A urinary tract infection occurs when harmful bacteria enters the urinary tract and begins to multiply. The urinary tract consists of the kidneys, the bladder, the tubes called ureters that connect the kidneys to the bladder, and the urethra, the tube that carries urine from the bladder to the outside of the body. An accurate urinary tract infection diagnosis typically requires a trip to the doctor, where a sample of urine is collected and tested. Once a urinary tract infection diagnosis has been made, treatment can begin. While the use of prescription antibiotics is the most common treatment, home remedies such as baking soda, cranberry juice, and the use of a heating pad may also be helpful.
Many people visit the doctor to seek a urinary tract infection diagnosis when painful symptoms develop. Common urinary tract infection symptoms include pain in the back where the kidneys are located, fever, and nausea. There is usually a frequent urge to urinate with very little urine being released at each trip to the restroom. Once at the doctor, the patient may be asked to provide a urine sample, which is tested for the presence of bacteria. In cases of infection, an increased number of white blood cells are often found, a natural response as the body works to rid itself of the infection.
Once a urinary tract infection diagnosis has been made, the doctor will usually prescribe antibiotic medications designed to kill the harmful bacteria causing the infection. Pain medications or medicines designed to prevent nausea may also be prescribed. The patient is often advised to increase fluid intake to help the body flush out all of the harmful bacteria and toxins.
Some people, particularly those who suffer from repeated urinary tract infections, prefer to use natural remedies aimed at both preventing and treating the infections. One such treatment involves mixing half a teaspoon of baking soda with eight ounces of water and drinking this mixture at the first signs of a urinary tract infection. Cranberry juice is believed to prevent harmful bacteria from clinging to the cells and is recommended to both prevent and treat urinary tract infections. Many people report a reduction in the amount of pain caused by this type of infection when placing a heating pad over the painful areas. Before attempting home treatment, it is important to obtain an accurate urinary tract infection diagnosis, as repeated untreated infections can lead to permanent kidney damage.