Whipping up effective home remedies for UTI is simple and a lot healthier for you than some of the conventional methods used for UTI treatment. But, before we dive into all the natural remedies you can use when a bladder infection strikes, let’s first go over what a UTI is and its signs and symptoms.
What is a UTI and UTI Causes
A Bladder infection, UTI, or cystitis are all terms used to describe the constant and urgent desire to empty the bladder. Over 6 million women in the US alone visit their physician every year for this irritating and uncomfortable condition and are usually prescribed with antibiotics for UTI and a recommendation to drink more water.
However, the use of these antibiotics, while helpful for killing off the bacteria that cause a UTI, leave the bladder vulnerable to more bladder infections in the future. In fact, many women who are treated with the use of antibiotics for their UTIs end up returning at least once over the next 12 months.
But how do you get a UTI to begin with so you can avoid the cycle of recurrent bladder infections?
To answer this, let’s go over how a UTI forms.
When the bladder gets an infection, typically caused by bacteria, it starts to become very inflamed which is known as cystitis.
The inflammation is what causes the urge to urinate even when there is very little or no urine left in the bladder. The bladder constantly feels full which is why those who have a UTI feel the need to urinate almost constantly.
There is usually pain or a burning sensation during urination sometimes accompanied by lower back pain, abdominal cramping, or even a fever.
Women tend to suffer from UTIs more often than men because of the differences in anatomy. In females, the urethra is very short in comparison to males and the urethral opening is more prone to bacterial cross-contamination either from the vagina or anus. (source)
These bacteria travel their way up the urethra where they infect the bladder and cause a UTI to occur.
Women who have taken antibiotics more frequently are more prone to getting a UTI simply due to the fact that antibiotics kill off the good bacteria needed to fight off infections and make UTI-causing bacteria more resistant to antibiotic treatment. (source)
Other causes for UTIs can be a poor diet or a weakened immune system.
So, just to recap, typical UTI symptoms include:
- Cramps in the lower abdomen
- Frequent desire to urinate
- Lower back pain
- Nausea or vomiting
- Pain or a burning sensation while urinating
- Scanty urine flow
- Urine appears dark and smells stronger than usual
The most common UTI causes include:
- A weakened immune system
- Drinking too little water
- Having previous UTIs
- High stress
- Holding in urine for too long
- Hormonal fluctuations, especially menopause (source)
- Kidney stones
- Overuse of antibiotics
- Poor diet
- Preexisting bladder cancer
- Sexual intercourse
- Structural abnormality of the urethra or bladder
- Systemic disorders like diabetes
- Wiping back to front
A UTI in men may indicate a more serious issue, typically in regards to the prostate, so be sure to see a doctor if you experience any of the above symptoms.
I am not against the needed use of antibiotics, but I do encourage others to make informed decisions.
Ask your doctor if the antibiotics are really necessary. Sometimes, they are needed to prevent a kidney infection, so just ask questions and go with what your doctor recommends.
Severe UTIs can result in a kidney infection with sepsis, so be careful!
Home Remedies for UTI That Actually Work!
Now that we know what causes bladder infections, it’s time to learn how to get rid of a UTI using remedies that actually work!
Diet Recommendations For UTI Treatment
This protocol, of course, starts with diet.
One of the best things you can start right away when dealing with a UTI is to start looking at your diet and making sure you’re getting all the essential nutrients your body needs including necessary fluids.
When it comes to UTI remedies, the simplest one that comes to mind is drinking more electrolyte-rich water. This will help stimulate more urine output which helps the body flush out the infection and keep your kidneys from getting overrun by bacteria. Shoot for upping your water intake to at least 6 glasses per day if you’re able.
Cranberry juice is one of the oldest home remedies for UTI in the book, and for good reason!
Cranberry juice (make sure it’s the 100% pure version) has the amazing ability to keep bacteria from sticking to the walls of the bladder and urethra. This allows the body to simply flush them away.
Make sure you ONLY get 100% pure unsweetened cranberry juice. Processed sugar will just make things worse.
Drink several glasses of pure cranberry juice a day.
Another juice to consider is pure blueberry juice. Drink 1-2 glasses a day.
Eat plenty of water-rich fruits and vegetables like celery and melon, especially watermelon. Maybe it’s time to hop on that celery juice cleanse after all!
Lastly, you will want to up your intake of probiotic-rich foods such as sauerkraut, live yogurt, kombucha, kefir, and other cultured sources of good bacteria to help rebuild immunity.
Foods to Avoid During a UTI
Below is a list of foods you should avoid not only while experiencing a bladder infection, but also, in general, to help prevent them.
- Any food or drink that contains refined sugar (especially soda and sweets!)
- Processed foods
- Salty food
- Spicy food
Consuming these foods during infection will further aggravate symptoms and can even cause recurring infections in the future due to their irritating nature.
The Best Home Remedies for UTI
Now we’re getting into some of the best home remedies for bladder infections and how to use them.
As always, I am NOT a doctor. Therefore, you should speak with your physician before taking any form of herbs, supplements, etc.
Something could interact with a condition you have or a medicine you are taking!
I offer these articles as a source of information where you can do research and make the best possible decision for yourself and your unique situation under the care of a doctor.
So, having said all of that, the following remedies are for adults unless stated otherwise.
The Best Remedies for UTI That Actually Work!
Think of cranberry extract like a compact and potent form of pure cranberry juice that you can take without experiencing the sour flavor. It’s still just as effective as drinking pure cranberry juice and will help keep bladder-infection-causing bacteria from sticking to the walls of the bladder and urethra.
Cranberry juice and extract also produce hippuric acid in the urine which acidifies it and inhibits the growth of bacteria.
Cranberry extract and the pure juice work well as a preventative and as a treatment during acute infection. (source)
Adults take 400-500mg of cranberry extract twice daily. Children ages 12-17, take 200-300mg of cranberry extract twice daily.
Taking cranberry or drinking the juice can make urine appear pink.
D-mannose is a simple sugar that is similar in structure to glucose yet is not metabolized like typical sugar to be stored in the liver for energy or converted into glycogen. Instead, D-mannose is filtered through the kidneys and into the bladder where its sugar actually coats the walls of the bladder, making it difficult for bacteria to adhere.
On top of that benefit, D-mannose is also a prebiotic which means it helps culture good bacteria in your system to help fight infection.
For adults, take 400-500mg of D-mannose 4x daily.
Echinacea helps encourage white blood cells to fight off infection and boost immunity, so it makes sense to use it when treating a UTI.
Garlic has long been known to help fight a variety of infections and bacteria and a bladder infection is no different.
For adults, take it in capsule form as directed.
This is my favorite brand of oregano oil. Adults, use as directed.
If you’re someone who’s been down the antibiotic rabbit hole, then taking a good probiotic is more important than ever, not only for preventing future bladder infections but also for rebuilding the healthy bacteria in our gut which in turn, helps us assimilate and absorb nutrients and support immunity.
If you are currently taking an antibiotic, take a probiotic at different times during the day to help offset too much die-off of friendly bacteria.
Uva Ursi is an herb that contains arbutin, the active constituent that converts into hydroquinone. It is this hydroquinone that destroys bacteria and helps the body bounce back from UTI infection.
For adults, take a standardized capsule containing 120mg of arbutin as directed.
Vitamin C is one of the best supplements you can use to help boost immunity, inhibit the growth of bacteria (namely E. coli), and makes the urine too acidic for bacteria to thrive.
For adults, take 1000mg 4-5x daily during infection.
Homeopathic Remedies for UTI
For the remedies below, choose the ones that match your symptoms and feelings best at a potency of 30C 4-6 times daily until symptoms improve. You can then stop taking the homeopathics unless symptoms return.
Acontium Napallus is best used as soon as you notice a bladder infection coming on when the urine feels hot. You may feel slightly fevered or anxious.
Apis mellifica is for those you experience sharp pains that improve with cold and worse with warm applications. Scantly urine is passed.
Atropa Belladonna is indicated for burning sensations in the urethra accompanied by a very urgent need to urinate. High fever may be present.
Cantharis is for a strong urge to urinate with scanty flow. Urination burns and may be accompanied by a sharp pain. Cramps may be present in the lower back or abdomen. Blood may be visible in the urine.
Mercurius Corrosivus is indicated for blood and puss in the urine where great pain and spasming is present while urinating. If this is your case, you must go to the doctor immediately!
Nux Vomica helps diffuse the constant need to urinate. Urine is scanty and the person feels cold and irritable. Symptoms improve with heat.
Sarsaparilla is for when burning is felt at the end of urination. It is easier to urinate while standing than sitting down.
Staphysagria is for bladder infections caused by sexual intercourse or the use of a catheter.
Essential Oils for UTI
Below are some of the best essential oils for bladder infection you can use to help alleviate symptoms. (source)
- Bergamot (FCF – learn why here)
- Eucalyptus radiata
- Tea tree
These oils can be used as massage oil or used in a sitz bath.
For a massage oil, dilute 5 drops (or recommended dilution on the bottle) of essential oil in 2 TB of carrier oil and apply over the bladder on the lower abdomen and on the lower back 1-2x daily.
For a sitz bath, add a few drops of essential oil to 1 TB of baking soda and dissolve it under running water as you fill the tub to hip height. Sit in the bath for 20 minutes.
Using the massage oil before getting in the sitz bath is also helpful.
Other Recommendations for UTI
- Always empty your bladder before and after sexual intercourse is possible to reduce the chance of infection
- Always go when the need arises. It is never good to hold urine for too long
- Always try to gently empty your bladder completely during urination
- Avoid irritating products near the urethra
- Damp conditions are a breeding ground for bacteria so try to stay dry
- Stay hydrated!
- Use unscented feminine products
- Wipe front to back to reduce the chance of bacteria causing infection
What have been your best methods for treating UTI naturally? Please share them in the comment below!
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