How To Treat UTI with Home Remedies?
UTIs are among the most common bacterial infections. They are especially prevalent in women, around 50 percent of whom will have one during their lifetime. UTIs also tend to reoccur.
What Is UTI?
A urinary tract infection (UTI) is an infection in any part of your urinary system — your kidneys, ureters, bladder and urethra. Most infections involve the lower urinary tract — the bladder and the urethra.
Women are at greater risk of developing a UTI than are men. Infection limited to your bladder can be painful and annoying. However, serious consequences can occur if a UTI spreads to your kidneys.
Urinary tract infections don’t always cause signs and symptoms, but when they do they may include:
- A strong, persistent urge to urinate
- A burning sensation when urinating
- Passing frequent, small amounts of urine
- Urine that appears cloudy
- Urine that appears red, bright pink or cola-colored — a sign of blood in the urine
- Strong-smelling urine
- Pelvic pain, in women — especially in the center of the pelvis and around the area of the pubic bone
Can you treat a UTI without antibiotics?
Antibiotics are an effective treatment for UTIs. However, the body can often resolve minor, uncomplicated UTIs on its own without the help of antibiotics.
By some estimates, 25-42 percent of uncomplicated UTI infections clear on their own. In these cases, people can try a range of home remedies to speed up recovery.
Home remedies for treating UTI
To treat a UTI without antibiotics, people can try the following home remedies:
1. Stay hydrated
Drinking enough water is one of the easiest ways to help prevent and treat UTIs.
Water helps the urinary tract organs remove waste from the body efficiently while retaining vital nutrients and electrolytes.
Being hydrated also dilutes the urine and speeds its journey through the system, making it harder for bacteria to reach the cells that line urinary organs and to cause an infection.
There is no set recommendation for how much people should drink daily, as each person’s water needs are different. On average though, people should drink at least six to eight 8-ounce (oz) glasses of water each day.
2. Urinate when the need arises
Frequent urination puts pressure on bacteria in the urinary tract, which can help to clear them out.
It also reduces the amount of time that bacteria in the urine are exposed to cells in the urinary tract, reducing the risk of them attaching and forming an infection.
Always urinate as soon as possible when the urge strikes to help prevent and treat UTIs.
3. Drink cranberry juice
Cranberry juice is one of the most well-established natural treatments for UTIs. People have also traditionally used it to help clear general infections and speed up wound recovery time.
Studies on the effectiveness of cranberry juice for UTIs have had mixed results. According to one review, cranberry juice contains compounds that may prevent E. coli cells from attaching to cells in the urinary tract.
Cranberry juice also contains antioxidants, including polyphenols, which have antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.
There is no set guideline on how much cranberry juice to drink to treat a UTI, but a common recommendation is to drink around 400 milliliters (mL) of at least 25-percent cranberry juice every day to prevent or treat UTIs.
Beneficial bacteria, known as probiotics, can help keep the urinary tract healthy and free from harmful bacteria.
In particular, a group of probiotics called lactobacilli may help with treating and preventing UTIs. They may do this by:
- preventing harmful bacteria from attaching to urinary tract cells
- producing hydrogen peroxide in urine, which is a strong antibacterial
- lowering urine pH, making conditions less favorable for bacteria
People who take lactobacillus supplements while on antibiotics for UTIs may develop less antibiotic resistance than people not taking them.
Probiotics occur in a variety of fermented and dairy products, including:
- some types of cheese
People can also take probiotic supplements, which are usually in the form of a capsule or a powder that mixes into water or other beverages.
5. Vitamin C
Vitamin C is an antioxidant that helps to improve immune system function.
Also, Vitamin C reacts with nitrates in urine to form nitrogen oxides that can kill bacteria. It can lower the pH of urine, making it less likely that bacteria will survive.
6. Wipe from front to back
Many UTIs develop when bacteria from the rectum or feces gain access to the urethra, the small channel that allows urine to flow out of the body.
Once bacteria are in the urethra, they can travel up into other urinary tract organs where they can lead to infections.
After urinating, wipe in a way that prevents bacteria from coming into contact with the genitals. Use separate pieces of toilet paper to wipe the genitals and anus.
7. Practice good sexual hygiene
Sexual intercourse introduces bacteria and other microbes from outside the body to the urinary tract. Practicing good sexual hygiene can help to reduce the number of bacteria that people can transfer during intercourse and other sexual acts.
Examples of good sexual hygiene include:
- urinating before and immediately after sex
- using barrier contraception, such as a condom
- washing the genitals, especially the foreskin, before and after engaging in sexual acts or intercourse
- washing the genitals or changing condoms if switching from anal sex to vaginal sex
- ensuring that sexual partners are aware of any current or previous UTIs
When to see a doctor?
If a person suspects that they might have a UTI, they should speak to their doctor for advice on the best way to treat the possible infection.
See a doctor if you see these symptoms:
- increased frequency and urgency of urination
- pain or burning when urinating
- low-grade fevers (below 101°F)
- pressure or cramping in the area around the lower abdomen and groin
- change in the smell or color of urine
- cloudy, murky, or bloody urine
Although these home remedies for UTIs have been studied and proven to be effective, it’s important to use these natural treatments with the guidance of a health care provider. Uncomplicated UTIs should be treated within two to three days. If the symptoms do not subside within that time period, see your health care provider to be sure there aren’t complications.
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