We all know the feeling when you have to go – and I mean really go.
It becomes all that you think about, making you squirm with discomfort until you’re able to sprint to the bathroom. What might not be such a familiar feeling is finally making to the bathroom, only to find that nothing comes out.
And when it finally does, it can feel like fire blazing straight down your urinary tract. Ouch.
If you’ve never experienced a urinary tract infection, count yourself lucky. If you have suffered through one before, you can probably attest to just how miserable it can be.
This is where UTI remedies come into play. They can help prevent the pain and discomfort that inevitably comes with a UTI before it even begins. They also can help relieve the burning and stinging and allow your body to heal.
Before we get into the home remedies, let’s take a look at some of the basics.
Here’s what you should know about UTIs so that you can stop them for good.
Do You Have a UTI?
Although the symptoms can vary from person to person, common signs of a UTI include:
- A strong urge to urinate, even though very little actually comes out
- Urine that is dark or cloudy
- Foul-smelling urine
- Lower back pain
- A burning sensation when you urinate
- Fever or chills, usually indicating an infection
The typical UTI treatment includes a heating pad to reduce pain and a pack of antibiotics to kill off bacteria.
But if you suffer from frequent urinary tract infections, this is hardly a UTI remedy. Frequent use of antibiotics can wipe out your good gut bacteria, plus lead to bacterial resistance to antibiotics in the long run.
Bacterial resistance to antibiotics can be a big problem. When this occurs, the effectiveness of drugs used to treat UTIs diminishes and bacteria continue to thrive and survive, causing all sorts of trouble in our body.
Luckily, with the help of a UTI home remedy or two, it is possible to relieve the painful symptoms naturally and also prevent urinary tract infections for good.
Natural UTI Remedies
Here are my top 5 most effective UTI remedies.
It’s becoming clearer that good gut health translates to good health in general. This even holds true when it comes to UTIs.
Probiotics boost the good bacteria in our digestive system, which adds a multitude of benefits ranging from better digestion to a strengthened immune system. One unexpected bonus that comes from probiotics is their beneficial effect on the treatment and prevention of urinary tract infections.
A 2005 study looking at the use of probiotics found a significant drop in UTI rates, especially in the patients whose bladders were successfully colonized with the beneficial bacteria (2).
So how does it work?
Probiotics can help stop a UTI in its tracks by building up our immune system and blocking out harmful bacteria before they have a chance to cause infection.
Probiotics are available in concentrated doses in the form of a supplement at any pharmacy or natural health store. Alternatively, you can get your fix by adding a few fermented foods to your diet. Kimchi and kefir are two excellent (and delicious) foods that can provide a burst of probiotic power on your plate.
2. Drink Up
One of the most important things you can do – when you have a UTI and even before it begins – is to stay hydrated.
Drinking water is the easiest way to prevent infection. It helps by flushing out bacteria, easing symptoms, keeping your urinary tract clear and bacteria-free, and setting you towards a healthy recovery if you already have an infection.
How much water do you really need?
The general guideline has always been to drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water daily, although this doesn’t take body size into account.
Instead, a better guideline is to divide your body weight in pounds by two and drink that amount in ounces. If you’re 150 pounds, for example, you would want to aim for 75 ounces of water daily. For someone who is 200 pounds, 100 ounces of water daily should meet your needs.
Still, it’s important to listen to your body. If you’re experiencing signs of dehydration, like dry skin, increased thirst, or darker urine, it might be time to up your intake.
Have trouble drinking just plain water? Give these 7 flavored water recipes a try.
3. Eat Foods High in Vitamin C
Filling up on the foods full of vitamin C can help to acidify your urine.
While I normally promote a mostly alkaline diet, this is one instance where a lower pH can actually be pretty beneficial. It can kill off the growth of bacteria in the urinary tract to clear up an existing infection and keep new ones from developing (3).
Vitamin C is also great for boosting the immune system and preventing infection, which is why so many people load up on the Emergen-C when they notice a case of the sniffles coming on.
One study found that a megadose of vitamin C helps decrease cold and flu symptoms, effectively treating and relieving respiratory infections (4).
While vitamin C supplements are available, the best way to get your fix is through real food. Citrus fruits plus strawberries, pineapple, and raspberries are all brimming with the water-soluble vitamin. Bell peppers, leafy greens, broccoli, and tomatoes are also simple ways to get in more vitamin C. Here is one of my favorite Vitamin C smoothies.
Cranberries have a reputation as one of the best natural remedies for UTIs, and it’s all thanks to their D-mannose content.
This form of naturally occurring sugar is found in cranberries, apples, and blueberries and is powerful when it comes to treating urinary tract infections.
It works by attaching to E. coli bacteria, which causes the bacterium to stick together instead of attaching to the walls of the urinary tract. This makes it easy for the body to get rid of the bacteria through urination, eliminating the infection for good (5).
Although it is possible to get a good dose of D-mannose through eating fruits and consuming cranberry juice (or smoothies), it is also available in supplement form. Just 500 mg per day can help prevent, eliminate, and treat infections once and for all.
5. Practice Good Hygiene Habits
Besides supplementing your diet with UTI-busting home remedies or making sure you stay well hydrated, we can’t overlook the importance of maintaining a few good urinary habits.
First of all, make sure you’re urinating often and avoid “holding it” for long periods of time. This can contribute to the buildup of bacteria, which can eventually lead to infection and cystitis, or inflammation of the bladder (6).
Additionally, frequent sexual intercourse can up your chances of having a UTI. Women especially should make sure to use the restroom and clean the genital area before and after sex. Also remember to avoid the use of spermicides and always wipe from front to back to avoid the spread of UTI-causing bacteria (6).
Finally, practice good hygiene and avoid wearing tight clothing. This can trap moisture, which promotes the growth of bacteria and can lead to chronic urinary tract infections.
No More Burning Urges
If you suffer from chronic urinary tract infections, incorporating just a few of these natural UTI remedies can help cure the painful burn and sting that you’re probably all too familiar with.
You don’t have to wait until you have a UTI to break out the cranberry juice and keep yourself hydrated, however.
The best thing about these natural remedies is that they’re excellent both for treatment and prevention. In fact, start now and you can avoid the painful, unpleasant symptoms of urinary tract infections altogether.
Keep up with proper hygiene, good urinary habits, and a healthy diet. These three things combined are enough to flush out the bacteria so you can say goodbye to UTIs once and for all.
Feel Better Naturally
If you’d rather help your body heal naturally instead of bombing it with harsh treatments creating lots of side effects, be sure to download my guide to natural home remedies.
My free Healthy Home Remedies handbook includes 10 tried-and-true natural remedies for skin, eye, and ear problems, colds and flu, and more.
Chances are you have ingredients for some of the best remedies right now, in your pantry.
You can download the guide right now – for FREE! – by clicking the image below.
How to Treat a UTI naturally during pregnancy
Unfortunately, there are no natural treatments for UTIs. It is possible that the UTI may take care of itself. However, some conditions that warrant treatment without waiting to see if the body will rid the infection itself.
Pregnancy is a condition that warrants immediate attention if you are suspecting a urinary tract infection. Your healthcare provider will be prescribing antibiotics that are safe to take during pregnancy.
However, you can prevent UTIs naturally or at least reduce your risks of experiencing a urinary tract infection.
Here are several natural steps you can take to prevent a UTI:
- Cranberry Juice: Some evidence suggests that daily consumption of 100% pure cranberry juice with no added sugar may prevent UTIs because of a possible infection-fighting property contained in the juice. It is unclear how much and how often one should drink cranberry juice to prevent UTIs. You should not drink cranberry juice if you are taking the blood-thinning medication, warfarin, as it may lead to bleeding.
- Drinking plenty of water: This dilutes the urine and helps flush out bacteria that may be present.
- Avoiding drinks that may irritate the bladder: Coffee, alcohol, and soft drinks containing citrus juice or caffeine may irritate your bladder and perpetuate excessive urinating.
- Wiping from front to back: Wiping from front to back after using the bathroom prevents bacteria from the anal region from spreading to the vagina and urethra.
- Emptying your bladder soon after intercourse: It is important to try to flush out any bacteria that may have entered the urethra by drinking a full glass of water and urinating soon after sex.
- Avoiding the use of irritating feminine products: Using certain products such as deodorant sprays, douches, and powders can irritate the urethra and cause a UTI.
When treated correctly, UTIs rarely progress to something more serious (such as chronic renal disease); however, if you believe you may have a UTI, it is important to take proper steps to eradicate the infection as quickly as possible to prevent further complications.
Last updated: October 4, 2017 at 15:23 pm
Compiled using information from the following sources:
1. Mayo Clinic
2. Sweet, R., & Gibbs, R. (2002). Urinary Tract Infection. In Infectious Diseases of the Female Genital Tract (4th ed., pp. 411-442). Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.
3. Urinary Tract Infections (UTI). (1996). In D. Larson (Ed.), Mayo Clinic Family Health Book (2nd ed., pp. 841-842). New York, NY: William Morrow and Company.
Here Is Why Bee Propolis Helps Treat Infections:
For thousands of years, Propolis has played a role in the health of humanity. In the days of Hippocrates, Propolis was used to heal open sores and ulcers, including internal ones. In ancient Egypt, Propolis was used in the process of mummification. In Europe, Propolis was said to relieve inflammation and fever, and in World War II it was used to dress wounds sustained in battle.Over the years, it’s been used to fight tuberculosis, colitis, viruses (including the flu virus), and even acne. It’s been shown to be effective against harmful bacteria including staphylococcus. It’s also been used to enhance the immune system, which makes it doubly effective as an antibiotic – not only does it kill germs; it also boosts your own germ-fighting capabilities.
So Just What is Bee Propolis?
Propolis is a very complicated mix of elements that bees collect from nature. It’s a wax-like substance that is essentially a resin, but it is so complex that it’s impossible for humans to recreate. So it remains something of a mystery, but we can look closely at this amazing substance and draw some conclusions about its use, its chemical make-up, and its effectiveness.Propolis’ antibiotic properties come from a substance called galangin, and that it boosts immunity by increasing phagocyte activity (phagocytes are your body’s “warriors” against germs). Its anti-inflammatory properties derive from its ability to prohibit prostaglandins.
Components called phytotonizides play a role in Propolis’ ability to enhance the immune system, as they appear to stimulate phagocytosis.
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5 BEST Natural Home Remedies for UTI:
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D-mannose is a simple sugar in the form of a monosaccharide. It is the compound found in cranberries that helps with UTIs. You may have heard that you should drink cranberry juice for a UTI and that is because it contains D-mannose. However, I never recommend drinking cranberry juice for a UTI because it is high in sugar (even if it’s unsweetened) and sugar feeds the bacteria that causes UTIs. It’s a much better option to take D-mannose to get all of the benefits and none of the sugar.
D-mannose is quickly absorbed and can reach the peripheral organs in 30 minutes and is then excreted via urine from the body. Long-term use of D-mannose in concentrations of up to 20 percent have shown no side effect to human metabolism.
D-mannose has shown to prevent or alleviate UTIs because of its ability to bind to bacteria that cause infection and remove them from the body. In fact, it is very effective in reducing the adhesion of bacteria by increasing the clearance of bacteria into the urine. This ultimately decreases the risk of infection. (4,5)
In a recent 2016 pilot study,D-mannose was very effective in alleviating symptoms of UTIs as well as decreasing the recurrence of UTIs from 33 percent to 4.5 percent. Since long-term use is considered safe, taking D-mannose over a significant period of time can help with preventing another urinary tract infection.(6)
The microbiome is a fancy word which refers to the vast colony of bacteria, viruses and parasites that reside within us. Although the idea of so many microorganisms co-existing inside of us may sound scary, a healthy microbiome is essential to good health. More and more research is starting to uncover how good bacteria or probiotics can positively affect the immune system and intestinal and brain health.
Urogenital infections are no exception. Studies have found that the Lactobacilli species of probiotics are particularly important in fighting bacteria that cause UTIs as they produce ingredients that adhere to the bacteria and remove them from the body.
Daily oral intake of L rhamnosus and L fermentum were shown to modify vaginal flora. Taking probiotics can normalize the flora, which suggests that this treatment would be a good long-term alternative to those susceptible to UTIs. (7,8,9)
Allicin is the main component of garlic that has documented antibacterial activity, specifically for E.Coli and Staphylococcus aureus. Ajoene, a derivative of allicin, is found in garlic oil, which can cause broad spectrum microbial growth inhibition. (10) Basically, it acts like a broad spectrum antibiotic would, but without the worry of creating a super bug with long-term antibiotic use.
You can eat lots of garlic, take garlic oil or take it in the form of a pill.
4. Oregano Oil
Oregano oil extracted from the leaves of O. vulgare has been noted to have broad antibacterial activity. Research has also found it to have antiviral, antifungal, antioxidant and anticancer properties. (11)
In terms of what oregano oil can do for a UTI, it can greatly alleviate the symptoms associated with a urinary tract infection. This is so because it actively kills E.coli, which is one of the main bacteria responsible for UTIs. (12)
5. Biofilm disruptors
Biofilm disruptors are a good option if all of the above remedies haven’t worked for you. Most of the home remedies treat e. coli, which is the most common bacteria associated with UTIs. However, there are sometimes other bacteria at play and biofilm disruptors can treat these.
The easiest way to think of a biofilm is to envision a bunch of bacteria creating a web-like, interconnected structure that sticks to the lining of a tissue (in this case, the urethral lining). When a biofilm is created, it is very difficult for it to be destroyed with conventional treatments and makes recurrence of a UTI inevitable.
Biofilm disruptors contain enzymes that can break down the “web”or matrix created by bacteria. You can use biofilm disruptors to decrease recurring urinary tract infections. (13)
Can diet help to alleviate the symptoms of a UTI?
Of course! Foods that cause inflammation are also the foods that can exacerbate an infection. In general, bacteria feed on sugar. Therefore, if you eat a diet predominantly made up of processed sugar and white flour, you are feeding the bacteria causing a UTI and making the problem worse.
Here are some tips for how to eat to get rid of a UTI:
- Get rid of the sugar. Make sure to choose real, whole foods instead of processed foods where hidden sugars can exist. Even a little bit of sugar can set off an infection, therefore it is important to be strict until you get rid of a UTI. (Get Healy Eats Real’s FREE ebook on how to beat sugar cravings here)
- Choose probiotic-rich foods daily. You can easily incorporate foods that are naturally high in probiotics. Examples are home-made sauerkraut, fermented vegetables and kefir made from coconut water.
- Drink bone broth. Bone broth is filled with amino acids that help the liver to detoxify the body. Drinking 1 cup of bone broth two times per day can help the body to cleanse from excess pathogenic bacteria as well as provide more collagen for tissue repair.
- Eat a plant-rich diet. Consuming 2 to 3 servings of fruit and 5-7 servings of vegetables per day helps to create an alkaline environment within the body. Pathogenic bacteria have a harder time thriving in such an environment, therefore, make sure you make an effort to eat those veggies!
Eating a nutrient dense and inflammation-free diet, along with the right supplements, could vastly improve the duration and recurrence of UTIs without the negative side-effects of frequent antibiotic use. Make an effort to improve your dietary habits. Your urethra will thank you for it.
About Tina Christoudias of My Nutrilosophy
Tina Christoudias is a Harvard-trained registered dietitian with nearly 18 years of experience as a nutrition counselor. Having had personal experience with hypothyroidism, she specializes in diet protocols for Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and hypothyroidism and has recently finished her book, Tired of Feeling Tired, A Nutrition Solution To Treating Hypothyroid Symptoms. She is a strong advocate of the Paleo diet and is co-founder of My Nutrilosophy, a website dedicated to providing the latest science-based nutrition information on topics like hypothyroidism, infertility, cancer, gut health and general wellness.