20 Home Remedies for a UTI (Urinary Tract Infection)
A UTI is an infection which occurs in the urinary tract. Your urinary tract comprises of the bladder, kidneys, urethra, and ureters, so a UTI could occur in any of these areas. This system controls your production and passing of urine, filtering waste fluid from the body.
What Causes a UTI?
UTIs are most often caused by bacterial infections. Bacteria gets into the urinary tract and causes a number of issues and symptoms. The bacteria may enter the urinary tract through sexual intercourse or poor hygiene practices.
A UTI may also be a secondary condition in itself. For example, it can be caused by kidney stones which block the urinary tract and make it more difficult for bacteria to be flushed out of the body.
People who suffer from diabetes and those with weaker immune systems also have a higher risk of developing UTIs.
Symptoms of UTIs
UTIs usually have a range of symptoms including:
- a more frequent need to urinate
- pain or discomfort during or after urinating
- changes in your urine (color, smell, volume)
- blood in your urine
- a general feeling of being unwell
Home Remedies for UTIs
Drink Plenty of Water
Drinking plenty of water should always be your go-to if you find yourself struggling with a UTI. The more water you drink, the more likely you are to flush away the bacteria causing your infection, which can help you to recover sooner.
Try to sip water regularly throughout the day to stay hydrated without making yourself feel bloated or uncomfortable.
Foods which are high in vitamin C are able to make your urine more acidic. As a result, they make it harder to bacteria to survive and grow in your urinary tract, which helps to reduce your risk of infection. Taking vitamin C supplements will also have a similar effect.
UTIs can cause inflammation and irritation throughout the urinary tract. This is usually what causes the burning sensation or feeling of pressure in your pubic area when you have a UTI. Applying a heating pad to your pubic area can help to relieve this swelling and inflammation, thus reducing the pain too. Don’t apply the pad directly to your skin though and don’t leave them on for more than fifteen minutes.
Cut Out Foods Which Irritate Your Bladder
Certain substances like caffeine, spicy foods, alcohol, artificial sweeteners, and carbonated drinks, can irritate your bladder. This can cause your body to take longer to heal. Try switching these irritating foods for other alternatives such as high-fiber carbs like oatmeal or lentils. These are great for your digestive health which will help to ease the pressure of your urinary tract.
Go to the Toilet Regularly
Every time you go to the toilet to urinate you help to flush out some of the bacteria from your urinary tract. Even if you only manage to pass a small amount, it will help and have a positive effect. Go as many times as you need to – which should be plenty if you’re getting enough water.
Smoking harms your body in a number of different ways. The toxins and chemicals in tobacco smoke can damage cells within your body and damage your overall health. Quitting smoking, therefore, will make you healthier leaving you at less risk of developing a UTI. Cutting out smoking will also mean that your immune system is stronger, so it’s more able to fight infections should they occur.
Wear Loose Clothing
Bacteria generally thrive in warm and moist environments. Tight jeans and other tight clothing around the pubic area can trap bacteria. In women especially, this creates a breeding ground for bacteria around your genital area. As a result, it leaves you at risk of making your UTI worse or developing more infections in the future.
Wipe from Front to Back
Wiping from back to front can spread bacteria from your anus and rectum to your urethra. Bacteria from feces can often get stuck around the anus which will then be spread to the small opening that allows urine to flow out of your body. Wiping from front to back helps to prevent this from happening. If bacteria get to your urethra, it can travel further into your urinary tract and cause infections, preventing this from happening is one of the best ways to reduce the risk of infection.
You should also use separate pieces of toilet paper to wipe your genitalia and your anus. This will prevent bacteria from your anus coming into contact with your genitals.
Avoid Fragranced Soaps and Toiletries
Soaps with perfumes in them could cause irritation to your urinary tract. Avoiding them is a great home remedy for UTIs as it can help to prevent further irritation and stops symptoms from worsening.
Unsweetened Cranberry Juice
One of the most commonly referred to home remedies for UTIs is cranberry juice. You’re best choosing an unsweetened juice as artificial sweeteners could help to make some symptoms of a UTI worse. Cranberry juice is recommended because cranberries have antibacterial properties. This means they’re great a fighting and preventing bacterial infection. Many studies have shown that consuming cranberries and cranberry juice can help to reduce the frequency of UTIs, particularly in women.
Take a Probiotics
Probiotics are microorganisms which provide benefits to our bodies when they’re consumed through supplements or food. Their main benefit is that they help to create and maintain a balance of healthy bacteria in your gut. They are usually available as supplements but can also be found in probiotic yogurts.
In balancing the levels of healthy bacteria in your gut, probiotics can help improve both digestion and immune function. As a result, they make great home remedies for UTIs.
Have Plenty of Fiber
High fiber foods often crop up as home remedies for a number of conditions, including UTIs. This is because they help your body get the essential nutrients it needs to heal itself. As a result, they can help you recover from a UTI and other infections much more quickly.
Practice Good Sexual Hygiene
Sex can make you vulnerable to bacteria as it creates an opportunity for bacteria to enter the body. Practicing good sexual hygiene by keeping your genitalia clean, using barrier contraception and not sharing toys can help to reduce the risk of infection. As such, this can keep bacteria away from your urinary tract.
Spermicides can increase irritation around your genitals and urinary tract. They can also allow bacteria to grow so they’re best avoiding to reduce the risk of developing or worsening a UTI. When choosing condoms, just ones which are lubricated but not covered in spermicides. Unlubricated ones can cause more irritation and so can make any symptoms and inflammation of a UTI worse.
Fresh, raw garlic contains high levels of allicin, a compound with strong antimicrobial properties. In a number of studies, allicin has been found to have antibacterial qualities which enable it to tackle bacteria. It’s even been found to be effective on some drug-resistant strains of E. coli. Garlic also has antifungal properties which make it great for tackling yeast infections. All in all, garlic makes a pretty nifty home remedy for UTIs.
Certain studies have indicated to the antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral effects of clove oil. This makes it great for tackling infections caused by bacteria such as UTIs. It’s also great for relieving pain, thanks to its anti-inflammatory qualities. You can ingest clove oil orally to help ease a UTI, but it’s always best to consult your doctor before doing so as they can cause negative side effects to people with certain allergies.
Numerous studies have identified the antibacterial benefits of myrrh oil. Myrrh oil has been used to treat wounds and prevent them from becoming infected throughout history. The oil can be applied directly to the skin or by applying a cool compress to the affected area. It can also be taken internally, however, you should be very cautious if you decide to use it in this way. Make sure the oil is pure and of a high quality. You’re also best to check with your doctor that it is safe for you to use.
Oregano oil has proven antibacterial properties which are known to help inhibit the growth of certain bacteria. Specifically, it can help to tackle the bacteria most likely to cause a UTI. This, therefore, makes it a great home remedy for UTIs. Many studies have suggested that oregano oil can be used as an alternative remedy because it enhances the healing process of your body and reduces the risk of antibacterial resistance. It can be mixed with water or coconut oil and taken internally. Try to avoid taking it for more than two weeks in one go to reduce the excess build-up of the oil in your system.
Washing properly and maintaining good personal hygiene is one of the best and most simple, home remedies for UTIs. You can buy gentle, non-perfumed toiletries that are made specifically for washing the delicate areas of your body. These washes help to balance out the pH of these areas and reduce the risk of bacterial and fungal infections. By keeping the area around your urinary tract clean, you reduce the risk of bacteria getting into the track and causing an infection.
Changing your underwear daily and only wearing clean underwear is a great way to help boost the cleanliness of your genital area and urinary tract.
When to See a Doctor
If you experience the symptoms of a UTI for more than a week and don’t notice any improvement then you should arrange to see a doctor as soon as possible. Long-lasting and severe symptoms can indicate the presence of a chronic UTI or an underlying issue.
In most cases, however, your UTI should clear up within a couple of days. Home remedies should usually be enough to help ease your symptoms and clear the infection.