If you’ve ever heard blood-curdling screams coming from the bathroom, chances are someone in the household has a urinary tract infection (UTI). UTI’s make the pee-pee experience downright torture. And, sooner or later, most women will go through this painful experience. How does this happen?

UTI’s are a bacterial infection. One way or another, usually by practicing improper personal hygiene (or having a case of what is commonly called “honeymoonitis”), E. coli bacteria finds its way into the bladder. Once there those nasty, little boogers use microscopic hooks to hang on for dear life, attaching themselves to the walls of the bladder and urinary tract. The irritation these invaders cause is the painful inflammation that becomes downright excruciating when a girl needs to empty her bladder, which, unfortunately, seems like every five minutes when suffering from a UTI. Needless to say, it becomes one’s only purpose in life to clear up a UTI once infected.

Traditional medicine will treat the condition with high-powered antibiotics. However, there are many people who prefer natural options. Fortunately, there are natural alternatives that are proven effective.

Pure Water

The first thing to do is to begin flushing the body with clean, pure water. Yes, it’s going to make you endure many more painful episodes upon the toilet, but it is a must. Flush, flush, flush your body then flush, flush, flush the toilet. Try to drink about half your body weight in water daily while in UTI agony.

Vitamin C

Amp up intake of vitamin C. Increase the amount of fresh fruit in your daily diet. Drink unsweetened fruit juices, particularly cranberry, and loads of it. For convenience, vitamin C tablets are an easy way to increase levels. By raising vitamin C levels, urine becomes more acidic which is a hostile environment for those nasty E. coli that have their hooks in you.

External Relief

If you’ve got time to just lie around and wallow in UTI misery, a heating pad on the abdomen or lower back can be very soothing. To lessen the intensity of screaming episodes in the bathroom, it is also helpful to cut down on dietary irritants such as: spicy food, carbonated drinks, alcohol, sugar and artificial sweeteners. Use fragrance-free and dye-free personal hygiene products. Wear cotton undergarments.

Herbal Remedies

Cranberry supplements can be taken for about five days. If the UTI has not completely cleared up by then, switch to goldenseal for a few days. Plain, enteric coated aspirin or feverfew can be taken for fever and the aches and pains associated it. But, remember, fever is not necessarily a bad thing. It is the natural by-product of a body whose immune system is in high gear fighting infection.

It has been a very long time since I have suffered from a UTI. I hope to never experience one again. Memories of sitting on the toilet, anticipating the searing pain that was to come, having my breath taken away when the pain arrived and biting my lip fiercely to prevent myself from crying out. Yes, UTI’s are extremely painful. And they are also something people are embarrassed to talk about so folks usually suffer alone. We need to stop the UTI stigma and support one another because, let’s face it, we’ve all had at least one UTI.