By Laura Badalamenti, NMD

A urinary tract infection (UTI) can involve the lower urinary tract which is the bladder (called cystitis), or it can spread to the upper urinary tract involving the kidneys (called pyelonephritis). The bacteria that cause the infections in these areas typically come from the intestinal tract and fecal bacteria that migrate into the urinary tract, the most common bacteria to cause a UTI is e. coli.

Symptoms of a UTI could include burning pain with urination, frequent urination, urgency to urinate, pelvic pain, cloudy urine, blood in urine, or change in odor of urine. If the infection spreads to your kidneys this is more severe and you may also have fever and chills, low back pain, nausea and vomiting, and fatigue. Often a UTI can be confused with a vaginal infection because symptoms can sometimes be similar. Your doctor will be able to help with a proper diagnosis.

A UTI is diagnosed by a urine test and treated with antibiotics. Ways to prevent a UTI include wiping front to back, avoiding wearing thongs, proper hygiene, urinating after sex, and drinking enough water to keep the urinary tract flushed out. Some natural support to help prevent UTIs include taking probiotics, drinking unsweetened cranberry juice, and D-mannose.