11 Effective Home Remedies for Urinary Tract Infections (UTI)
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Urinary tract infection (UTI) is among the most common infections and results in about 8 million doctor visits per year.
Women are more likely to counter the problem with every one in two women having a risk of getting UTI at least once in a lifetime. Among these women, many struggle with repeated infections.
When the infection is confined to the urinary bladder, it causes pain and discomfort, but if it spreads to the kidneys, serious consequences can occur.
This article presents effective home remedies that you can apply to treat urinary tract infections and prevent their recurrence.
1. Stay Hydrated
Painful urination mostly accompanies urinary tract infections, and therefore, most individuals avoid consuming enough water to prevent the urge to urinate.
Note that hydration status is inversely related to the risk of urinary tract infection, and drinking more water is associated with the prevention and treatment of UTIs.
In a study composed of 141 girls, a comparison was drawn between low fluid intake and infrequent urination.
The results showed that both of these factors were associated with recurrent urinary tract infections (source). Similarly, an increase in fluid intake was found to lessen the frequency of UTIs (source).
The more water you drink, the more the flow of urine, and more are the chances to flush away the causative bacteria (source).
Recent studies on the subject show that drinking water is not only associated with the removal of the causative organism through urine, but it also causes certain biochemical changes in the urinary tract that helps treat and prevent UTIs.
The best advice is to drink water throughout the day, not just when you feel thirsty.
2. Drink Cranberry Juice
Unsweetened cranberry juice is one of the oldest known remedies to fight urinary tract infections. Cranberry contains some ingredient that inhibits infection by interfering with the bacterial adherence to the wall of the urinary tract (source).
In a research study, a group of women with a recent history of urinary tract infection was given 8-ounce of pure cranberry juice once a day for 24 weeks and the results were compared with another group of women who also had recent histories of UTIs, but did not use cranberry juice.
Those who drank cranberry juice had fewer episodes of recurrent UTIs than the other group. (source).
Other than the juice itself, cranberry products may also lessen the number of urinary tract infection (source).
You may come across certain claims that cranberry juice is not really effective. Different studies have shown mixed results. So, you’d have to try it and find for yourself if it works for you.
Note that it is the pure cranberry juice we are talking about, not the sweetened juice available at the market. You can also try the cranberry supplements or dried form of cranberry.
Warning: Do NOT try this remedy if you are taking blood thinning drugs such as aspirin and warfarin.
3. Eat Raw Garlic
There have been numerous studies on the anti-inflammatory, antifungal, antioxidant, and immune boosting properties of garlic.
All of these properties can help fight infections. An active component of freshly cut/crushed garlic is Allicin that has antimicrobial properties against E. coli which is the most common causative agent of UTIs.
Do not be reluctant because of garlic’s odor. It is a useful remedy and worth a try. Cut up 4-5 cloves of garlic and consume 2-3 times a day to get rid of the UTI.
4. Get loads of Vitamin C
Fruits and vegetables make an essential part of your diet. They are an excellent source of vitamin C that has immune boosting properties and can help fight off infections fast.
Various research studies show that vitamin C has a protective role in urinary tract infections. It is seen that vitamin C increases the acidity of the urine, thereby killing the infection-causing bacteria. (source).
A study was conducted on a group of pregnant ladies who were taking 100mg of vitamin C daily. The results showed that these women had half the risk of having UTI as compared to the women who were not taking vitamin C (source).
Try these vitamin C rich foods to treat your UTIs:
- Red peppers
5. Use D-Mannose
D-mannose capsules and powder are an effective home remedy for treating and preventing the recurrence of UTIs. It is a type of sugar found in blueberries and cranberries.
A study was published in the World Journal of Urology. It tested the effectiveness of D-mannose powder in preventing the recurrence of urinary tract infections.
A number of 308 participants were divided into 3 groups; a group that received D-mannose powder diluted in water for 24 weeks, a group that received nitrofurantoin (an antibiotic) daily for 24 weeks, and a group that did not receive any treatment.
The results showed that D-mannose group had the lowest rate of recurring UTIs. The study concluded that D-mannose powder is effective in the prevention of recurrent UTIs.
Moreover, individuals who received D-mannose had fewer side effects compared to the ones who received the antibiotic.
D-mannose prevents bacteria from adhering to the bladder and cause them to be eliminated through urine, thereby protecting against UTIs.
You can find capsules and powder form of D-mannose and try its standard dose, i.e., 500mg, 2-3 times a day. This will make a safe and perfect home remedy to treat urinary tract infections.
Warning: If you are on blood-thinning medicines, talk to your healthcare provider before taking any form of D-mannose.
6. Try Bearberry Leaf Extract (uva ursi)
Uva ursi was a popular remedy before the days of antibiotics. This natural plant extract can help you fight off infections in the urinary tract. Uve ursi is available as tincture and capsules.
Start taking it at the first sign of infection and do not exceed its use to more than 4 days as extended use of the compound has been linked to liver damage. Moreover, while taking uva ursi utilize more alkalizing foods to enhance the effect.
7. Use Lauricidin
It is an antimicrobial supplement that treats UTIs caused by agents other than E.coli. Lauricidin blocks the replication of causative bacteria and disrupts their cell membranes, thereby helping to get rid of the infection fast (source).
8. Take Probiotics
From improved digestion to enhanced immunity, probiotics have various benefits. They promote good bacteria and replace bad bacteria, thereby improving the symptoms of UTIs.
Probiotics are the microorganisms that are associated with good health and can be utilized through food or supplements. Since the development of antibiotic resistance, probiotics have become a promising home remedy to treat UTIs.
Here are some probiotic foods you can incorporate into your diet:
- Probiotic yogurt
- Raw cheese
9. Urinate frequently
Many people have this habit of holding back the urine even when the urge is there. This provides pathogens with extra time to multiply in your bladder and cause infection. It also increases the risk of infection spreading to the other parts of the urinary system such as kidneys.
Holding the urine can increase your risk of UTIs, whereas passing out urine frequently can alleviate the symptoms of UTIs fast. The golden rule is to use a bathroom whenever there is an urge to pee.
10. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar inhibits the growth of bacteria due to its acidic nature. This can be especially useful in reducing the duration of UTIs. You can add 1-2 tablespoons in a glass of water or sprinkle it over salad.
Warning: Talk to your doctor about apple cider vinegar consumption if you have diabetes or heart diseases.
11. Drink Marshmallow Root Tea
This tea has long been used to treat kidney stones and UTIs. It has the following benefits regarding UTI:
- It reduces abdominal pain
- It reduces discomfort during urination
- It soothes the lining of the urinary tract
Just crush a marshmallow root and add it to lukewarm water in a quantity of 1:4. Soak the root overnight. Strain the tea and drink 3-4 times a day to treat urinary tract infections.
Prevention of UTIs
Recurrence is frequent with UTIs. Mentioned below are some general measure to prevent UTIs.
Empty your bladder before and after intercourse
Drink plenty of water
Pee when the urge is there
Avoid baths, take showers instead
Avoid using sprays and powders near genital area
After urination or a bowel movement, always wipe from front to back
Adopt birth control methods other than the use of diaphragms, spermicides, and unlubricated condoms
Eat a balanced diet
You can prevent and treat urinary tract infections by using several of the home remedies we highlighted above.
Although research supports most of them, not all remedies may work in your case. You need to try and find the best one.
Remember, the last thing you want is complications from UTIs; if there is no improvement within 2 days, contact your physician for appropriate medical therapy.
Moreover, if you have any health conditions, speak with your healthcare provider before using any of these remedies.
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