Are you feeling pain and pressure in your bladder, running a low-grade fever and constantly running to the bathroom only to feel like you can’t actually “go”? Welcome to the world of UTI! But there’s hope! No reason to suffer through this infection, and don’t worry about running to the doctor.
When you’re doubled over from the pain of a urinary tract infection, it’s good to know that you have options. While antibiotic drugs can bring relief from pain and other UTI symptoms, certain UTI home remedies can help, too. It’s true, food remedies have a place in your home treatment plan.
Sure, a whole host of drugs are available to treat UTIs, and they can help you feel better in as little as 48 hours. But in order to be treated with an effective drug, you have to have your urine tested at the doctor’s office which is not always possible. There are more ways to fight a urinary tract infection than taking an antibiotic. Home remedies can be just as fast and often times faster, and they’re possible for you to use anytime, even if you are on vacation. Food cures are as simple to use as running to the nearest grocery store, and you don’t need an appointment.
These home remedies can ease your agonizing UTI symptoms and heal the infection often times faster than a prescription, so before you rush to your doctor, browse my home treatment options below.
What Causes a UTI?
Bacteria is a type of germ that gets into your urinary tract and causes a UTI. This can happen in many ways:
- Wiping from back to front after a bowel movement. Germs can get into your urethra, which has its opening in front of the vagina.
- Having sexual intercourse can cause germs in the vagina to be pushed into the urethra.
- Waiting too long to pass urine. When urine stays in the bladder for a long time, more germs are made, and the worse a UTI can become.
- Certain forms of birth control like using a diaphragm, spermicides (creams that kill sperm) or on a condom.
- Anything that makes it hard to completely empty your bladder, like a kidney stone.
- Having diabetes, which makes it harder for your body to fight other health problems.
- Loss of estrogen and changes in the vagina after menopause. Menopause is when you stop getting your period.
- Using had a catheter, a thin tube put through the urethra into the bladder used to drain urine during a medical test and for people who cannot pass urine on their own.
Diagnosing a Urinary Tract Infection
Although it may be tempting to pick up the phone and ask your doctor to call in a prescription for an antibiotic when you think you have symptoms of a UTI, it’s always better to make sure that is what you are experiencing. Your doctor will want you to go into the office to test your urine to make a confirmation and to learn which type of bacteria is causing the infection. However it is not always possible to get to the doctor when you have an issue, so check out these signs of a UTI listed below:.
Signs of a UTI Infection:
- Pain or stinging when you pass urine.
- An urge to pass urine a lot, but not much comes out when you go.
- Pressure in your lower belly.
- Urine that smells bad or looks milky, cloudy, or reddish in color. If you see blood in your urine, tell a doctor right away.
- Feeling tired or shaky or having a fever.
How UTIs Are Treated
Doctors treat most UTIs with oral antibiotics, and typically treatment lasts about seven days. When you use antibiotics, they are basically like a nuclear bomb going off in your system, killing both bad and GOOD bacteria, which can cause issues. These “good” bacteria, known as gut flora, support immunity and proper digestion. Your intestines contain around 100 trillion bacteria of various strains, and while some can be deadly, there’s a natural balance in the gut that can be thrown out of whack by antibiotics.
Aggressive antibiotics, while helpful if you have a serious infection, can wipe out many good gut bacteria, yet leave those immune to antibiotics left to flourish. Many people, especially children, are vulnerable to unwelcome side effects of unnecessary antibiotics, including lasting changes to their gut flora. Yeast infections are very common after the use of antibiotics in women, and using antibiotics too often can cause bacteria to become resistant to them, says Yvonne Koch, MD, assistant professor of urology at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.
That said, if you are choosing to take antibiotics for your infection, you can see an improvement in your symptoms within 48 hours of beginning treatment, and it’s important to continue taking the medication until you’ve finished the entire course.
The treatments below are items you can find in your home to help take care of the problem no matter what type of bacteria caused it, and won’t cause your body to become resistant to further treatment.
Get More Garlic and Onions
I have used these two items successfully for years now, and actually because I consume all of the items on this list regularly, I haven’t had a UTI in a decade or so.
Garlic and onions help fight urinary tract infections because of their antimicrobial activity that kills bacteria such as E. coli, and other microorganisms to prevent them from growing in the body. Garlic & onions are also very rich in anti-inflammatory compounds, the most known is allicin, but they contain many other sulfur compounds that are going to wipe out the bad bacteria as well.
When you consume garlic & onions, they release active ingredients into the blood stream, and because your blood is going to get filtered by your kidneys, excess moisture and other chemical compounds are going to pass through your urinary tract. This allows the antibiotic agents to help tremendously in controlling the bad bacteria population.
Drinking Cranberry Juice
Cranberries contain hippuric acid that helps prevent bacteria from clinging to the urethra. Two studies published in the Canadian Journal of Microbiology and Colloids and Surfaces B: Biointerfacesrevealed that cranberry powder can inhibit the bacterium Proteus mirabilis, commonly found in complicated urinary tract infections.
Research by chemical engineering scientists at Montreal’s McGill University, showed that increasing the concentration of cranberry powder reduced the bacteria’s production of an enzyme that helps the infection spread. Previous studies from the same McGill laboratory found that cranberry materials limit the movement of bacteria found in UTIs, and the movement of bacteria is a key mechanism for the spread of infection.
In a review of 10 studies that involved 1,049 people, women who took cranberry supplements had a significantly lower risk of getting UTIs than women who took a placebo.
Be sure to drink unsweetened cranberry juice to avoid excess sugar that can cause more bacteria and calories to cause weight gain. You can use Stevia In The Raw or Monk Fruit to make the unsweetened version more palatable. Aim for 16 to 32 ounces a day, or try taking 400 milligrams of a cranberry supplement each day.
Drink More Water
While cranberry juice is fantastic at helping a UTI, one of the other most important things you can drink when you have a urinary tract infection is water. It helps flush the bacteria away, says Holly Lucille, ND, a naturopathic physician in private practice in West Hollywood, Calif., and author ofCreating and Maintaining Balance: A Woman’s Guide to Safe, Natural Hormone Health. Try drinking half of your body weight in ounces of water, up to 80 ounces a day. If you weigh 120 pounds, for example, aim for 60 ounces.
Fight Bad Bacteria With Good Bacteria (Probiotics)
Greek Yogurt, Kefir, Miso and other fermented foods contains probiotics, which are good bacteria that helps to keep bad bacteria in check, and limit or help cure UTIs, says Kandis Rivers, MD, a urologist at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, Mich. It’s always a good idea to eat yogurt/kefir regularly, but it’s particularly important if you’re taking an antibiotic for UTI treatment, which can wipe out your body’s good bacteria as I mentioned above. Probiotics are not only helpful for urinary tract infections, but researchers found that they can help the body fight many other infections. All yogurt starts out with healthy bacteria, but some yogurts contain extra bacteria that are beneficial for the gut.
Get More Vitamin C
As an antioxidant, vitamin C keeps your bladder and urethra healthy and working well. It also makes your urine more acidic, which helps prevent bacteria from growing and causing UTIs. The highest recommended dose for adults is 2000 milligrams per day, but for an acute UTI, you may want to try a higher doses for a few days. Because of potential side effects of high doses of vitamin C, it’s important to check with your doctor before you try higher doses.
Snack on Blueberries
Blueberries are cousins of cranberries and another strong antioxidant food that can help keep your body healthy and free of infection. It’s helpful to eat blueberries regularly, but when you’re looking for a medicinal effect, you need to consume even more. By drinking 100% blueberry juice within the first 24 hours after UTI symptoms begin, you should notice that your symptoms start to decrease. I like adding half a cup of frozen blueberries or more to my morning smoothie.
Ban The Burn with Baking Soda
If painful, burning urination is a problem for you during a UTI, some experts recommend drinking a glass of water mixed with about half of a teaspoon of baking soda to help with UTI symptoms, however, some believe cranberries are a better food source to turn to.
Other Ways To Soothe Your Symptoms
Soothe the pain with heat – If inflammation and irritation from UTIs cause burning, pressure, and pain around your pubic area, try applying a heating pad to help soothe the area. Keep the heat setting low, and limit it to 15 minutes at a time to avoid burns.
Cut out irritants – Things like caffeine, alcohol, spicy food, nicotine, carbonated drinks, and artificial sweeteners can irritate your bladder further and make it hard for your body to heal. Focus on healthy foods, such as high-fiber, complex carbohydrates and healthy fats like olive oil, which are good for your digestive health.
Keep emptying your bladder – Every time you urinate, even if it’s just a small amount, you rid it of some of the bacteria that’s causing the infection. So keep making those bathroom runs.
Try herbal remedies – You may find some relief from taking the herb urva ursi, which works as an anti-inflammatory. In addition, the herbs goldenseal and Oregon grape root can help your body fight E. coli, a common bacteria that causes UTIs. However, be sure to tell your doctor about any herbs you’re taking, because side effects can sometimes be serious.
At A Glance Guide To Curing Your UTI