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Myths and truths about UTIs and Cystitis 

There is a lot of information about urinary tract infections, in this article we will debunk some myths and facts on the diagnosis and treatment of UTIs.

As we discussed in a previous article, Urinary Tract Infections are very common, especially in women. There are several types of UTIs according to where in the tract they take place, however the most common is cystitis, which literally means inflammation of the bladder. 

In this article we will explore the myths around UTIs, discuss the causes and what is really efficient to prevent and resolve it.

UTIs need to be treated with antibiotics?

False. Most cases of uncomplicated UTIs can be resolved without antibiotics. Drinking plenty of water is essential! UTIs can also be resolved with the help of medicinal plants!  However, untreated UTIs can sometimes develop into serious infections. If the UTI has not alleviated using natural methods after 3-5 days, consult your doctor.

To prevent UTIs, clean with soap and deodorants.

False. Using products to clean the vagina area alters the vaginal flora and pH. As a result, it is more prone for a bacterial infection to develop. 

Some forms of birth control can increase the risk of UTIs.

True. Using spermicide or spermicide condoms can alter the vagina microorganisms as mentioned before. Other forms such as diaphragms can also increase the risk of an infection. 

Cloudy urine or strong odor means you have a UTI. 

False. The density (and thus colour and smell) of urine is also related to the amount of water you drink. Under dehydration, our body tries to save water and recover it from urine, resulting in a stronger colour and smell. Also, some foods, like asparagus, can result in a strange odour. However, if it smells rotten or happens over several days, consult a specialist.

Only women can get UTIs. 

False. Though it is more common in women (due to the anatomy), men are also at risk of contracting a urinary infection. Being uncircumcised and participating in anal sex can increse the risk of UTIs. Additionally, children, pregnant women and the elderly can also experience them. 

UTIs only occur in sexually active people.

False, Though it is a risk factor, there can be many causes as anatomy (length and shape of urethra, distance from the anus to the urethra), urinary tract abnormalities (eg kidney stones),  hormones (after menopause, the change in hormones cause a change in bacterial flora of the vagina, making it more possible for an infection to occur), diabetes, etc. Risk factors do include new sexual partners, recent sexual intercourse and lack of urination after sex. 

Is cranberry juice useful? 

Cranberry juice is the most common mention regarding UTIs. However there is not enough scientific data to prove its effectiveness. Cranberries contain proanthocyanidins which inhibit bacteria from sticking to the walls of the bladder. However studies have shown that it does not significantly prevent or treat UTIs. However, as mentioned before, drinking plenty of liquid is: so if cranberry juice is of your pleasure, enjoy! The important part is drinking plenty of fluids: water, infusions and cranberry juice are all great options! 

UTIs can be recurring if not cured properly.

True. Recurring UTIs are when a person (usually woman) has had two or more UTIs within six months. It could either be a relapse which is a resurgence of the infection within two weeks or, most commonly, a reinfection – a second UTI, more than two weeks later. More than 80% of women who have had one UTI will have another during their life. 

So, after all of this, what to do and don’t to prevent UTIs. 

What to do to prevent UTIs:

  • Drink plenty of liquids: Hello to infusions!
  • Urinate frequently 
  • Urinate before and after sexual intercourse.
  • Wipe front to back

What not to do

  • Don’t use vaginal deodorants or douches
  • Don’t use diaphragms or spermicides 
  • Don’t hold urine 
  • Don’t remain in wet clothes
  • Don’t wear non-cotton underwear
  • Avoid bladder irritants such as coffee, alcohol and sodas

How to treat cystitis in a natural way 

In Wilden we believe in the power of plants. Medicinal plants can be great allies in fighting and preventing uncomplicated UTIs. We have been working in combining herbs and plants to create a natural infusion to support you through and prevent cystitis. 

Uva ursina (Arctostaphylos uva ursi), equiseto (Equisetum arvense) and juniper (Juniperus) help with diuretic action and overall health of the urinary tract while providing antiseptic properties. Enhanced by the diuretic action of nettle (Urtica dioica) and elderflower (Sambucus nigra), which increase the urine volume and flush bacteria out. With the addition of cinnamon (Cinnamomum verum), currant (Ribes nigrum), mallow (Malva sylvestris) and corn silk (Zea mays), this infusion contains antimicrobial and anti inflammatory actions, helping reduce symptoms and purifying the urinary tract.