Мы также предлагаем курсы на русском языке. Перейдите по ссылке, чтобы узнать больше.

The Real Cause of Urinary Tract Infections

Prevent long-term health issues from recurring UTIs

If you’re dealing with the discomfort of urinary tract infections (UTIs), you’re not alone. UTIs are a widespread issue, affecting millions worldwide.

Discover the real causes of UTIs, their potential complications and practical steps you can take to prevent them.

What are urinary tract infections?

Urinary tract infections are among the most common health concerns globally, with women being affected more frequently than men. These infections occur when harmful bacteria enter the urinary tract and multiply, leading to symptoms like burning during urination, frequent urges to urinate and abdominal pain. While UTIs are generally treatable, they can become serious if left untreated.

What causes UTIs?

Up to 90% of UTIs are triggered by E. coli bacteria, which can enter your urinary tract in various ways, like when you go to the toilet or during intercourse. Women are more prone to UTIs because their urethra, the tube that carries urine from the bladder, is shorter than men’s, making it easier for bacteria to travel up to the bladder. E. coli bacteria are usually found in your gut, where they’re harmless. However, if they end up where they don’t belong, like your urinary tract, they can cause problems.

BUT… even if you’re exposed to E. coli, it doesn’t necessarily mean it will cause an issue if your body’s terrain is healthy. The terrain theory emphasises the importance of the internal environment of the body in determining susceptibility to illness. In the context of UTIs, a healthy terrain includes a well-balanced microbiome, strong immune system and proper hydration. When these factors are in harmony, the body is better equipped to resist bacterial overgrowth and maintain urinary tract health.

Understanding the terrain theory can empower you to take proactive steps in supporting your overall health and preventing UTIs. By focusing on lifestyle factors like diet, hydration, stress management and gut health, you can create a favourable internal environment that promotes urinary tract health and reduces the risk of infection.

As we age or undergo hormonal changes, our bodies face natural shifts. While growing older isn’t the issue, these changes can lead to weakened organ functions and tissue strength. Consequently, the body’s internal environment (terrain) weakens, creating conditions conducive to bacterial growth.

It is common for UTIs to occur shortly after antibiotic and steroid use. These medications alter your terrain, leading to bacterial overgrowth. When acute UTIs are suppressed without addressing the underlying terrain changes, they can become chronic infections.

Fever, colds and the use and over-the-counter medications such as painkillers can disrupt the intestinal microbiome, creating an imbalance that promotes bacterial growth. Bacteria aren’t the disease itself but rather a consequence of the changes in the body’s terrain.

Food can trigger UTIs too!

Diet plays a significant role in urinary tract health. Consuming a diet high sugar, refined carbohydrates and starchy foods can change your terrain and make your urinary tract more susceptible to opportunistic bacteria. On the other hand, a diet rich in whole foods, vegetables, lean proteins and plenty of water can support urinary tract health by providing essential nutrients and hydration while reducing the risk of inflammation. Remember, if your internal terrain is healthy, you will be less prone to infection.

Strains of E. coli found in mass-produced, non-organic meat products can migrate from the gut to the urinary tract, causing infections. One study found E. coli in nearly 80% of chicken, pork and turkey samples from supermarkets. When researchers tested people with UTIs, they found E. coli in over 70% of them, and it was the same type found in the meat samples. Eating too much meat is unhealthy and can contribute to many diseases.

Long-term complication of UTIs

When E. coli bacteria multiply in your urinary tract, it can lead to a UTI. You might notice symptoms like a burning sensation when you pee, needing to urinate more often, or pain in your lower abdomen. Sometimes, you might see blood or notice that your urine looks cloudy or smells bad.

These bacteria have tiny projections called fimbriae that make them sticky, so they can cling to the walls of your bladder or even move up to your kidneys. If the infection reaches your kidneys, you might feel tired, have a fever, or experience pain in your side or back.

In severe cases, the infection can cause nausea, vomiting, or even sepsis, which is life-threatening. Older adults might not show typical UTI symptoms and may instead seem confused or disoriented, making diagnosis tricky.

How to prevent UTIs

Here’s how to reduce your risk of UTIs and promote urinary tract health.

Restore your microbiome and support urinary tract health by adopting the CNM naturopathic diet. Eliminate sugar, coffee and alcohol while avoiding overprocessed and microwaved junk foods. Focus on eating an unprocessed diet rich in whole foods including vegetables, lean proteins and whole grains, and ensure adequate hydration to flush out toxins.

Seek guidance from a naturopathic therapist for personalised holistic approaches to urinary tract health. They can identify underlying causes, provide natural remedies and offer preventive strategies tailored to your needs, promoting long-term well-being and reducing the risk of UTIs.

Staying hydrated by drinking plenty of filtered water every day is crucial for maintaining urinary tract health. Proper hydration helps flush out toxins and bacteria from the urinary system, reducing the risk of UTIs.

When you feel the urge to urinate, don’t delay! Holding in urine allows bacteria to multiply in the bladder, increasing the risk of infection. Regular urination helps to expel bacteria from the urinary tract.

Wiping from front to back after using the bathroom is essential to prevent the spread of bacteria from the anus to the urethra. This simple practice reduces the likelihood of introducing harmful bacteria into the urinary tract.

Opt for showers instead of baths and avoid hot tubs or Jacuzzis to minimise exposure to bacteria that may thrive in warm, moist environments. Showering reduces the risk of bacteria entering the urinary tract.

Avoid using feminine hygiene sprays as these products can disrupt the natural balance of bacteria in the genital area and irritate the urethra. Maintaining a healthy genital microbiome is key to preventing UTIs.

Consider using a bidet as they provide gentle cleansing without the need for abrasive toilet paper which contains a cocktail of chemicals that absorb readily through the skin, irritating your genital area and increasing infection risk.

Eat cranberries or drink pure, organic cranberry juice as cranberries contain compounds that prevent E. coli bacteria from sticking to the bladder walls, reducing the risk of infection.

Include fermented foods like kefir and sauerkraut in your diet as they contain beneficial probiotics that help maintain a diverse microbiome, which indirectly supports urinary tract health.

Avoid conventionally raised meat to reduce your risk of exposure to harmful bacteria. Opt for organic, pasture-raised meat from a local farm/ farmers market or reputable organic meat producer.

Homeopathic remedies can also help alleviate symptoms of UTIs and support urinary tract health. Examples include Cantharis and Apis mellifica, which are commonly used for burning urination and inflammation.

Herbs like uva ursi, dandelion root and marshmallow root have therapeutic properties to reduce inflammation and eliminate pathogens. These herbs can be consumed as teas or taken in supplement form under the guidance of a herbalist.

Keep your urinary tract healthy

Understanding the root causes of UTIs, including bacterial colonisation and dietary influences, is important for effectively managing and preventing them. By drinking enough water, eating well and maintaining good hygiene, you can lower your chances of getting a UTI. Being aware of how food can contribute to UTIs and considering natural remedies also helps keep your urinary tract healthy and preventing infections.

To learn more about nutrition and natural health, see CNM’s Nutrition for Everyday Living Short course and Naturopathic Diet Mini Course.

Share this

Blog/Article content reflects the author's research and diverse opinions, not necessarily CNM's views. Items may not be regularly updated, so represent the best available understanding at the time of publication.

Enquiry Form


Subscribe to our Newsletter