificial sweeteners. “These foods can make it harder for your body to heal and shake off an infection.”