Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are extremely common in women. Most of the time, they are treated with prescription antibiotics. But that’s not enough anymore. The bacteria that causes a UTI can grow to become resistant to drugs, so women with reoccurring infections are struggling to get rid of an infection. Alternatively, there are natural UTI remedies that can help to treat a UTI and prevent reoccurrence.
What is a UTI?
A urinary tract infection (UTI) is a bacterial infection that occurs in the urinary system (it can include your uretha or bladder). Most infections occur from intestinal bacteria transferred from the anus, or bacteria transferred through sexual activity.
Bacteria can cling to the walls of the urinary tract causing inflammation, pain and irritation. Left untreated, the infection can spread to the kidneys and become quite severe and dangerous without the help of a doctor.
Symptoms of a Urinary Tract Infection
- Pain when urinating
- A burning sensation when urinating
- Pain in your lower abdomen or back
- Frequent need to urinate (but very little urine comes out)
- Color changes or strange smells to your urine
- Blood in your urine
- Fever or chills (a sign the infection has reached your kidney – seek medical help)
How to Use Natural UTI Remedies to Treat an Infection
1. Drink more water
Increasing your water intake is the most important thing you can do for a UTI. It helps to flush the bacteria out of your system. For proper hydration, you should be drinking 2-3 litres of water everyday. I don’t recommend you use other juices (except cranberry juice) or soda with a UTI because they’re too high in sugar. Sugar can feed the bacteria and suppress your immune system. Some cranberry juice has sugar in it also, so it can be better to take cranberry pills with no sugar and wash them down with lots of water.
2. Urinate often
The more you go pee if you have an infection, the better. Feeling a frequent urge to urinate is a common symptom of UTI’s, but usually very little urine actually comes out. If you’re drinking enough water, you should be able to go to the washroom to actually empty your bladder more often.
3. Keep clean
A urinary tract infection is bacterial, so if you have one, it’s important to stay as clean and dry down there as possible. Always wipe front to back after using the washroom. Wear breathable undergarments and avoid tight clothing. It’s also best to refrain from sexual activity until your UTI has cleared up.
4. Use garlic
Garlic contains an antimicrobial compound known as allicin. It can helps fight a wide range of bacteria, like those found in a UTI. The type of bacteria that contribute to UTIs can become resistant to conventional pharmaceutical antibiotics. Studies show that garlic however is still effective against multidrug resistant bacteria1, making garlic one of the best natural UTI remedies.
5. Try cranberries
If there’s anything you’ve heard about UTIs, it’s probably to drink cranberry juice. While cranberries do appear to help protect some women from UTIs, it’s not always effective. Some research suggests cranberries might help a UTI because they make the urine more acidic (because it’s high in vitamin C) and as a result it’s difficult for the bacteria to survive. While other studies suggest that something about cranberries prevent the bacteria from sticking to the urinary tract walls 2. Regardless, if you do try cranberries or cranberry juice as a natural remedy make sure it’s just pure cranberry. Real cranberry juice is quite tart in flavor and much more expensive than cranberry juices that are diluted with other fruit juices and sweetened with sugar.
Note: Cranberries can be an issue for those with reoccurring cystitis, so it is best to talk to your healthcare practitioner or avoid.
6. Use a probiotic
Probiotics help to support the strength of your immune system. They may also help to prevent reoccurring UTIs in women. They help to restore healthy balance to the intestinal gut flora which can help to keep the bad bacteria under control. To treat a UTI naturally, lactobacillus probiotics can be taken either orally or vaginally3.
Chew on this
Cutting sugar out of your diet during an infection can help clear things up faster. Sugar feeds bacteria and yeast that can disrupt the balance of microbes in the intestinal tract and vaginal tract. Too much bad bacteria can contribute to UTI’s and inflammation. Take a break from desserts and reduce any refined carbohydrates while you’re treating a UTI.
What natural UTI remedies have you tried? Tell us in the comments below.