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Dr. Karen Vieira

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About Author — Medically reviewed by Dr. Karen Vieira, PhD in Biomedical Sciences. Her passion is finding existing research on dietary and lifestyle changes that prevent, cure or improve various health conditions.

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Apple Cider Vinegar: UTI Treatment or Myth?

Any infection along your urinary tract is called a urinary tract infection (UTI). The urinary tract helps your body remove waste in the form of urine and includes the following organs and structures:

  • Kidneys
  • Ureters
  • Bladder
  • Urethra


Symptoms of an infection along the urinary tract can vary depending on severity and location.

In addition to medical drugs, and with prior consent of your physician, natural remedies for UTI can be used for relief from symptoms.

People often wonder if a natural cure for UTI includes apple cider vinegar.

UTI symptoms can be prevented by using apple cider vinegar; however, it may not be recommended for use if an infection has already developed or is severe.

Let’s look more into how and when to use apple cider vinegar for UTI.

Using Apple Cider Vinegar for UTI

At the onset of non-complicated UTIs with mild symptoms, using apple cider vinegar for UTI symptom relief may be effective for some due to the anti-inflammatory compounds, such as chlorogenic acid.

Research indicates chlorogenic acid can reduce the production of inflammation-causing substances that may complicate UTI symptoms. This acid can also reduce the amount of oxidative stress in the body that can occur from infection.

Having said this, it is not recommended to use only natural remedies for UTI symptoms as most infections will need other treatments such as antibiotics.

Overall, apple cider vinegar is better as a preventative measure for infection-causing bacteria, especially with it being a rich source of enzymes and other minerals such as iron, calcium, and magnesium.

Apple cider vinegar can be used as a good preventative measure for an infection developing from bacteria. The vinegar in apple cider vinegar contains acetic acid that is effective in reducing the growth of infection-causing bacteria. Urinary tract infections are commonly caused by bacteria entering the urinary tract.

About 90 percent of all UTI cases are caused by the bacteria Escherichia coli, or E. coli. This bacterium is part of the digestive system and usually found in our colons and fecal waste. It commonly ends up in the urinary tract from improper wiping or toilet backsplash.

Research has shown that the acetic acid present in vinegar was able to reduce the growth of E. coli by 50 percent. Part of this is because it creates an acidic environment in the bladder and kidneys that bacteria cannot flourish in. This means that using apple cider vinegar could prevent any bad bacteria that enter the urinary tract from growing into an infection before they can be flushed out.

Apple cider vinegar also becomes alkaline when consumed, making it a good preventative measure against kidney stones. Kidney stone build up is usually an acidic product and can block the urinary tract and make you more susceptible to infections.

Prior to using UTI natural remedies as a treatment, it is recommended to consult a healthcare physician to avoid complications, especially if symptoms increase. Sometimes tests may be needed to determine the severity of the infection. Some bacteria that cause the infection may require antibiotics.

Ways to Use Apple Cider Vinegar

Drinking plenty of liquids will help flush out any bad bacteria from your urinary tract. You can drink apple cider vinegar for UTI relief.

Mix one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar with eight ounces of water and consume this mixture up to three times a day. You can add a teaspoon of honey to the mixture for taste.

Apple cider vinegar can also be added to your teas; it goes well with green tea and lemon.

Another way to consume apple cider vinegar is to add it to your salad as an apple cider vinegar dressing. This can be made by combining apple cider vinegar with olive oil, honey, water, salt, and pepper.

Rather than consuming it as a drink, you can choose to soak in an apple cider vinegar bath by adding one cup of apple cider vinegar to your bath water. Soak in this mixture and rinse your body with cool water afterward. Lavender oil can also be added to the bath water for its soothing effects and additional bacterial-suppressing properties.

If you don’t have a bathtub or prefer to shower, you can clean your genitals with a blend of apple cider vinegar and tea tree oil that also has potent antibacterial effects. In a basin of one cup of warm water add five drops of tea tree oil and one cup of apple cider vinegar and use this to wash with.

These methods are best used as preventative measures before an infection develops. Consult your doctor before treating a UTI with apple cider vinegar.

When to Stop Apple Cider Vinegar for UTI

Although apple cider vinegar can potentially prevent infection, it is probably best to avoid apple cider vinegar for UTI treatment unless you have consulted your physician.

It may be alkaline forming in the body; however, vinegar could potentially increase the acidity of your urine when consumed. When more acidic urine passes through tissues that are already inflamed from the bacteria attached to the bladder lining, it can result in a severe burning sensation and/or make tissues more inflamed.

Some medications or treatment options may also have serious interactions with the apple cider vinegar, so it is recommended you seek advice from a doctor before using apple cider vinegar as an additional cure to make sure it is a safe for you.

Apple cider vinegar must also be consumed in moderation. Excessive use of apple cider vinegar can lead to side effects in some people such as indigestion and lowering potassium levels, especially for people on an insulin diet. Low potassium levels can lead to stomach pains, muscle cramps, and abnormal heartbeats.

Other Preventative Measures You Can Take

Other preventative measures you can take to reduce your chances of developing an infection in your urinary tract and to moderate the use of apple cider vinegar include:

  • Urinating when you need to and always trying to empty your bladder fully
  • Practicing safe sex and washing your genital area after sex
  • Taking showers instead of baths
  • Urinating soon after sex to flush out any bacteria that may have entered your urethra
  • Wearing cotton underwear and loose fitting clothing that don’t trap moisture because moist areas are a good environment for bacteria to grow

If you experience any symptoms of a urinary tract infection, call or book online with PlushCare to set up a video appointment with a top U.S. doctor today.

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