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5 Home Remedies For UTIs

Looking for home remedies to treat your UTI? You’ve come to the right place! Read below to learn about urinary tract infection home remedies and get rid of that burning urine feeling for good! (And stop them from happening in the first place!)

NAFC recently conducted a survey that asked people how they were dealing with urological conditions during the pandemic. A surprising finding was that many of you reported an increase in urinary tract infections. While we don’t know why more frequent UTIs are happening – stress, a decrease in personal grooming, or poor diet choices may all be culprits – we do realize that urinary tract infections can be annoying, painful, and can cause an increase in incontinence or bladder leaks.

Urinary tract infections are caused by foreign bacteria entering into the urine tract, usually from the bowel, and they can happen to both men and women. In fact, about 60% of women and 12% of men will have at least one UTI in their lifetime. If you’ve ever had one, you will recognize the symptoms immediately: burning urine sensations when you pee, cramping, frequent trips to the bathroom, strong-smelling pee that may appear cloudy or dark, and a feeling of not quite being able to empty your bladder are all hallmark symptoms of UTIs. UTI’s are also annoying and frustrating, especially if they happen to you often. And, while the standard treatment for a UTI is pretty commonplace (an antibiotic usually clears it up in a few days), an in-person visit with your doctor to get that diagnosis and antibiotic prescription may not exactly be high on your list of things to do right now.

(Learn more about UTIs and what causes them here.)

While antibiotics are the fastest and most recommended way to treat urinary tract infections, they sometimes don’t work. You may also be wary of taking an antibiotic due to certain risks that accompany that treatment. Luckily, there are some great home remedies for urine infections you can try to treat the condition.

BELOW ARE SOME OF THE BEST NATURAL HOME REMEDIES FOR UTIS YOU CAN TRY RIGHT FROM HOME.

  • DRINK LOTS OF WATER.

    Drinking lots of water, and emptying your bladder when you need to, will help you flush harmful bacteria from your system. You may be hesitant to drink water due to the burning sensation you may have when peeing, but trust us on this – getting in your recommended 8 glasses a day will do you a world of good. You can also incorporate water-based foods – watermelon, oranges, lettuce, soups and broths are all great examples of foods that have high water content. Be sure to drink water throughout the day – if you wait until you’re thirsty, you’re already dehydrated. (Try our tips for drinking more water here.)

  • TRY DRINKING SOME UNSWEETENED CRANBERRY JUICE.

    While the research is a bit unclear, cranberries have been used as a prevention of UTI for generations. Studies have shown that cranberries actually make it harder for the bacteria that cause UTIs to stick to the urinary tract walls. So, while not really a remedy, if you frequently get UTIs, it might be worth drinking a couple of glasses of unsweetened cranberry juice, or snacking on the actual fruit (whole or dried). (Note: the “unsweetened” is key here – consuming juices with added sugars may only make your urinary tract infection worse.)

  • DON’T “HOLD IT”.

    We all get busy, but holding off going to the bathroom gives any bacteria that may already be in your bladder the chance to grow and multiply, potentially resulting in infection (or keeping one that you already have alive and well). Drink lots of water and when you have to go, go. Another good prevention measure – be sure to pee after you’ve had sexual intercourse to wash away any harmful bacteria and prevent it from spreading.

  • TRY TAKING A PROBIOTIC.

    Introducing a probiotic to your system may help to replenish the naturally occurring, healthy bacteria that live in the gut. It is thought that probiotics may prevent harmful bacteria from attaching to the urinary tract cells, and may also lower the urine Ph, making it less hospitable to harmful bacteria. And, if you have taken an antibiotic to treat a UTI, taking a probiotic is a great way to build up the healthy bacteria that may have been killed during your course of treatment. Probiotics are found in supplement form (often a capsule), or they occur naturally in some types of food, including certain yogurts, kombucha, or kefir.

  • EAT GARLIC.

    It turns out that garlic doesn’t just ward off vampires. A recent study showed that garlic extract may be effective in reducing the bacteria that cause UTIs.

  • ADD VITAMIN C TO YOUR DIET.

    Not only does vitamin C help strengthen your immune system, but it may also acidify your urine, which limits the growth of some bacteria and may prevent urinary tract infections from occurring. Just be careful of eating too many acidic foods when you have a UTI, as they can potentially irritate your bladder, which may only make your UTI symptoms worse.

  • AVOID BLADDER IRRITATING FOODS WHEN YOU HAVE A UTI.

    Certain foods are known bladder irritants – citrus or very acidic foods, artificial sweeteners, caffeine, alcohol – these can all irritate the bladder, leading to bladder leaks. And, if you currently have a UTI, they may affect you even more. Try to watch out for these common bladder irritants to prevent further irritation to your bladder and UTI.

  • WIPE FROM FRONT TO BACK.

    This one is more about prevention. Because many UTIs develop from the spread of bacteria from the rectum, it’s important to pay attention to how you wipe both after a bowel movement and after urinating. Always wipe from front to back to avoid spreading bacteria to the urethra, and on to the urinary tract.

HOW TO EASE THE PAIN OF A UTI

If you’re experiencing pain due to a urinary tract infection, the following may help ease it until you’re able to treat and get rid of the UTI:

  • WEAR LOOSE CLOTHING.

    Your goal here is to prevent moisture from accumulating in the pelvic region, which could make your infection worse. Wearing loose clothing, preferably made from cotton or other natural materials will help keep moisture at bay and will help you feel more comfortable.

  • APPLY HEAT.

    Use a heating pad, a warm washcloth, or a hot water bottle to apply heat to your bladder or pelvic area if you’re feeling pain or discomfort there from your UTI. You may also wish to take a warm bath to help relieve any pain and to help your muscles relax.

  • TAKE AN OTC PAIN RELIEVER

    Over-the-counter pain medications can temporarily relieve pain caused by a UTI. Use caution here, and always speak with a doctor first, as some UTIs can turn into kidney infections. In these cases, patients should avoid taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), which could make the infection worse.

  • TRY TAKING A PROBIOTIC.

    Introducing a probiotic to your system may help to replenish the naturally occurring, healthy bacteria that live in the gut. It is thought that probiotics may prevent harmful bacteria from attaching to the urinary tract cells, and may also lower the urine Ph, making it less hospitable to harmful bacteria. And, if you have taken an antibiotic to treat a UTI, taking a probiotic is a great way to build up the healthy bacteria that may have been killed during your course of treatment. Probiotics are found in supplement form (often a capsule), or they occur naturally in some types of food, including certain yogurts, kombucha, or kefir.

WHEN TO SEE A DOCTOR FOR YOUR UTI

If your symptoms persist beyond a few days with no sign of improvement, or if your infection keeps recurring, it’s best to see a doctor. While many home remedies may ease symptoms if they persist your doctor will be able to determine the cause and prescribe a course of antibiotics that should help take care of your UTI right away and prevent it from leading to a worsening condition or infection.

Have you tried any of the above natural remedies for UTIs, or other home treatments to treat your urinary tract infection? Tell us about them in the comments below!

PS: If you suffer from chronic UTIs, this article is a must-read!

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