A urinary tract infection, or UTI, is an infection in the kidneys, bladder or urethra. Most often, the infection is present in the bladder and urethra. A UTI that moves into the kidneys can be very serious and can lead to kidney failure. More common in women than in men, a UTI is at least painful and extremely annoying. There are some common home remedies and tips that can help prevent or treat a UTI.
Home Remedies for UTI
Urinary tract infections are typically limited if treated appropriately. Occasionally, a UTI can spread to other areas of the body if the treatment is delayed or is not appropriate for the bacteria causing the problem. There are some home remedies for a UTI that can help with prevention and treatment. Never use these treatments instead of medical care by your doctor!
1. Topical Treatments
- Baking Soda. You may be able to prevent a UTI by mixing a teaspoon of baking soda in a glass of water and drinking it when you feel you may be developing a UTI. It is believed that the soda may help neutralize the acidic urine.
- Hot Compress. If you are having pain from a urinary tract infection, try using a warm compress or heating pad on your lower abdomen. This treatment may help relieve the pain and inflammation caused by the UTI.
- Tea Tree Oil. Tea tree oil is a natural antibacterial that is a topical remedy and preventative measure for UTIs. Add several drops of this oil into a bath and wash the urethral opening gently. You can also apply a small amount of this oil to your lower abdomen to help the pain of a UTI.
2. Beneficial Fruits
- Blueberries. Try eating blueberries. In addition to being delicious, these fruits contain substances that naturally fight bacteria that may cause a UTI.
- Pineapple. Another fruit that may help prevent a UTI is the pineapple. The enzyme bromelain that is found in pineapple seems to be the active ingredient that helps speed the cure when used in conjunction with an antibiotic. Eating pineapple regularly may help prevent the infection.
- Cranberry Juice. Drink cranberry juice every day. Just a small glass of this juice may help to reduce the bacteria that cause a UTI. If you suspect you are getting a UTI, double or triple the amount of cranberry juice you drink each day. The proanthocyanidins in cranberries fight the bacteria that might cause a UTI. If your symptoms persist, be sure to see your healthcare provider.
- Apple Cider Vinegar. Vinegar can be used when you think you may be getting a UTI. Add two teaspoons of apple cider vinegar to a glass of water and drink it two or three times a day. If you need a little sweetness in the drink, add a small amount of honey. This drink can help make the urine acidic and the enzymes in vinegar may help fight the bacteria.
3. Potent Supplements
- Uva Ursi. The herb uva ursi contains chemicals that can help prevent and treat a urinary tract infection. Available as an over-the-counter supplement, uva ursi helps kill bacteria. Before taking this supplement, talk to your healthcare provider to be sure it is right for you. If you are pregnant or nursing, you should not take uva ursi. If you have kidney or liver disease, your doctor will probably recommend that you NOT take this supplement.
- Vitamin C. Take plenty of Vitamin C each day especially if you are prone to urinary tract infections. Ascorbic acid in vitamin C acidifies the urine and creates a hostile environment for infection-causing bacteria. Fruits including oranges, raspberries, watermelon, and kiwi are great sources of vitamin C.
Daily Tips for UTI
In addition to the home remedies for urinary tract infections, you may be able to prevent this problem by doing a few simple things. To prevent a UTI or lessen the impact of the symptoms, do the following.
- When you feel like you have to urinate, do not wait. Letting your bladder fill up with bacteria can lead to a urinary tract infection. Empty your bladder when you have to go.
- After using the bathroom, wipe from front to back. If you wipe from back to front, the E. Coli from your rectum can enter your urethra and cause a major urinary tract infection.
- Drink alcohol and caffeine in moderation and avoid drinking them when you are taking an antibiotic for an active UTI. Both of these substances are major irritants to the bladder and can make a urinary tract infection even worse.
- Drink plenty of water each day. Unless you have a health problem for which you must restrict water, you should routinely drink about eight 8-ounce glasses of water each day. This water helps to flush out your kidneys and remove the harmful bacteria from the urinary tract system.
- Before having sex, be sure you and your partner are clean. A quick shower can be a romantic part of the experience…and may help prevent the introduction of bacteria into the urethra. After sex, be sure to urinate to rid your body of bacteria. Diaphragms may harbor bacteria that can cause a UTI so be sure to keep yours clean if that is your preferred method of birth control
- If all of these measures fail and you end up with a UTI, be sure to see your healthcare provider and take over-the-counter pain medications such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen.