The urinary system is structured in a way that it frees the body of waste products. The urine - which is sterile and usually free of bacteria and viruses and which contains waste products - reaches the bladder through the two ureters from the kidneys. The ureters are about 20 to 25 cm long. The muscles in the urethral walls contract and relax to push urine down from the kidneys.
Usually, the urine flow and the beneficial bacteria (probiotics) that live in the urinary tract prevent infection from taking over. The prostate in men also produces secretions that slow down bacterial growth. The body's immune system reduces the risk of infection in both men and women. If these defense systems are not available or fail, the bacteria can attach to the bladder wall and cause irritation. Urinary tract infections are a serious health problem that affects millions of people every year.
According to researchers at the medical school of the Washington University (WU) in St. Louis, 90% of all urinary tract infections are caused by Escherichia coli (E. coli), a microorganism that lives in the digestive tract. Since E. coli is excreted by the body through bowel movements, E. coli bacteria are located around the anus.
There is only a short distance between the anus and the urethra, through which urine is excreted from the body. So it is relatively easy for E.coli bacteria to reach the urethra. E. coli penetrates the protective layer of the superficial cells that line the bladder and causes the typical symptoms of a urinary tract infection.
When E. coli bacteria enter the urinary tract, multiply themselves and enter the bladder upwards, the usual signs and symptoms of a urinary tract infection appear with some or all of the following symptoms:
If the infection has already spread to the entire bladder or even the kidneys, symptoms such as the following appear:
If symptoms such as chills, nausea or pain in the middle of the back appear, then this may be a sign that the infection has already reached the kidneys. In this case, you should definitely contact a doctor. Kidney infections require antibiotics to prevent potentially permanent and life-threatening kidney damage.
However, most urinary tract infections can be safely treated without antibiotics - only with D-mannose. One should therefore recognize the early warning signs of a bladder infection and take D-mannose immediately in order to naturally nip the urinary tract infection in the bud.
Occasionally, irritation caused by a urinary tract infection disappears without specific treatment by drinking lots of water. However, if the infection persists for more than 2 days, it is important to take measures to contain the infection. If the bacteria gets up to the kidney through the urinary tract, it can lead to a kidney infection, which is much more serious.
The most common medical treatment for urinary tract infections is an antibiotic therapy, which usually lasts a week. This is aimed at killing the bacteria that cause the infection and can have many side effects. Antibiotics usually work against a broad spectrum of bacteria and thus also kill health-promoting bacteria in the intestine, vagina and urinary tract. This fact can make the person more susceptible to future infections, not only in the urinary tract, but also in other areas of the body (e.g. yeast infections in women).
If antibiotics are taken excessively, bacteria can also become resistant to these drugs and find a way to survive. This means that antibiotics don't always work against cystitis.
Unfortunately, antibiotics with a broad spectrum of activity have the disadvantage that they kill not only the harmful bacteria, but also the health-promoting bacteria in the intestine, vagina and urinary tract.
The relationship between the urinary tract and fungal infections is so common that many doctors prescribe antibiotics along with a vaginal anti-fungal cream. Eliminating helpful bacteria can even lay the foundation for a vicious cycle of urogenital infections and leave a woman vulnerable to recurrent urinary tract infections and fungal infections.
The second possible complication is interstitial cystitis (IZ) or chronic inflammation of the bladder wall. IZ occurs when antibiotics survive the targeted bacteria and their presence ignites the bladder lining. Properly prescribed therapies against urinary tract infections are therefore very short, in order to avoid this problem.
There is a better way. Instead of relying on antibiotics, you can take a holistic approach that strengthens your bladder against invading bacteria. You can also prevent urinary tract infections by implementing some simple lifestyle changes. Learn to recognize the symptoms of a pending infection and take immediate action with natural means.
The body has various mechanisms to reduce the likelihood of a bacterial infection such as E. coli. Urine has a natural pH level that prevents bacterial growth. Normal urination flushes out bacteria that try to rise through the urethra. The inside of the bladder has natural antimicrobial properties, and when bacteria start to multiply, the immune system begins to send out more infection fighting white blood cells.
When the body's barriers fail and bladder infection develops, it is important that you either fight the bladder infection with an effective home or natural remedy, such as D-mannose, or - if you can't avoid it - take an antibiotic. If bacteria, such as E. coli, rise in the urinary tract, it can lead to a serious kidney infection.
The most important factor for overall urinary tract health is drinking plenty of pure, fresh water every day (8 - 10 glasses of water). This increases the urine flow, keeps the bladder clean and prevents the overgrowth of harmful bacteria.
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