Natural Remedies for UTI
A urinary tract infection, or UTI, occurs when bacteria enters the urinary tract. The most common treatment for UTI is antibiotics. Medication is highly effective, but it does carry the risk of certain side effects, so natural remedies for UTI may be better.
Furthermore, frequent antibiotic use increases the possibility of antibiotic resistant bacteria strains developing. This is especially likely if the antibiotics are taken incorrectly or if the patient does not complete the full course of treatment.
Therefore, many people prefer to use natural remedies for UTIs, especially if their symptoms are mild. Here is all you need to know about when these remedies might be effective and when you should seek further medical advice.
What Is a UTI?
UTIs are a common problem, especially among women. They occur when bacteria enters the urinary tract, usually from the gut, causing a variety of symptoms.
The symptoms of UTIs include:
- Frequent or urgent need to urinate
- Painful or burning urination
- Difficulty passing urine
- The sensation that the bladder is not fully empty
- Lower abdominal or pelvic pain
- Dark or cloudy urine
- Blood in the urine
- Strong smelling urine
The most effective treatment for these symptoms is antibiotics. However, antibiotics can cause some side effects and also interfere with the natural bacterial balance of your body.
Furthermore, regular antibiotic use could cause resistant bacterial strains to develop, leading to serious problems in the future.
Fortunately, in mild cases, it may be possible to treat a UTI without using antibiotics. Here are some of the best natural remedies for UTIs.
10 Natural Remedies for UTI
If you have a severe UTI, it important to receive treatment from your doctor. However, if your symptoms are mild, you may be able to treat your UTI using these natural remedies.
Drinking enough water is one of the most important things you can do to keep your urinary system healthy and free from infection.
Staying well hydrated makes your urine more dilute. This could help to reduce pain and burning if you have a UTI. Urinating frequently will also help to flush through the urinary tract and remove any lingering bacteria.
Most people should aim to drink six to eight glasses of water each day. However, this figure can vary from person to person depending on their general health and activity levels.
Holding onto your urine helps bacteria to stay inside your urinary tract and cause infections. Flush them out by urinating whenever you feel the urge.
Wipe the Right Way
The majority of bacteria enter the urinary tract from the gut. When you use the bathroom, always wipe from front to back to avoid spreading bacteria from your anus to your genitals.
Practice Good Sexual Hygiene
Bacteria can also spread to the urinary tract during sexual intercourse. You can reduce the risk of this happening by ensuring that the genitals are clean before engaging in sexual activity.
Use barrier methods of birth control, such as a condom or diaphragm, but avoid spermicidal lubricants as they can increase the risk of infection. It is also essential to urinate before and after intercourse to clear the urinary tract.
Many people recommend cranberry juice as a natural remedy for UTIs. It works by preventing bacteria from sticking to the walls of the urinary tract and also has antioxidant properties to boost the immune system.
However, some cranberry juice drinks contain a lot of sugar. Be sure to choose an unsweetened product to maximize its benefits.
Like cranberry juice, vitamin C is rich in antioxidants to aid your body’s immune function. It also lowers the pH of urine, making it more acidic and inhospitable to bacteria. Some foods which are especially high in vitamin C include citrus fruit, strawberries, peppers and kiwis.
Probiotics help to maintain a healthy balance of bacteria inside the body, including the urinary tract. They also react with compounds in urine to form hydrogen peroxide which has some antibacterial properties. Finally, probiotics may help to reduce some of the side effects of antibiotics, such as yeast infections.
You can take probiotics as a supplement or find them in several foods, such as yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi and certain types of cheese.
D-mannose is a type of sugar which may be helpful as a natural remedy for UTIs. It appears to work by stopping bacteria from sticking to the urinary tract, similar to cranberry juice. It may be effective as a long-term preventative measure for people who are prone to UTIs.
If you have a UTI which is causing abdominal pain and discomfort, try applying some heat to the area. You could use a hot water bottle or a wheat bag that has been heated in a microwave. Hold it over the uncomfortable area for as long as necessary.
If you have any kind of infection, it is vital that you get enough rest. This will allow your body to focus on fighting the infection and may help to speed up your recovery.
When to See a Doctor About Your UTI
While some of these natural remedies may help to relieve a UTI, you should see a doctor if your symptoms do not clear up within a few days. You should also see a doctor about your UTI if you are:
- Experiencing UTI symptoms for the first time
- Suffering from side or lower back pain, fever, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
- Finding blood in the urine
- Elderly or very young
- Have a compromised immune system, for example HIV, cardiovascular disease, or lupus
Your doctor will be able to prescribe the appropriate treatment to stop your infection from spreading and getting worse.