Sometimes called a bladder infection, a UTI is an infection of the urinary tract that causes discomfort and frequent urges to urinate.
When using home remedies for UTIs, it is helpful to understand the condition, including its causes and symptoms.
In some cases, home remedies for UTIs can be enough to ease symptoms and quicken recovery. Before relying on home remedies, however, it is always a good idea to speak to a doctor first.
Contents of this article:
What are UTIs?
A UTI is an infection of the urinary tract, sometimes called a bladder infection.
The urinary tract is composed of the bladder, kidneys, urethra, and ureters. This system is responsible for processing and expelling urine from the body.
Usually, the urinary tract can prevent infection. Nevertheless, UTIs are common, and in some cases, they may pass in just a few weeks before symptoms become serious.
However, when an infection does occur, it is essential to seek medical attention, as soon as possible. This can prevent complications from occurring.
In addition to the advice your doctor provides you with, home remedies for UTIs can be adequate to alleviate symptoms in some cases.
Often UTIs are caused by bacteria that infect the urinary tract. This can happen for numerous reasons. For example, bacteria may enter the urinary tract during sex, or after using the bathroom.
UTIs can be related to other conditions, too, for example, kidney stones. If a person has kidney stones, these may block the urinary track, causing infections.
Those with diabetes also have an increased risk, as do people with a weakened immune system.
Further risks include certain medical treatments, such as chemotherapy or a urinary catheter, both of which may increase the risk of UTIs.
UTIs can be identified through a range of different symptoms. These may include:
- The need to urinate more frequently than usual: If needing to urinate becomes disruptive to day-to-day life, it can be a sign of a UTI.
- Pain or discomfort around the bladder and urethra: This can be felt before or after urinating, though it is mainly noticed when urinating. Sometimes, it is described as a burning sensation.
- Changes in the quality of urine: This may include the color, smell, or appearance. Blood in the urine may also be a symptom of UTIs.
These symptoms may be accompanied by a general feeling of being unwell, such as being tired or having a fever.
Treating a UTI at home
While it is always a good idea to speak to a doctor for advice, there are ways the symptoms of a UTI can be treated at home.
Listed here are five of the most effective UTI home remedies:
1. Drinking fluids
Drinking plenty of water will help flush the bacteria out of the urinary tract.
One of the simplest home remedies for a UTI is to drink plenty of water. This helps to flush the bacteria out of the body.
The recommendation is for an individual to drink six to eight 8-ounce glasses of water in a day. However, it is essential that medical advice is sought when deciding the amount to drink per day.
Drinking too much can be dangerous, particularly with pre-existing kidney diseases.
2. Urinate when necessary
It can be tempting to avoid urinating with a UTI. This is because a UTI can cause a person to want to urinate more frequently than usual, even if there is no urine to release.
However, urination can help to expel the bacteria that are causing the infection. Along with drinking more fluids, this can ease symptoms and quicken a recovery.
Some home remedies for UTIs can help to ease symptoms, such as pain and discomfort, though these may not aid recovery.
For example, applying a heat pad to the bladder or pubic area can help to relieve pain and discomfort temporarily.
Heat should not be applied directly to the skin, and should not be too hot. Heat should only be applied for short periods to avoid causing burns to the skin.
Loose fitting clothing can prevent moisture from making the infection worse. Tight clothing can encourage moisture to develop.
Keeping the pubic area clean and dry is important to prevent the growth of bacteria.
Increasing vitamin C intake can help prevent the growth of bacteria in the urinary tract.
Certain foods can worsen symptoms. These include foods that are:
- hot or spicy
High fiber foods may help to quicken recovery. Getting a range of essential nutrients is also important to allow the body to heal itself.
Vitamin C can inhibit the growth of bacteria in the urinary tract since it makes urine more acidic. Although it is usually advised that vitamin C intake be increased via a varied diet, supplements may be recommended.
Cranberry juice is often considered to be a home remedy for UTIs. However, there is no conclusive study proving this to be true.
Preventing a UTI
Preventing UTIs is not always possible, though there are steps that can be taken to help minimize the risk of them occurring.
After using the bathroom, wiping from front to back can prevent bacteria from entering the urinary tract.
Urinating after sexual activity can also help to expel bacteria that may have entered the urinary tract. Doing this as soon as possible after sexual activity is usually recommended.
When to see a doctor
If symptoms of the UTI are severe or persist for more than 1 week without improvement, then it is essential to see a doctor. Severe symptoms that are long-lasting can indicate that the UTI is chronic.
In many cases where the UTI is mild or acute, it may pass in just 2-3 days with home remedy treatments.
Safety and home remedies
It is important to seek professional medical advice when considering home remedies for UTIs.
Home remedies for UTIs may be used to ease symptoms and support recovery in combination with prescribed treatment options. Home remedies are not necessarily more effective than prescribed treatment and drugs.
Any pre-existing conditions or medication should be taken into consideration before relying on home remedies for UTIs.
Some herbal remedies or changes to the diet can interact with existing conditions or medication in a way that could adversely affect health. They may also make symptoms of a UTI worse.
Usually, home remedies for UTIs can be administered safely. However, it is always recommended that they are discussed with a doctor first.
Home remedies are not a replacement for professional medical treatment.