Urinary tract infections (UTIs) can be super-frustrating. You might take antibiotics to get rid of them, but they keep coming back again. . . and again. . . and again. What can you do? Well, now there’s a herbal remedy that could help you get rid of UTIs — and keep them away!
Okay, before we get to this amazing find, let’s review what we know about UTIs. According to the National Institute of Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse (NKUDIC), the UTI is the second-most common infection in the human body. Anyone can get one, but women seem to be more at risk.
An infection occurs in the urinary tract when bacteria enter the “urethra” (the tube that leads from the bladder to outside of the body) and sets up camp there. Sometimes they will migrate from there to the bladder, causing further infection. If you don’t get treated, the bacteria can even move on to the kidney.
You really don’t want this to happen, as it can turn quite serious and require a hospital stay. These bacteria usually come from the colon. Sometimes other tiny organisms that are sexually transmitted can also cause these kinds of infections.
How do you know if you have one? Well, sometimes there are actually no symptoms at all! Other times, you will experience some pretty noticeable signs. The most common symptoms are a persistent need to urinate and a burning pain in the urinary tract area when you do go. This pain might stick around even when you’re not going to the bathroom. Sometimes, you’ll only get a small amount of urine, even though you still feel like you have to go. Some people will notice a change in the appearance of their urine: it could look cloudy or red-tinged.
If the infection has made it to your kidneys, you might have one or more of these symptoms: fever, nausea, vomiting, or pain located below the ribs in your back or side. If you think you have a UTI, especially if you think that it’s become a kidney infection, it’s best to see your doctor. They can rule out the cause and prescribe you antibacterial or antibiotic drugs to kill off the bacteria.
Ah, antibiotics — that brings us to the latest news in UTI treatment! Many people who are prone to UTIs experience them frequently. They take antibiotics or other antibacterial treatments, but the infection comes right back. Sometimes it’s a new type of bacteria, but other times it’s the same ones. They just didn’t get killed off by the drug like they were supposed to.
You see, Duke University Medical Center researchers have found something interesting in studies on mice. They discovered that some bacteria were able to avoid the antibiotics meant to kill them by hiding away in pouches along the bladder’s wall. Once the antibiotic treatment was finished, the bacteria snuck back out and started to multiply again. This restarts the whole infection.
These same researchers found that “forskolin,” an extract from the Indian Coleus plant, actually has the ability to force the bacteria out from their cozy little hiding places. This allows the antibiotic to do its germ-destroying job thoroughly.
In mice, the Duke University Medical Center scientists found that treatment with forskolin flushed out 99% of the “E. coli” bacteria. This would allow any antibiotic in the system to kill them or let the urine flush the bugs out naturally. But the extract did not have the same effect on “S. enterica” bacteria.
Even without antibiotic treatment, the researchers found that female mice infected with E. coli and treated with forskolin had a 79% reduction in the number of bacteria in their urinary tracts within 24 hours. E. coli are the most common culprits in UTIs. Another group of mice was tested, a type known to be more prone to constant UTIs. These were infected with E. coli and then treated with the forskolin extract. Compared to a control group, the forskolin-treated mice experienced greater improvement in bacteria levels (56% decrease) and other markers of infection. These impressive results could mean relief for people suffering from recurring bouts of UTI.
As an herbal treatment, forskolin has not been reviewed or approved by the FDA for any type of treatment. Nevertheless, it shows great promise at least as a complementary therapy to antibiotics when dealing with a UTI. The researchers are also hoping that it could someday be considered as a replacement for traditional drugs for this condition. As you know, overuse of antibiotics is leading to extremely resistant strains of bacteria. Talk to your doctor before trying any herbal supplement, including forskolin.