A urinary tract infection, also known as a UTI, can be a very painful ailment that requires prompt treatment to prevent the situation from getting worse. A urinary tract infection can affect any part of the urinary tract, including the urethra, kidneys, bladder or ureters. Fortunately, there are many home remedies that have been proven to work for urinary tract infections. However, if the infection lasts for a long time or gets worse, seek professional help immediately.
Symptoms and Causes of UTI
The most common symptoms of urinary tract infections can include the urgent need to go to the bathroom all the time, pain or burning when you urinate, urine that is cloudy or pinkish, and pain or a feeling of heaviness in your lower abdomen.
There are two primary causes of urinary tract infections:
- Cystitis. This is the most common cause of a UTI. This infection of the bladder is caused by E. Coli bacteria, which is normally found in the gastrointestinal tract. Sexual intercourse can lead to this problem, but sometimes women develop cystitis with no intercourse at all.
- Urethritis. This infection of the urethra is caused when bacteria from the gastrointestinal tract comes into contact with the urethra. This can also be caused by some sex transmitted diseases.
Home Remedies for UTI
Fortunately, there are many home remedies for UTIs. Sometimes these work very well to get rid of the UTI altogether, but other times medical assistance might be needed. However, each of these remedies can be good for you, so it never hurts to give them a try.
- Turn To Cranberry Juice. This tried-and-true method of getting rid of UTIs has been around for decades. Though studies are not conclusive, many people swear that their UTIs are lessened or eliminated by regular helpings of cranberry juice. But a word of caution: Don’t try this if you take the blood thinner warfarin, as bleeding could result.
- Eat Plenty of Blueberries. The antioxidant properties of blueberries can help with a host of ailments, including UTIs. They are also from the same plant family as cranberries, so the juice can help clear things up too.
- Indulge In Pineapples. The enzyme Bromelain is found in pineapples, and studies have shown that it can help clear up a UTI, especially when used in conjunction with antibiotics. So eat up!
- Try Vitamin C. This vitamin helps acidify the urine, which prevents bacteria from taking hold. Some doctors prescribe at least 5,000 mg of this per day – check with your doctor to make sure this is okay for you before you start taking such high doses.
- Apply Heat. Heat applied to the abdomen, right over the bladder, can help soothe the aches and pains. Try this when the discomfort gets difficult to handle.
- Try Baking Soda. A touch of baking soda in your glass of water – about one teaspoon – can help flush out your system, thus getting the bacteria out of your body faster.
- Take OTC Pain Killers. Don’t suffer through the pain if you don’t have to! Over the counter pain relievers can work wonders for the pain of a UTI. But remember that these medications only mask the pain, so you still need to try out other home remedies at the same time.
Daily Tips for UTI
- Stay Hydrated. Drinking plenty of water is good for your body and it can also dilute and help flush out the bacteria that is causing the UTI. This is especially helpful as a preventative measure.
- Go To the Bathroom. This sounds very simple, but it’s true – going when you feel the urge means you can fight off UTIs before they have a chance to start. So don’t hold your urine! Get to the bathroom as soon as you can when you feel the urge to go.
- Avoid Irritant Foods. Processed foods that can make a UTI worse include cheese, dairy products, chocolate and spicy foods. Try to avoid all processed foods if you can, especially processed flours and sugars, and indulge in veggies and fruits instead.
- Avoid Artificial Sweetener. Artificial sweeteners such as aspartame can irritate the bladder and make a UTI worse. Avoiding these for a few weeks while you wait for the UTI to clear is a good idea.
- Ditch Nasty Drinks. Drinks that include caffeine, such as sodas or coffee, or those that contain citrus juices might make a UTI worse. The same goes for alcohol. In addition, drinks like this dehydrate you, and that can make a UTI linger.
- Wear Cotton Clothing. Comfortable cotton clothing can help your skin breathe, and that can stop bacteria. Men should choose boxer shorts, and women should choose underwear with a cotton lining. If you already have a UTI, cotton makes a much more comfortable undergarment.
- Clean Up Before and After Sex. When you and your partner make love, be sure to urinate immediately afterward to help remove any bacteria that might have found its way to your urethra. Clean the area before you make love as well, to cut down on passing UTI bacteria around. Finally, if you use a diaphragm, consider using condoms instead – diaphragms might make UTIs worse.
When to See a Doctor
With all these great home remedies for UTI, you might not need to see a doctor. However, there are some conditions that need medical cares.
- If a urinary tract infection lasts for several days without relief from these remedies, it’s time to call your physician.
- You should see a doctor immediately if you suffer from nausea and vomiting, fever and chills, or pain in your back below the rib cage.
- If you are pregnant and think you might have a UTI, see a doctor immediately, even if you are already trying out home remedies. When it comes to your child, it’s always better safe than sorry.