7 Home Remedies for UTI… But Only One Works
Urinary tract infections are caused by bacteria entering the urinary tract. How do you know if you’re suffering from a UTI? If you often feel the need to urinate (even when the bladder is empty) and/or you’re experiencing a burning sensation when urinating, you might be experiencing symptoms of a UTI.
The symptoms of UTIs are not pleasant, so you’ll want to seek relief immediately. In addition, nearly half of individuals who experience a urinary tract infection are prone to recurrent episodes. So, what are your options for relief? If you prefer to steer clear of prescription medications when possible, there are several natural remedies with reported rates of success in treating symptoms of urinary tract infections. In addition to relieving the symptoms of UTIs, these natural remedies are easy to find – in fact, you might already have some of them in your kitchen.
The following seven home remedies are the most common when treating for UTIs. However, natural remedies should be discussed with your doctor prior to consumption to make sure they don’t interact with other prescriptions you are taking or any other underlying conditions. The effectiveness of each natural remedy may differ on an individual basis. We’ve tested and reviewed the following home remedies:
- Vitamin C
- Clove Oil
- Oregano Oil
- Lab Grade Cranberry Extract Tablets with Type A Proanthocyanidins (PAC)
What Causes UTIs?
Urinary tract infections are very common – so what causes them? Generally speaking, there are a number of causes that result in bacteria entering the urinary tract. And, as mentioned above, women are more prone to UTIs because of anatomy.
While there are several types of urinary tract infections, the most common is a bladder infection (also known as cystitis). Urinary tract infections can also affect the urethra, termed urethritis. In more rare cases, urinary tract infections that are left untreated can affect the kidneys, causing kidney infections. Kidney infections, known as pyelonephritis, are less common than bladder infections; however, they are more serious.
Bladder infections are most commonly caused by E. coli, a bacteria found in the gastrointestinal tract. One of the most frequent causes of cystitis in women is the fact that the urethra is very near to the anus and the urethral opening is a very short distance to the bladder.
Urethra infections are also most commonly caused by the close distance between the urethra and the anus. Another contributing factor of infection of the urethra in women is the close proximity of the urethra to the vagina. If a woman is experiencing a sexually transmitted disease, such as gonorrhea or chlamydia, often times she might also concurrently experience urethritis.
We know that UTIs are the most common bacterial infection worldwide; what makes you at a greater risk of experiencing this painful infection? We’ve already mentioned gender – women are by far more likely to experience UTIs than men. In fact, approximately half of all women will experience UTIs at some point in their lifetime. What are some other risk factors?
- Age (the older you are, the more likely you are to experience an infection)
- Kidney stones
- A previous UTI (unfortunately, UTIs are often recurrent)
- Sexual activity (especially multiple partners)
- Urinary incontinence
- Vaginal flora changes (e.g., caused by menopause, spermicides)
- Enlarged prostrate
- Prolonged immobility
- Not urinating frequently
- Wiping back to front (causing bacteria to enter the urinary tract)
What will you experience when you have a urinary tract infection? Some of the most common symptoms include:
- Painful urination
- Burning sensation when urinating
- Urge to urinate when bladder is empty
- Cramping in the groin area
- Cloudy/bloody urine
- Low-grade fever
- Frequent urination
To decrease your chances of getting a UTI:
- Urinate often (i.e., don’t “hold it”)
- Urinate after intercourse
- Refrain from using spermicides (they change vaginal flora)
- Wipe from front to back
- Drink plenty of fluids
Alternate Remedies for UTIs
Because UTIs are commonly recurrent, wouldn’t it be nice if there were home remedies that could decrease your likelihood of getting an infection? Well, there are. If you’re more interested in homeopathic remedies versus prescription antibiotics, below, we discuss the use and effectiveness of seven natural remedies for urinary tract infections.
Vitamin C helps to prevent urinary tract infections by making urine more acidic. The increased acidity reduces the bacterial growth of E. coli (one of the leading bacterial causes of UTIs). Vitamin C also boosts the immune system to fight off infection.
One study showed that pregnant women who took 100 mg of Vitamin C daily decreased the prevalence of urinary tract infections by 50%. Vitamin C can be taken in supplement form or can be found in many fruits and vegetables.
Related to glucose, D-Mannose is a type of sugar. The main reason D-Mannose has proven effective in decreasing the prevalence of UTIs is because its qualities prevent bacteria from sticking to the walls of the urinary tract.
D-Mannose sugar is found in cranberries.
A 2014 study in the World Journal of Urology found that individuals who took D-Mannose powder significantly reduced the recurrence of UTIs. At the start of the study, participants had a 98% rate of recurring urinary tract infections.
When it comes to garlic, allicin is the star component. Allicin is an active principle in crushed garlic and it is linked to antibacterial properties. More specifically, in its purest form, allicin inhibits the growth of several bacteria, including multiple strains of E. coli, the leading bacterial cause of urinary tract infections.
No major studies have documented the effectiveness of garlic when treating and/or preventing urinary tract infections.
Clove oil has made the list of natural remedies for urinary tract infections because of its antibacterial properties. Clove oil also has anti-inflammatory properties that lead to a decrease in pain. Clove oil should only be taken at a maximum of two weeks at a time.
A study in Phytotherapy Research has shown the effectiveness of clove oil as antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal.
Oregano oil is a strong antibacterial agent and has been found very effective in inhibiting the growth of E. coli, the most common bacteria found in UTIs. Not only is oregano oil effective in preventing the growth of bacteria, it doesn’t cause antibiotic resistance, often found with prescription antibiotics.
Oregano oil should be taken under the guidance of your doctor. Refrain from taking it for more than two weeks at a time.
Oregano oil prevents antibiotic resistance to different bacterial strains and has no serious side effects.
Probiotics build up the body’s natural flora, promoting the health of the bladder. Flourishment of natural flora inhibits harmful bacteria from overgrowth in the urinary tract. Additionally, probiotics are helpful in the fight against bacterial resistance, especially given that UTIs are often recurrent.
Probiotics are found in several foods, including kefir, kimchi, yogurt, kombucha, and sauerkraut.
Research in the Indian Journal of Urology shows that probiotics are essential in preventing the overgrowth of bacteria that causes illness. Because prescription antibiotics can destroy healthy flora, probiotics help re-instate the growth of natural flora, reducing the risk of infection.
Lab Grade Cranberry Extract
When thinking about urinary tract infections, one of the most often cited treatments for prevention is to drink cranberry juice. Cranberry works by inhibiting the growth of bacteria in the urinary tract, including E. coli, the leading cause of UTIs. However, many people do not like the taste of cranberry and/or cannot drink enough cranberry juice to ward off infection.
Lab grade cranberry extract tablets are extremely effective in inhibiting the growth of bacteria in the urinary tract and preventing it from adhering to the urinary tract. Lab grade cranberry extract tablets with Type A Proanthocyanidins prevent E. coli specifically. Proanthocyanidins (PAC) is a natural ingredient only found in American cranberries.
Researchers at University College of Medical Sciences (University of Delhi) & GTB Hospital evaluated the effect of lab grade cranberry extract on E. coli and found it to be “…superior to placebo in terms of reduced bacterial adhesion; bacterial MRHA negativity; urine pH reduction; and in preventing r-UTI…”
Lab grade cranberry extract tablets containing at least 36 mg of PAC in a daily dose effectively treat and prevent UTIs.
For more information:
Go to the Urinary Disorders health topic.