Natural Remedies for UTI
When deciding how to ease the pain of a UTI, don’t completely rule out natural cures. There are plenty of urinary tract infection home remedy options that can support recovery time by reducing the severity and duration of symptoms. Most home treatment for UTI also double up as good preventative measures that also reduce the risk of recurring symptoms. While there will be infections requiring medication or advanced treatments, some do respond positively to UTI natural remedies. Taking too many antibiotics can also create antibiotic-resistant bacteria strains making alternative options great to know. Learn about remedies you can try at home for faster relief from symptoms.
What is a Urinary Tract Infection?
An infection anywhere along the urinary tract is called a urinary tract infection (UTI). The urinary tract system includes several different organs that extract, hold, and transport urine before it is flushed out of the body. This process of flushing out the urine is also supposed to remove any bacteria that may have entered the urinary tract. When bacteria in the tract multiplies, it can lead to a full-blown infection.
The organs that make up the urinary tract are:
- Kidneys that filter blood, and remove waste and excess water to form urine
- Ureters, which are two thin tubes connecting the kidney to the bladder
- Bladder where the urine transported from the kidney, through the ureter is stored
- Urethra that is a thin tube connecting the bladder to the outside of the body
The bacteria that commonly causes UTI cases is Eschericha coli, or E.coli. They are found in our digestive tract and is one of the main causes of UTI by accounting for about 90 percent of all uncomplicated UTI cases. Improper wiping or toilet backsplash can accidentally cause bacteria from the anus to contact the genitals; these are some of the most common ways to spread E. coli into the urinary tract. Urine is normally sterile and an infection occurs when bacteria is introduced into the urinary tract. Inflammation usually starts at the opening of the urethra that connects to the bladder and the rest of the urinary tract. When bacteria reach the bladder where urine is stored, they can use the urine as food to grow and multiply. When enough bacteria are present in the organ, an infection can develop.
Common Symptoms of a UTI
Common symptoms of a UTI in the bladder include: painful or burning urination, cloudy and dark urine that may appear red or pink from blood, bad smelling urine, pain in the abdomen, a mild fever under 101 degrees Fahrenheit. Common indicators that an infection has spread to the kidneys include: chills and shaking, a fever exceeding 101 degrees Fahrenheit, nausea, and vomiting.
Whether you feel the onsets of an infection in the urinary tract developing or are seeking a natural treatment for UTI as an added preventative care measure, there are plenty of options to explore for reducing bacteria build up. While a natural remedy for UTI symptoms may be effective for mild cases, full-blown infections may require antibiotics or other treatment options. The faster you act on seeking relief from UTI signs and symptoms, the more effective the treatment will be. If your UTI is caused by structural issue, your doctor may refer you to someone who can advise on urinary tract problems. For structural issues, a specialist called a urologist would be involved and a surgery could be required.
Common Natural Remedies for UTI
You can get quick relief from mild symptoms or use natural remedies for UTI to ensure an infection stays away. Most natural remedies assist with flushing out bacteria from your urinary tract or preventing the spread and multiplication of bacteria. If your UTI is the result of another health condition such as an inflamed prostate or kidney stone, different types of treatments may be needed in complement with any home remedy option.
People often think of drinking cranberry juice as a UTI natural remedy. For UTI symptoms that are mild or preventative care measures, it can be; however, there is conflicting data on its effectiveness. The data supporting consumption of cranberry juice includes one study indicating that cranberry and blueberry juice can stop bacteria from adhering to the kidneys, which could prevent the spread of infections. If drinking cranberry juice as a natural cure for UTI, make sure it is unsweetened and in natural forms. Avoid drinking it if you take any blood-thinning medication and, in general, nobody should drink it in large quantities as it could deteriorate conditions in your kidneys. At most, one glass a day is recommended to avoid other risks such as kidney stones.
An apple cider vinegar and honey combination is another drinkable option that has UTI fighting properties. It contains malic acid that has antibacterial properties inhibiting the spreading of infections. One study sheds light on apple cider vinegar’s benefits towards preventing kidney oxidative injury. Honey also has anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties. Mix a tablespoon of the apple cider vinegar and two teaspoons of honey into warm water. Apple cider vinegar can also be mixed with other healing ingredients. Learn about additional ways to use apple cider vinegar for UTI prevention.
Foods as Natural Remedies for UTI
There are certain food items that can be consumed to help relieve symptoms of a UTI. Fresh parsley as garnish or a juice are known to help flush out toxins present and microorganisms in the kidneys. One study found that parsley juice leads to increased urine amounts when compared to water, allowing for more bacteria flushed. Parsley also contains multiple nutrients including vitamins A, B, and C. To make a parsley drink, take dried or freshly cut parsley, boil it in water for a steeping time of approximately five minutes, strain, and cool. Since parsley may interact with some medications, consult your doctor prior to trying this method.
Raw garlic cloves are another effective food item to start consuming today as a natural treatment for UTI. Garlic has diuretic properties that force the kidneys to pass more salt and toxins in the urine as well as works for pathogens resistant to antibiotic medications. Learn about the other benefits and uses of garlic now.
Constipation can cause irritation and skin lesions that increase risk of urinary tract infections (UTIs). Eating plenty of fiber in combination with the increase of fluid intake is essential to prevent this condition. Apples are high in fiber and contain anti-inflammatory properties. Apples can be eaten raw, added to smoothies, or sliced thinly to add to various salads. Cabbage is also high in fiber and helps with fluid-related issues that may affect the urinary tract.
Using Baking Soda for UTI Prevention
Baking soda, also known as sodium bicarbonate, can reduce flare up of infections. When using baking soda for urinary tract infection conditions, it can help neutralize the acidity in your urine. This change in environment prevents bacteria from multiplying and infections from spreading. It may potentially help detoxify the kidneys as well. Make a mixture to drink by combining half a teaspoon of baking soda with 4-8 ounces of water.
Although baking soda is natural, large amounts shouldn’t be consumed and prolonged drinking could lead to complications. Make sure you wait at least two hours between drinking glasses of the above described mixture. Be especially careful if you are pregnant or health conditions, such as diabetes, and consult your doctor for recommendations on using baking soda for UTI. The side effects of too much baking soda can include nausea, abdominal pain, and seizures.
Other Habits For Preventing Infections
On top of choosing a home remedy for urinary tract infection symptoms, engaging in other preventative measures can reduce the likelihood of infections developing or spreading. Methods that decrease exposure of the urinary tract to bacteria are effective options and include the categorized examples below.
Proper hygienic routines
- Good hygiene habits can ensure you never deal with an infection. This includes washing your genitals and wiping front to back.
- Individuals with indwelling bladder catheters should remember to have their catheters changed regularly to avoid irritation and infection, including cleaning and monitoring area surrounding where the catheter enters the urethra.
- For women, change sanitary napkins or pads often to avoid bacteria build-up or overgrowth. Using tampons is recommended as they keep the bladder opening area drier than a sanitary pad.
Healthy urination process
- Don’t hold pee. Try to completely empty your bladder without rushing anything.
- Urinate soon after sex, and make sure you practice safe sex in general.
- Hydrate often for a healthy flow of urine that can flush out bacteria.
Dietary and clothing considerations
- Eating plenty of fiber so stools pass easily; irritation and skin lesions from constipation can increase the risk of developing a UTI.
- Avoid drinks that may irritate your bladder making it harder to heal, like coffee, alcohol, and soft drinks containing citrus juices or caffeine.
- Avoid foods high in phosphorus such as milk, whole grains, chocolates, nuts, beans, dried peas, lentils, and organ meats.
- Avoiding synthetic undergarments or tight-fitting clothes that prevent air movement and increase the likelihood of sweating. These can create fertile environments for bacteria build-up.
If you experience any symptoms of a urinary tract infection, call or book online with PlushCare to set up a phone appointment with a top U.S. doctor today.