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Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are very common, affecting about
Though UTIs can affect anyone, people assigned female at birth are more prone to them. That’s because the female urethra, the tube that carries urine out of the bladder, is shorter than the male urethra. The shorter distance makes it easier for bacteria to reach the bladder.
Common UTI symptoms include:
- a burning sensation when peeing
- frequent urination
- cloudy or dark urine
- urine with a strong odor
- a feeling of incomplete bladder emptying
- pelvic pain
Bacteria cause almost
Though UTIs are typically treated with antibiotics, there are several natural ways to manage infections and reduce the risk of recurrence.
This article reviews 6 home remedies you can use to treat UTIs.
You’ll notice that the language used in this article to share stats and other data points is pretty binary, fluctuating between the use of “male” and “female” or “men” and “women.”
Although we typically avoid language like this, specificity is key when reporting on research participants and clinical findings.
Unfortunately, the studies and surveys referenced in this article didn’t report data on, or include, participants who were transgender, nonbinary, gender nonconforming, genderqueer, agender, or genderless.
Dehydration is linked to an increased risk of UTIs.
This is because regular urination can help flush bacteria from the urinary tract to prevent infection. When you’re dehydrated, you aren’t urinating as often, which can create a breeding ground for bacteria.
To stay hydrated and meet your fluid needs, it’s best to drink water throughout the day and always when you’re thirsty.
Benefits of drinking more fluids for UTI
Drinking plenty of liquids can decrease your risk of UTIs by making you pee more, which helps remove bacteria from your urinary tract.
Vitamin C is thought to work by increasing the acidity of urine, killing off the bacteria that cause infection.
The study found that vitamin C had a protective effect, cutting the risk of UTIs by more than half in those taking vitamin C, compared with the control group.
Results from a small 2016 study showed that combining vitamin C with two other popular natural UTI remedies — cranberries and the probiotic lactobacillus rhamnosus — could be an effective treatment for recurrent UTIs.
Fruits and vegetables are especially high in vitamin C and are a good way to increase your intake.
Red peppers, oranges, grapefruit, and kiwifruit all contain the full recommended daily amount of vitamin C in just one serving.
Despite these studies, more research is needed to prove vitamin C’s effectiveness in reducing UTI risk. Plus, there are
Benefits of vitamin C for UTI
Increasing vitamin C intake may decrease your risk of UTIs by making your urine more acidic, thus killing infection-causing bacteria.
Drinking unsweetened cranberry juice is one of the most well-known natural remedies for UTIs. If drinking unsweetened cranberry juice isn’t your thing, you can also take it in capsule form.
Cranberries work by helping to prevent bacteria from adhering to the urinary tract.
However, some other studies suggest that cranberry juice may not be as effective in the prevention of UTIs.
Because of the inconsistent results of recent studies, researchers published
The results of the meta-analysis showed that cranberry supplementation significantly reduced the incidence of UTIs. While the researchers suggested that cranberry be used alongside other therapies to treat and prevent UTIs, they also noted that several of the included trials had limitations.
Although the evidence is mixed, cranberry juice may help reduce the risk of UTIs. Whether it actually works as a treatment for an active UTI is less cut and dry.
Keep in mind that any possible benefits of this home remedy only apply to unsweetened cranberry juice, rather than sweetened varieties. Cranberry juice with added sugars won’t help treat an active UTI.
Benefits of cranberries for UTI
Some studies suggest that cranberries could help reduce your risk of UTIs by preventing bacteria from adhering to your urinary tract.
Probiotics are beneficial microorganisms that are consumed through food or supplements. They can promote a healthy balance of bacteria in your gut.
Probiotics are available in supplement form or can be found in fermented foods, such as kefir, kimchi, kombucha, and probiotic yogurt.
Consuming probiotics has been linked to many things, from
Some studies also show that certain strains of probiotics may decrease the risk of UTIs:
2013 studyfound that Lactobacillus, a common probiotic strain, helped prevent UTIs in adult females.
2013 studyfound that taking both probiotics and antibiotics was more effective at preventing recurrent UTIs than using antibiotics alone.
Antibiotics, the main line of defense against UTIs, can cause disturbances in levels of gut bacteria. Probiotics may be
Benefits of probiotics for UTI
Probiotics could help prevent UTIs and are beneficial for restoring gut bacteria after antibiotic treatment.
Preventing UTIs starts with practicing a few good bathroom and hygiene habits.
First, it’s important not to hold your urine for too long. This can lead to a buildup of bacteria, resulting in infection.
Peeing after sexual intercourse can also
Additionally, those who are prone to UTIs should avoid using spermicide, as it has been
Finally, when using the toilet — especially if you have a female urethra — make sure you wipe front to back. Wiping from back to front can
Benefits of healthy hygiene for UTI
Urinating frequently and after sexual intercourse can reduce the risk of UTI. Careful wiping when you use the toilet may also help decrease the risk of UTI.
Several natural supplements may decrease the risk of developing a UTI.
Here are a few supplements that have been studied and are all available in capsule form:
- D-Mannose. D-Mannose is a type of sugar that is found in cranberries. Research suggests it’s effective in treating UTIs and preventing recurrence.
- Cranberry extract. Like cranberry juice, cranberry extract works by preventing bacteria from adhering to the urinary tract.
- Garlic extract.
Researchshows garlic and garlic extract to have antimicrobial properties, so they it may be able to block the growth of bacteria to prevent UTIs.
Benefits of natural supplements for UTI
D-Mannose, bearberry leaf, and cranberry extract are natural supplements that have been shown to prevent UTIs and decrease recurrence.
UTI supplement options
Read our full review of Uqora, a company that focuses on developing natural supplements for UTI prevention.
Why are females at a higher risk for UTIs?
People with female reproductive organs are at a
The female urethra is also quite close to female reproductive organs. That means bacteria from sexual intercourse as well as products like spermicide can be in close contact with the urethra and bladder.
Females also experience menopause and pregnancy. These two biological events change the bacteria in your reproductive and digestive tracts and create conditions that make UTIs more likely.
Should UTI treatment vary according to what’s causing the infection?
Your UTI treatment may vary according to what’s causing the infection. Certain UTIs, especially chronic and recurring ones, will need antibiotic treatment as opposed to simple home remedies.
If you’re prescribed antibiotics to treat a UTI, a healthcare professional may choose an antibiotic that’s specific to the type of bacteria that’s triggering your infection.
Will over-the-counter products (OTC) products like AZO get rid of my UTI?
Maybe. OTC products like AZO contain active ingredients that have antibacterial properties. In the case of AZO, the active ingredient is a compound called methenamine.
In combination with an anti-inflammatory compound, these products are meant to help your body kill harmful bacteria.
For powerful bacterial infections, the active ingredients in OTC products just might not be enough. Also, most of these products advertise as a protection against UTIs, not necessarily a treatment for current, active infections.
Can you get rid of a UTI naturally at home, or do you need antibiotics?
Sometimes, you can get rid of a UTI naturally by resting, drinking lots of water, taking dietary supplements, and giving the infection some time to heal.
However, there are certain situations where “wait and see” just isn’t an acceptable approach. Untreated UTIs can cause potentially life threatening complications, including sepsis.
When do I need to see a doctor for a UTI?
UTIs do have a risk of severe complications if they’re left untreated. UTIs that affect your kidneys and bladder need to be treated by a professional. Don’t ignore signs of a severe infection.
Signs that it’s time to get in touch with a healthcare professional include:
- a fever over 103°F (39.4°C)
- blood in your urine
UTIs are a common and frustrating problem, particularly if they keep recurring.
Home remedies and OTC products can help prevent UTIs, but they can’t always completely eliminate the bacteria causing your infection. If you’re trying home remedies but still have symptoms, talk with a healthcare professional to avoid any complications.
Staying hydrated, practicing health-promoting habits, and supplementing your diet with some UTI-fighting ingredients are good ways to lower your risk of these infections in the future.
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