If you’re prone to urinary tract infections (UTI), you may be hesitant to take yet another round of antibiotics. Luckily, there are several home remedies for UTI you can try that don’t involve taking antibiotics. Let’s take a look at some of the home remedy options for UTIs.
What is a UTI?
A UTI is an infection that occurs anywhere in your urinary tract, which includes your kidneys, ureters (the tubes connecting your kidneys to your bladder), bladder, and urethra (the tube connecting your bladder to the outside of your body).
Most UTIs are caused by bacteria; 80% are caused by Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus saprophyticus. When bacteria sits in the urinary tract for too long, it can lead to an infection that causes some pretty painful symptoms.
Symptoms of a UTI will vary depending on where in your urinary tract the infection is located, but may include:
- Burning sensation when urinating
- Frequent urination
- Cloudy, dark, red, pink, or foul-smelling urine
- Pelvic pain
- Only peeing a little bit at a time
Home remedies for a UTI
While antibiotics will typically clear up a UTI, people are becoming hesitant to continue use of antibiotics for recurrent UTIs because it can lead to antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
Luckily, there are plenty of home remedies that can help, including:
- Drink plenty of fluids. The more fluids you drink, the more you will urinate, which helps to flush bacteria from your bladder.
- Get plenty of vitamin C. Whether you choose to eat foods rich in vitamin C or you decide to take a supplement, vitamin C can make your urine more acidic, which will help reduce the growth of bacteria.
- Drink cranberry juice. Replacing one glass of water with unsweetened cranberry juice may help prevent bacteria from sticking to your bladder. Studies have shown mixed results about the effectiveness of cranberry juice. While it probably won’t hurt (unless you are on blood thinners or have certain medical conditions), it may or may not help. It’s worth trying it with one or more other methods of treating and preventing UTIs.
- Drink apple cider vinegar. Apple cider vinegar has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties that may minimize symptoms of a UTI.
- Use a heating pad to reduce pain. If you’re experiencing abdominal or pelvic pain, using a heating pad on the affected area for 15 minutes at a time can help relieve your pain.
- Take probiotics. Probiotics are good bacteria that can help maintain good gut health. Lactobacillus, one particular strain of bacteria, has been shown to help prevent UTIs.
- Eliminate bladder irritants. Caffeine, alcohol, spicy foods, nicotine, carbonated drinks, and artificial sweeteners have been shown to irritate your bladder, which can make it more difficult for your bladder to heal from an infection.
- Don’t hold urine too long. The more often you urinate, the more you can eliminate bacteria before it has a chance to multiply and cause problems.
- Urinate after sex. Having sex can spread bacteria from your rectum to your urethra. Urinating right after sex can help eliminate those bacteria before they take hold.
- Wipe from front to back. One of the main causes of UTIs is bacteria from your rectum reaching your urethra. Wiping from front to back helps reduce the odds of this happening.
- Wear cotton underwear and loose clothing. Bacteria love dark, damp places, so allow your nether regions to get plenty of air.
- Avoid scented feminine products. Scented feminine products can be irritating and lead to UTIs.
Think you may be experiencing symptoms of a UTI? Not sure what kind of treatment plan will work for you? Book an appointment with a PlushCare physician and get a treatment plan today.