Urinary tract infection (UTI) is something you wouldn’t want to deal with. It is very likely you have experienced this condition at least once in your lifetime especially if you are a woman. While is hard to get rid of it, you always remember the stringent need of peeing and the impossibility of doing it.
UTI usually occurs because of bacteria such as E-coli. The urethra is a pipe from our urinary system which takes the urine from the bladder and leads it out of the body. This tube is very close to the anus so the chances that some bacteria from the large intestine enters the urethra are extremely high. From here the road to the bladder is short, and bacteria may go even further and reach the kidneys in case the infection is not properly treated. Statistics say that women get infected more often than men because their urethra is shorter. Intercourse can also get bacteria into the urinary tract.
When you have a urinary tract infection you will most probably experience one or more of the following symptoms:
- burning sensation when peeing;
- the constant need to urinate but you only can get out a few drops;
- changes in the urine color and smell (it may get dark brown or even red, and it might have an awkward smell);
- pain on the lower back or abdomen;
- chills or fever (in this case it is possible that the infection is already in your kidneys) or fatigue;
To take a test and see if you have this infection, go to a doctor and give a urine sample. It will tell for sure what kind of bacteria lies in your urinary tract. You don’t need to worry about the fact that the treatment usually contains antibiotics. There are plenty of home remedies for UTI from which we will list only the ones that will help you to fight it properly.
Home Remedies for Urinary Tract Infection That Work
1. Cranberry Juice
Cranberry juice is seen as one of the most famous natural remedies for UTI. Cranberries contain A-type proanthocyanidins (PACs), an active ingredient which is extremely efficient against the bacteria that might cause the infection. Also, studies show that this type of bacteria has extremities which resemble hair (called fimbria) making it easy for them to get stuck to the urethra walls. The combination of acids from cranberries neutralizes fimbria’s capabilities of clinging on to things thus reducing the chances for the appearance of the infection.
Unfortunately, the cranberry juice you will find on the shelves is filled with sugar or, in the best case scenario, it has a low concentration of active compounds. So you should find fresh cranberries and eat them or go for cranberry capsules. If you still opt for juice, choose an organic one and drink at least one tall glass three times a day.
If you are facing repeated infections, use this juice to prevent them from reappearing. In this case, two glasses per day would be enough. It is possible that your stomach won’t tolerate the cranberry juice as well as you hope and you may need to stop drinking it. But don’t worry, there are still other ways to get rid of a UTI.
2. Apple Cider Vinegar
As you probably know by now, ACV is a good-for-all remedy. Just like with other conditions, it can also help you get rid of urinary tract infection. The compounds in vinegar are useful in fighting against bacteria and prevent it from multiplying. You may consider apple cider vinegar a natural antibiotic.
You will need:
- 1-2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- One glass of water
- Combine the two ingredients and drink the mixture.
- Follow the treatment for several days until you notice an improvement.
Note: Pay attention to your body and symptoms. If you feel that the burning sensation is getting stronger, reduce the amount of ACV. It is possible that your urine gets more acidic due to the acetic acid in vinegar.
3. Baking Soda
Another universal ingredient that can be used as home remedy for UTI is baking soda. Its alkaline structure can rebalance the acidity in your urine and help you get rid of it fast. It will also reduce the burning sensation and make you feel more comfortable when you urinate.
- Take a glass and combine one teaspoon of baking soda with eight ounces of water and stir until it dissolves.
- Specialists advise you to drink this remedy in the morning, before breakfast for maximum seven days.
Caution: Since baking soda has a high amount of sodium don’t use this cure more than one week if you are trying to avoid salt.
Probiotics are good bacteria which live in our intestines and also in our genitourinary tract. When an infection occurs, it is possible that the probiotics number decreases. Their role is to reduce inflammation through the immune system, produce substances that prevent harmful bacteria from sticking to cell membranes and also produce mucin which acts as a natural barrier against all pathogens. Begin eating yogurt or drinks high in probiotics like kefir or kombucha. Add them to your daily diet.
5. Herbs for UTI
Herbal supplements and remedies are also efficient in the fight against urinary tract infections. Naturopaths already know that different herbs have different properties, so here is the list of the plants you may use for urinary tract infection.
5.1. Uva Ursi
Not many people know about a herb called uva ursi. It has an anti-bacterial effect due to its active compound, arbutin. Better known in Europe, uva ursi needs an alkaline environment to act efficiently. It is probably necessary to associate this remedy with baking soda water, so the pH in your urine becomes alkaline. People may take it in the form of tincture or capsules. Also, you may prepare a tea with uva ursi.
- 5 ounces of water
- 1 ounce dried uva ursi leaves
- Before preparing the drink, you need to soak the dried plant for at least half a day in the water.
- Bring five ounces of water to a boil and pour it over one ounce of dried uva ursi leaves.
- Let it infuse for 14-16 minutes, strain the liquid and sip the tea.
- Repeat for three to four times a day for maximum five days in a row.
Caution: do not use uva ursi leaves if you are breastfeeding or pregnant.
In the category of herbs for UTI, you may also find plants with a diuretic effect, like the dandelion. This plant pushes a larger quantity or urine through the bladder which has a washing effect. It is like they clean the urinary tract with a flush. You can introduce dandelion leaves into your salads. You may also prepare a tea out of it.
Hydrangea is especially useful for infections that reached to the kidneys when you feel a pain sensation in the lower back. It alleviates the symptoms of any pain, be it abdominal or urethral. Just like dandelion you can use hydrangea in a salad or you can prepare a tea with it.
5.4. Horsetail Tea
Another herb to use as pain relief for UTI is horsetail. It contains tannins (an astringent compound) which have a constrictive effect on the inflammation of the epithelial tissues. Horsetail helps kidneys to filter and throw away any bacteria and toxins and increases the urine amount. Other active compounds, flavonoids, have a calming effect on the spasms that may appear together with urinary infection. To prepare a horsetail infusion, you will need the dried plant. It is also better to add dandelion to the tea for its diuretic effect.
- 1 tablespoon dried horsetail
- a cup of water
- 1 teaspoon dried dandelion
- Combine the dried plants in a mug and pour the boiling water.
- Cover and steep for about ten minutes. Strain to remove all the parts of the herbs and enjoy your tea.
- Add a teaspoon of raw honey if you prefer it sweeter.
- For this tea to have best effects, you need to drink two cups per day for several days until you notice an improvement.
6. Vitamins: C and A
Plants that contain these two vitamins can successfully enter the category of UTI cures.
Vitamin C stimulates the immune system, making the organism capable of fighting against all sort of infections. Increase the dose of lemons and citric fruits in your diet, but it may also be necessary to add some supplements to reach the appropriate amount of vitamin C.
Vitamin A acts as a protection barrier for cells against the “bad” bacteria. It has a regenerating effect, and it is also extremely helpful in the forming of new cells. You may find this vitamin in the form of beta-carotene from fruits and vegetables such as carrots, sweet potatoes, apricots, pumpkins, papaya, orange bell peppers or cantaloupe. Search for orange, yellow or red foods to get your daily intake of vitamin A.
7. Marshmallow Tea
This herb also can add stimuli to the immune system by enhancing its function, being tough with unfriendly bacteria. It may either prevent the occurring of the infection or inhibit the growth of any pathogens. Marshmallow has a soothing effect on the urinary tract, and it can stop bleeding in the urine. Its diuretic properties enlarge the urine quantity, flushing away the bacteria.
- a cup of water
- 1 tablespoon dried marshmallow root
- Add the chopped marshmallow root in a tea infuser and place it in a cup of boiling water.
- Let the herb infuse for about ten minutes and remove it from the container.
- You should drink two or three cups per day for several days for the marshmallow to take control over the urinary tract infection.
Parsley has a diuretic effect, and it is widely used in soothing the effects or a urinary tract infection. This quality can fasten the healing because it helps kidneys to excrete a larger quantity of sodium. In this way, your blood will contain less fluid, and the pressure on the arteries will go down. Diuretic plants are used to treat high blood pressure for the same reason. As we previously said, an increased amount of urine acts like a pump that flushes out bacteria. To fully benefit from parsley’s beautiful properties, you need to consume it fresh. Dried plant is also an option, but it may lose some of the beneficial effects. Besides from adding it to salads, you may also prepare parsley water. The combination of the plant with its diuretic effect and water is incredibly powerful.
- 2 cups of water
- 1 cup of fresh parsley leaves
- Place the water into a small pot and bring it to a boil.
- Chop the leaves and add them to the water. Reduce the heat to a lower temperature and simmer for 8-9 minutes.
- Strain the plant leaves and enjoy the drink hot. You may take it to the fridge to chill down if it is too hot outside.
- Drink at least one cup per day until things are getting better.
Closely related to cranberries, blueberries can be considered natural remedies for UTI. Just like their red friends, these berries prevent the fimbria of the bacteria from sticking to the urinary tract cells. It is not easy all the time to find blueberry juice; our advice is to enjoy the whole fruits. They contain a lot of anti-oxidants which are very beneficial for the immune system as well as for the anti-aging process. Thoroughly rinse some blueberries (a cup or two) and eat them as a snack or add them to your breakfast cereals.
Ayurvedic remedies containing Amla are less known over the world, but they are extremely useful and Indian healers have turned to them for more than 6000 years. It is most probable that we may trust them if they have been proving their efficiency over such an extended period. Amla contains a significant amount of vitamin C which can fight against bacteria of all kinds. If you combine it with turmeric, another powerful herb with an anti-inflammatory effect, you will get an excellent natural remedy for UTI.
- cup of water
- 1 teaspoon of amla powder and turmeric powder (each)
- Combine all the three ingredients in a small pan and place it over medium-low heat.
- Simmer until the water evaporates.
- Serve the liquid paste two or three times per day for no more than five days.
Note: If the taste isn’t right for you, you have the option of adding it to your food.
11. Horseradish Root
Just like other hot plants, horseradish also has therapeutic effects on the whole body. It is known for its pungent and spicy taste and for bringing tears to your eyes and clearing your nose when you try to grate the white root. Horseradish contains a compound called allyl isothiocyanate which can kill the bacteria in an instant by going directly to its cellular membrane. In this situation, it is impossible for the “bug” to survive.
- 1 glass of milk or a piece of bread
- Half teaspoon of horseradish root
- Grate the root near a window for the burning smell that makes you cry to go outside. If chopping an onion can make you sigh, grating horseradish will certainly bring you to real tears.
- Eat the spice and drink some milk or eat the bread if you find it too hard to handle. Don’t drink water as it enhances the hotness of the plant.
- You may combine horseradish with a few drops of lemon and one teaspoon of honey for a better taste.
- Follow this UTI cure twice a day for several days and increase the horseradish quantity until you reach to one and a half teaspoon three times a day.
Caution: If you experience a stomach ache, stop taking the horseradish home remedy for UTI.
12. Tea Tree Oil
The power of tea tree oil of fighting against bacteria is well known as it is useful in treating all sorts of infections. You should never ingest this kind of oil as it can be extremely toxic. It is only meant for external use.
- If you experience pain associated with urinary tract infection, add ten drops of tea tree oil in your bath water.
- Take a relaxing bath and rub the urethra opening with the water from the tub.
- You can also massage your abdomen and the area close to the bladder while relaxing.
- This procedure will soothe the pain, making you feel relieved.
13. Ginger Tea
When it comes to UTI, you can call ginger a little miracle of nature. If you face an inflammation in your body, ensure that you have ginger on hand. In the case of inflamed tissues or organs, the organism creates a process called prostaglandin synthesis. During this process signals of pain are sent to the neurons to communicate that something is wrong. Ginger can fight against this process and reduce the inflammation caused by urinary tract infection. When it is gone, the pain is gone too. You should prepare a ginger tea for this condition.
- 1 teaspoon grated ginger and a cup of water
- Boil the water and add the ginger.
- Simmer for about five minutes.
- Strain the tea and add one teaspoon of honey for a more pleasant taste.
- Drink two or three cups per day for at least a week.
We all know that pineapple gives an amazing aroma to the pina colada. But it is not the appropriate time to enjoy that delicious cocktail right now. Instead, you should know that pineapple contains bromelain, an enzyme that has anti-inflammatory effects. It can alleviate the symptoms associated with the urinary tract infection. Always go for fresh pineapple instead of canned. You don’t need any preservatives and can’t help in curing your UTI. It doesn’t matter if you choose to eat the fresh fruit or to squeeze the juice, the benefits remain the same.
15. Water Bottles
Abdominal cramps often come together with UTIs. This discomfort associated with difficulties in peeing and constant irritation will make you want to get rid of a UTI in whatever way possible. Heat can soothe your pain and relax the muscles, bring comfort in the bladder area.
- Boil some water and fill a water bottle. Make sure the temperature is appropriate as you don’t need to get along with a burning sensation too.
- Place yourself down on a flat surface (like a couch or bed) and put the water bottle on your belly, on the bladder area.
- Gently press the bottle paying attention to your body.
- If you feel tough pressure and even more pain, stop doing it. Relax like this as long as you need or until the water gets cold.
16. Mint, Ginger & Juniper Berries Homemade Tea
We have shown you plenty of recipes to try for urinary tract infection. While most of them contain only one herb, the next remedy combines more plants to fight against this condition effectively. Peppermint can alkalize the urine, changing the environment and inhibiting the growth of the bacteria. Juniper berries have a diuretic effect, increasing the quantity of urine. Together with the anti-inflammatory action of the ginger, these three plants will stimulate the kidneys and will soothe the burning sensation associated with peeing.
- 2 teaspoons fresh ginger, grated
- 4 cups of water
- 1/3 cup mint leaves, fresh
- 2 teaspoon juniper berries, dried
- Combine all these ingredients in a small pot and bring everything to a boil.
- Simmer for eight or nine minutes and remove from the stove.
- Strain the liquid and drink two or three cups a day.
- If you prefer your tea sweeter add one teaspoon of raw honey after the liquid cooled down.
What You Can Do to Prevent and Treat UTI
1. Drink a Lot of Water
Peeing more often is critical for cleaning your bladder periodically. Water dilutes the urine and inhibits the growth of bacteria. A great thing about drinking more water is that when you have UTI, you will have some liquid to urinate, giving the fact that you usually can’t do this in the middle of an infection. Eight or more glasses of water per day are necessary to keep your urinary tract healthy.
2. Urinate Whenever You Feel the Need
If you keep the urine inside it is more likely for you to develop nasty bacteria. Therefore, go ahead and get it out whenever you need to, don’t hold it. The more it stagnates, the more it becomes prone to the growing of bacteria.
3. Pee After Sex
Intercourse can move the germs from the vagina into the urethra. Always urinate after having sex and clean your vaginal area. This advice is also good for men; you need to clean your genitals before and after the sexual act to prevent the infection from appearing, and to protect your partner, too. Wear a condom during intercourse for the same reason, to prevent bacteria from spreading.
4. Wipe Correctly
As you already know, bacteria can migrate from your vagina or the rectum into the urethra. To keep away the ones from the rectum, wipe from front to back. Otherwise, you can bring the pathogens into the urethra, especially after having a bowel movement.
5. Avoid Douching
Douching the vagina is not indicated if you want to get rid of UTI or if you are already infected. Inserting water into the vagina may have the purpose of removing harmful germs, but it also flushes away the healthy organisms, the ones that keep the vaginal flora in the balance. Lactobacillus can fight against bacteria which may cause urinary tract infection, so specialists recommend keeping this balance and let the good guys do their job.
6. Avoid Long Baths
If you have repeated infections, then you might consider avoiding baths and only take showers. Water in the tub collects the bacteria from your skin or any bath products and get it into the urethra. It may happen, and it would be better to avoid this situation.
7. Take Care of Your Contraceptives
Spermicides and diaphragms are contraceptive methods many women use. Diaphragms are safe to use, but be careful if they allow you to empty the bladder completely. If not, you have a problem that could lead to urinary tract infection. When you want to get rid of a UTI, don’t use spermicides. They alter the natural balance in your vagina and can also bring in bacteria.
8. Choose Cotton Underwear
We all probably consider silky underwear the sexiest but avoid it if you have UTI. If you are prone to this infection, it would be better to replace it with cotton products once and for good. Only keep it for special occasions. Tight polyester underwear creates a moist environment, perfect for the development of bacteria.
9. Watch the Estrogen Levels
Women in menopause experience a decrease in the estrogen level. This hormone is essential for keeping the good health of the vagina, so the lack of it will leave the urinary tract exposed to dangerous bacteria. Specialists recommend an estrogen cream for external use, two times per week, only if you didn’t ever have uterine or breast cancer.
10. Don’t Stay Wet
When you go for a swim, change your clothes quickly after you get out to avoid the moisture and prevent any infection from happening.
Conclusion: UTI in Men or Woman?
UTI is more common in women, but men also may suffer from this condition. The symptoms are quite the same as the ones the women experience. One particular characteristic of this infection in men could be some discharge from the penis. If you notice any unusual fluid, it is better to see a doctor for an accurate diagnosis.
Family doctors may prescribe antibiotics for this condition. You may also try the prescribed treatment because is written by a specialist. The only problem is that if you have recurring UTI, you will have to use a lot of drugs and the infection might get resistant. Also, the downside of the home remedies for it is that if you follow these for two weeks and don’t see any improvement, don’t wait, go again and look for help from another urinary disorders specialist and maybe he will give you another diagnosis.
PS: Maybe you want to check out our list of 40 Remedies & Pieces of Advice to Get Rid of Vaginal Odor.