The Burning Issue of UTI

Thu, 2019-08-15

Image source: goodhousekeeping.com

If you’ve ever had pain in your pelvic region and looked up that symptom online (as many of us commonly do), Urinary Tract Infections, or UTIs for short, might have popped up in your results page. This is expected as UTIs are the most common healthcare-related bacterial infections[1], particularly in women. In Singapore, about 4 in 10 women develop a UTI at one point in their life[2].

UTIs are caused by bacteria latching onto the walls of the kidneys, ureters, bladder, and/or urethra, leading to an infection. This might lead to symptoms such as pelvic pain, a frequent urge to urinate, discoloured urine, and a burning sensation when urinating.

Now, doctors generally prescribe antibiotics to fight the infection, but studies have shown that edible berries – such as aronia berries – contain natural chemicals that actively prevent and treat UTIs [3]. Other studies have also shown that eating or drinking these edible berries and their products leads to a lower risk of developing a UTI[4]. So, your health-conscious aunt might be onto something when she drinks berry juice all the time!

Adding these berries into your diet is also rather simple. With a high concentration of Quinic Acid (about 5-10 times more than cranberries), Aronia Berries are found to have an effect on treating and preventing these infections. Having a glass of aronia berry juice before a meal or a sip of black raspberry vinegar could go a long way in preventing many illnesses, like UTIs, from happening!

On a more serious note, if you suspect that you might have a UTI, you can go to a polyclinic or a hospital and sign up for a urine sample analysis – after all, you are better off safe than sorry! Also, the process is relatively quick (it involves a simple dipstick[5] which you urinate on and send it to the lab for analysis), and the results will enable you to have peace of mind or at least find ways to treat it.

Overall, UTIs are frustrating and more common among some of us. However, with proper hygiene practices and the consumption of our selection of edible berries in your diet, this infection is easily avoidable. If you would like more information on the nitty-gritty of berries and how they help treat UTIs, stay tuned for our next article coming up on 19 August 2019!

The information contained in the post is for general purpose only and should not be considered as medical advice.

References

  1. Foxman, B. (2002, July 8). Epidemiology of urinary tract infections: incidence, morbidity, and economic costs. The American Journal of Medicine, 113(1), 5-13. doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/S0002-9343(02)01054-9
  2. Grabe, M., Bartoletti, R., Johansen, T. B., Çek, M., Köves , B., Naber, K., . . . Wullt, B. (2015, March). Guidelines on Urological Infections. Retrieved July 29, 2019, from https://uroweb.org/wp-content/uploads/18-Urological-Infections_LR.pdf
  3. Beattie, J., Crozier, A., & Duthie, G. (2005). Potential Health Benefits of Berries. Current Nutrition & Food Science, 1(1), 71-86. doi:doi:10.2174/1573401052953294
  4. Handeland, M., Grude, N., Torp, T., & Slimestad, R. (2014). Black chokeberry juice (Aronia melanocarpa) reduces incidences of urinary tract infection among nursing home residents in the long term—a pilot study. Nutrition research, 34(6), 518-525.
  5. Nicolle, L. E. (2002, September 15). Epidemiology of urinary tract infections. Clinical Microbiology Newsletter, 24(18), 135-140. doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/S0196-4399(02)80035-6