In a study conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics, urinary tract infection accounts for 8.1 million hospital visits each year. UTI is a type of infection that affects the parts of the urinary system such as the kidneys, bladder, ureters and urethra. While this condition often affects women, male urinary tract infection is also common. UTI may not be a deadly or a debilitating disease, but it can cause serious consequences if left untreated as the infection can spread toward the kidneys. Conventional urinary tract infection treatment involves using antibiotics. But did you know that there are home remedies for urinary tract infection that you can try?
Urinary Tract Infection Causes And Symptoms
First thing first, let’s discuss UTI as a disease. Urinary tract infection develops first in the bladder and urethra (lower urinary tract). If not treated, the infection can go up and progress to the ureters and kidneys (upper urinary tract). The different site of the infection results in the different type of UTI and these include cystitis (bladder infection), urethritis (urethral infection) and pyelonephritis (kidney infection). While cystitis is the most common and non-threatening form of UTI that results in bladder infection symptoms, pyelonephritis is a severe type of UTI characterized by reduced kidney function that can lead to death if not addressed immediately.
What causes urinary tract infection? Most of the cases of UTI are caused by the bacteria Escherichia coli but they can also be caused by other pathogens like Mycoplasma and Chlamydia. Anyone can develop UTI but there are certain people who have a higher risk for developing this disease more than the others. The causes of urinary tract infection may include sexual intercourse, poor personal hygiene, kidney stones, pregnancy, the use of catheters, menopause, the use of tampons, contraceptives, and long-term exposure to antibiotics.
If you suffer from UTI, you will experience different symptoms. The urinary tract infection symptoms vary largely on your age, gender, and other factors. But it is crucial to know about the symptoms of UTI so that proper treatments can be made. Below are the common symptoms of urinary tract infection:
- Cloudy to bloody urine
- Strong-smelling urine
- Frequent urge to urinate
- Painful urination
- Pains on the lower back and side regions
- Pelvic pressure
- Fever and chills
Top Home Remedies For UTI
Now that you already know the causes of a urinary tract infection, it is time to learn about its treatment. If you have been asking yourself “How to cure a UTI?” then you have come to the right place. While antibiotics are the most common UTI medication, there are natural bladder infection treatments that you can try to help relieve the pain that you are feeling right now. But why are home remedies for UTI effective? It is crucial to take note that the natural remedies have anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory, and antispasmodic properties. Thus, the home remedies for a bladder infection mentioned below, will not only help you deal with the bacterial population causing UTI but will also help remove inflammation as well as relax the muscles of the urinary tract. Check out the top ten home remedies for UTI.
#1: Drinking Plenty Of Liquids
One of the most common home remedies for urinary tract infection is to drink water. It may sound very simple but drinking water can do wonders for your bladder condition. Drinking water helps flush out the bacteria that causes the UTI out from your body. You need to constantly drink water if you are suffering from UTI so that it gives your body something to wash out the bacteria—which is your pee. While it is advisable to drink eight (8) glasses of water, you need to drink more if you have UTI. This is important so that you will force your body to pee constantly during the day. And if your body is calling for you to pee, don’t hold it in! Pee every chance you get.
#2: Baking Soda Water
Aside from drinking pure water, drinking water with baking soda also works wonders in relieving pain in the bladder. In fact, it is the acidic urine that makes urinating very painful among patients suffering from UTI. But what makes baking soda effective in relieving symptoms of urinary tract infection? It has the ability to create an alkaline environment thus neutralizing the pH of the urine. To prepare the baking soda water, you need to mix a teaspoon of baking soda to eight (8) ounces of water. Drinking it first thing in the morning helps flush your urinary tract.
#3: Celery Seeds
If you want to add more flavors to your drink, then you can flavor your water while also fighting UTI at with celery water. The oil from celery contains butylphthalide which has diuretic properties. This means that it encourages you to pee frequently. You can pulverize the celery seeds and add it to a glass of water. Take twice a day for a few days to experience relief.
#4: Cranberry Juice And Blueberries
Berries are also well-known urinary tract infection home remedies. While there are different types of berries that people enjoy, there are two primary berries known to be effective in treating symptoms of UTI. In anecdotal evidence such as the one published in the American Academy of Family Physicians, researchers noted that substances found in cranberry juice inhibit the appendages–called fimbria–of E. coli from gluing itself to the surface of the bladder or urethra. Thus, if the bacteria cannot attach itself to the soft tissues of your urinary tract, then the lesser the symptoms you feel. Plus, the bacteria can easily be flushed out from the urinary tract with the use of other home remedies such as drinking water or soda water. Drink eight (8) ounces of naturally sweetened cranberry juice three times a day to help relieve the symptoms of urinary tract infection.
On the other hand, eating blueberries can help reduce the symptoms of urinary tract infection. Blueberries contain a compound called vaccinium that prevents the fimbria of the E. coli from adhering onto the walls of the urinary tract. Consuming two cups of blueberries daily for breakfast can help improve the symptoms of your urinary tract infection
#5: Increase Your Probiotic Consumption
One of the reasons why I am encouraging you to use home remedies for urinary tract infection is the alarming incidences of bacterial resistance. The thing is, if you have been drinking antibiotics to treat your UTI for a long time, then you are wreaking havoc on your body’s natural microflora. Maintaining a good microflora can help balance the good and bad bacteria in the body. But if you expose yourself to antibiotics, the balance of your natural microbial population can lead to opportunistic bad bacteria like E. coli to repopulate your body. This is the reason why your UTI keeps on recurring and every time it does, the symptoms seem to be more painful and less manageable.
This is the reason why it is important that you always maintain a balanced microflora within your body. This can be achieved by consuming foods rich in probiotics. Several studies have noted that the benign bacterial flora in the body prevents the overpopulation of bad bacteria that can cause diseases. Consuming foods rich in probiotics such as yogurt, kefir, kombucha, kimchi, sauerkraut, and raw cheese can help boost the number of good bacteria in your body so that it can naturally fight with UTI.
#6: Eating Vitamin-Rich Foods
Taking in Vitamin C prevents the growth of E. coli as well as improve your body’s immune system so that your body can naturally kill the bacterial invaders that are causing your UTI. Intake of 100 milligrams of Vitamin C can help improve the symptoms of urinary tract infection. Aside from taking in Vitamin C supplements, you can also benefit from consuming foods rich in Vitamin C and these include lemon, peppers, broccoli, guava, kale, papaya, and oranges. However, intake of too many Vitamin C-rich foods can aggravate the painful sensation when urinating as it can increase the acidity of the urine. But then again, you can counter it by drinking baking soda water.
You also need to consume foods rich in Vitamin A. This is not only great for maintaining healthy eyesight but it can also benefit your immune system. Remember that a healthy immune system fights off infection including your UTI. You can get Vitamin A from consuming foods like carrots, sweet potatoes, melon, kale, apricots, and peppers.
#7: Heat Compress
The lingering pain in your lower abdominal area can be crippling. The inflammation in your urinary tract creates a nagging discomfort that is translated similarly like period cramps. You can alleviate the pain in your bladder, you can apply a heat compress. The warmth from the heat compress can help relax the muscles thus reducing the pain and spasms of the bladder. Heat can also reduce the inflammation in the muscles thus improving your condition. Use any empty bottle if you don’t have a compress and fill it with hot water. Wait for the water to be toasty before directly applying it on the affected area. Leave the hot water on for as long as you can tolerate it.
Spices have effective anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties thus they can be used as natural treatments for urinary tract infection. There are different types of spices that you can use and most of them are readily available in your kitchen. One of the spices that you can use is ginger. Ginger contains compounds that block prostaglandins–pain receptors–that are commonly found in areas that are severely inflamed. Drinking ginger tea can reduce the inflammation and pain just as effectively as drinking over-the-counter painkillers and anti-inflammatory medications.
Another spice that you can use to treat symptoms of kidney infection is garlic. Raw garlic contains potent amount of allicin that is responsible for the wide spectrum antimicrobial properties of the bulb. It has been shown that garlic can kill a wide range of bacteria including E. coli.
#9: Essential Oils
Essential oils are volatile oils that contain anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties. When it comes to treating urinary tract infection, there are three types of oils that are effective in treating UTI and these include clove oil, myrrh oil, and oregano oil. Clove oil, for example, can help relieve pain caused by a painful bladder. Take clove oil internally for a fortnight to see improvements in your condition. Myrrh oil, on the other hand, can help prevent infections. It is applied topically on the lower abdomen to relieve the painful symptoms of UTI. Myrrh oil is also easily absorbed by the skin thus helping reduce inflammation.
Another type of essential oil that you can use as a natural remedy for UTI is oregano. Studies have revealed that oregano oil can kill and inhibit the growth of E. coli bacteria. Oregano oil is used as an alternative remedy to antibiotics. Oregano oil can be taken orally by mixing a few drops of it with water. Take oregano oil for two weeks to see improvements in your condition.
#10: Stay Dry
One of the most common home remedies for urinary tract infection is to maintain proper hygiene. The bacteria E. coli that cause UTI thrives in a moist and warm environment. If you wear clothes that are too tight, it can trap the moisture within the delicate areas resulting to a perfect breeding ground for bacteria. This is one of the biggest factors why urinary tract infection in women is more common than urinary tract infection in men. To remedy this, wearing casual clothing made from breathable fabric will allow your skin to breathe.
Aside from wearing the right clothes, it is also important for you to practice proper hygiene. Always keep your crotch area dry especially after urinating. Moreover, you need to wipe yourself from front to back when using the toilet so that the E. coli from your feces does not get in the genitals.