A urinary tract infection (UTI) is an infection in any part of the urinary system including the urethra, bladder, ureters, and kidneys. Although antibiotics are commonly prescribed as treatment, several UTI home remedies can relieve symptoms too, as well as prevent recurring infections.
Read on for our 7 most effective UTI home remedies.
First off, What Causes a Urinary Tract Infection?
Bacteria is the simple answer. In 95% of UTI cases, tiny bacteria known as microbes that live around the anus enter the urinary tract and cause infection. Certain fungi and viruses can also cause UTIs, however, these are rare.
Although men can also suffer from UTIs, they are more common in women due to the location of the urethra.
The urethra is the tube where urine exits the body from the bladder. And in a woman’s body, the urethra is quite close to both the vagina and the anus. Thus, enabling bacterial microbes to pass more easily from the anus to the urethra.
In fact, according to studies, almost 60% of women suffer from at least one UTI in their lifetime.
That said, with a few tips, some minor lifestyle changes, and an understanding of how natural supplements can help, women can significantly reduce the risk of UTIs.
1. Drink Lots of Water to Flush the Bacteria
It might seem counterintuitive to drink more given the burning sensation when you urinate during a UTI, however, water helps to flush the harmful bacteria from your body.
Health experts recommend that women should drink at least 2.5 liters of water throughout the day. And this can be increased to 3 liters per day during a UTI infection.
In a 2018 study, for example, 140 women who were particularly susceptible to UTIs reported a decrease in the frequency of infections after increasing their daily water intake over 12 months.
2. Use unsweetened Cranberry Juice (or Capsules)
As well as ensuring you drink enough water to flush harmful bacteria during a UTI, a daily intake of up to 500 ml of unsweetened cranberry juice helps too.
Cranberries contain A-type proanthocyanidins (PACs), which prevent harmful bacteria from adhering to the urinary tract.
In a 2016 study, for example, women prone to UTIs reported fewer infections after drinking 240 ml of cranberry juice daily for 6 weeks. In addition, a 2015 study revealed that cranberry juice capsules (one capsule being equivalent to 500 ml of cranberry juice) reduced the occurrence of UTIs by 50%.
Contrary to belief, cranberries do not treat UTIs once they have begun. However, they will help prevent recurring UTIs by stopping any future harmful bacteria from attaching to the bladder lining.
It is important to note that the above-mentioned benefits will result from drinking unsweetened cranberry juice as opposed to the more popular sweetened cranberry juices.
3. Check Your Vitamin C Intake
Due to its acidity, vitamin C helps to kill harmful bacteria.
In 2007, a study was conducted to determine the effects of taking 100 mg of vitamin C daily to reduce the occurrence of UTIs in pregnant women. Results showed more than a 50% reduction in infections compared to the control group who did not take vitamin C.
For women, the recommended intake of vitamin C is 100 mg daily. This can be taken in supplement form, or by increasing foods that are rich in vitamin C. For example, citrus fruits such as oranges, lemons, and grapefruits, as well as red peppers and kiwis provide the recommended daily amount of vitamin C in one serving.
4. Probiotics for Urinary Tract Infections
As well as improving digestive health, probiotics help to maintain a healthy bacterial balance in the vagina and are believed to prevent UTIs from developing.
In addition, probiotics promote healthy gut bacteria when taking antibiotics, which is the main form of medical treatment for urinary tract infections.
For example, during a four-year study from 2007 to 2011, it was found that taking probiotics in conjunction with antibiotics was far more successful in preventing recurrent UTIs than taking only antibiotics.
If taking probiotics with antibiotic treatment, it is recommended to take the probiotic 30-60 minutes after the antibiotics for best results. It is also advised to continue taking the probiotic for up to a week after the antibiotic treatment ends.
5. Aloe Vera Supplements with D-Mannose & Calcium
Freeze Dried Aloe Vera Supplements with D-Mannose & Calcium from Intimate Rose come highly recommended for soothing and preventing urinary tract infections.
Aloe Vera capsules have been proven to effectively reduce up to 92% of bladder pain, urinary frequency, urgency, and urethral burning. D-Mannose is a type of sugar found in cranberries that prevents bacteria from sticking to the urinary tract. And the alkalizing calcium helps to maintain a healthy pH balance in the vagina.
When taken on an ongoing preventative basis, this 3-in-1 women’s health supplement successfully discourages harmful bacteria from adhering to the urinary tract.
6. Implementing Good Hygiene Habits
Understanding the cause of UTIs and implementing good hygiene habits to prevent the harmful bacteria from entering the urethra can go a long way to preventing future infections.
After using the toilet, women should always wipe from front to back. Wiping from back to front increases the risk of harmful bacteria around the anus entering the urethra.
Don’t hold your pee for too long. Doing so could allow harmful bacteria to build up in the urinary tract. Additionally, when urinating, allow yourself to get comfortable on the toilet and focus on emptying the bladder.
7. Take Care During & After Sex
Spermicides are thought to increase the risk of UTIs due to their ability to change the natural pH of the vagina. It is therefore advised that women who are prone to recurring UTIs should refrain from using spermicides.
Additionally, it is believed that the friction caused by non-lubricated condoms during intercourse can irritate the skin and increase the risk of a UTI.
Urinating after sex is widely advised for women to help clear the urethra of any bacteria caused by sexual intercourse. A gentle wash of the genital area with warm water and unscented soap also helps ward off any harmful bacteria.
Urinary tract infections affect almost 60% of women at least once in their lifetime, they can often reoccur and are usually treated with antibiotics.
However, minor lifestyle changes, good hygiene habits, and some natural supplements can not only reduce symptoms quicker but also significantly lower the risk of recurring infections.
National Center for Biotechnology Information - An introduction to the epidemiology and burden of urinary tract infections - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6502976/
National Institue of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Issues – Urinary Tract Infection in Adults -
National Center for Biotechnology Information - Can drinking more water prevent urinary tract infections? - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7271893/
National Center for Biotechnology Information - Consumption of a cranberry juice beverage lowered the number of clinical urinary tract infection episodes in women with a recent history of urinary tract infection - https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27251185/
National Center for Biotechnology Information -Daily intake of 100 mg ascorbic acid as urinary tract infection prophylactic agent during pregnancy - https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17611821/
National Center for Biotechnology Information - Combination of Probiotics and Antibiotics in the Prevention of Recurrent Urinary Tract Infection in Children - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3883373
European Review for Medical and Pharmacological Sciences - A promising support for acute urinary tract infections in women. A pilot study.