Bladder infections are among the most common reasons why women visit their doctor. In fact, according to the National Institutes of Health, bladder infections are the second most common type of infection in the body, resulting in 8.1 million annual visits to doctors. Women are particularly prone to bladder infections because their urinary canal, called the urethra, is shorter than a man’s, which allows bacteria greater access to the bladder. In addition, a woman’s urethral opening is anatomically closer to potential sources of bacteria. The lifetime risk of a woman having a urinary tract infection is greater than 50 percent.
Signs of a bladder infection include burning and pain with urination, and there can be an intense urge to urinate. There may also be blood in the urine, so there may be streaks of blood visible when a woman wipes herself after urination. If you experience these symptoms, be sure to seek help from your doctor as soon as possible. You want to be treated promptly for urinary tract health issues, because they can progress rapidly and result in kidney infections.
Bladder infections often occur after a woman is dehydrated, or after she has had an unusual amount of sex. Sometimes, however, they may just happen, seemingly for no reason — especially in those who are chronically stressed.
There’s a lot you can do to help promote bladder health. In some cases, you can eat and drink your way to a healthier bladder; in others situations, simply changing your behavior can make a huge difference in whether you get a bladder infection. Let’s look at some of your best natural ways of helping to prevent bladder infections and support your bladder health.
Drink plenty of water.
You want to ingest one-half your body weight in ounces of water every day. This means that if you weigh 120 pounds, you want to drink at least 60 ounces of water daily. Drinking sufficient amounts of water will cause you to urinate frequently enough to help flush through bacterial contaminants that could lead to an infection. Dehydration is one of the major culprits that can lead to increased risk of bladder infections.
Drink cranberry juice.
Cranberries are known to acidify urine, which can help cleanse the urethra and bladder of bacteria. Cranberry juice contains d-mannose, a potent sugar that can help support the health of bladder cells. Drink eight ounces of cranberry juice a day, or consider taking a cranberry supplement. The ideal dose would be 800 mg daily for bladder and urinary tract health.
Blueberries are rich in many nutrients, and they’re well-known for their potent flavonoid content. In addition, blueberries also contain bladder-friendly d-mannose. Eat them fresh or dried, add frozen blueberries to smoothies or drink blueberry juice. You could also take a d-mannose supplement.
Avoid stress, and minimize sugar consumption.
It’s well known that when your stress hormone levels are high, your natural immunity is suppressed. Add sugar (another known immune suppressant) to the equation, and the situation becomes potentially much worse. If you’re prone to bladder infections, do what you can to modulate stress in your life, and if you want something sweet, try Sweet Drops Stevia instead of sugar.
Urinate after sex.
Because the urinary opening, known as the urethra, is so close to vaginal opening, make a point to urinate after you have sex. This simple measure will help to wash away bacteria that may be present at the opening of your urethra.
Use a healthy lubricant.
One common cause of urinary tract infections associated with sexual activity is vaginal dryness, or irritation of the urethra, possibly from a condom. Be sure to use a good water-based lubricant when having sex, to help protect the delicate tissues of your vulva, urethra and vagina. Aloe Cadabra is an excellent lubricant that’s 95 percent organic aloe, and free of parabens, glycerin, and petroleum products. It has the correct osmolality, so it helps to hydrate your cells, and it’s available in three scents: aloe, lavender, and Tahitian vanilla.