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Home remedies can help relieve urinary tract infection (UTI) symptoms and prevent recurring infections. Our tips for treating UTI at home include staying hydrated, urinating when necessary, and drinking cranberry juice.

Research supports the use of some home remedies for UTIs. Some have been part of traditional medicine practices for thousands of years.

A note about sex and gender

Sex and gender exist on spectrums. This article will use the terms “male,” “female,” or both to refer to sex assigned at birth. Click here to learn more.

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Drinking enough water can help prevent UTIs.

Water helps the urinary tract organs efficiently remove waste from the body while retaining vital nutrients and electrolytes.

Being hydrated also dilutes the urine and speeds its journey through the system, making it harder for bacteria to reach and cause infection in the cells that line the urinary organs.

There is no set recommendation about how much water to drink daily — people’s needs differ. However, on average, adults should drink between six and eight 8-ounce (oz) glasses of water daily.

Frequent urination can help flush bacteria from the urinary tract.

It also reduces the exposure time of bacteria in the urine to cells in the tract, limiting the risk of them attaching to and causing infection in these cells.

Urinating as soon as possible after the urge strikes can help prevent and treat UTIs.

Cranberry juice is one of the most well-established natural treatments for UTIs. People also use it to clear other infections and speed wound recovery.

Research from 2020 into the effectiveness of cranberries for UTIs has found it to be effective. However, its effectiveness may vary from person to person, and more research is necessary regarding which type of cranberry product and which dose is most effective.

The authors write that cranberries contain polyphenols that may help prevent Escherichia coli (E. coli) bacteria from attaching to cells in the urinary tract.

Cranberries also contain antioxidants with antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.

There is no set guidance about how much cranberry juice to drink for a UTI. To help prevent them, a person might drink around 400 mL of at least 25% cranberry juice every day. However, more research is necessary to determine how much cranberry juice to drink for a UTI.

Beneficial bacteria, called probiotics, can help keep the urinary tract healthy and free from harmful bacteria.

In particular, probiotics in the Lactobacillus group may help treat and prevent UTIs, according to some older 2017 research. They may do this by:

  • preventing harmful bacteria from attaching to urinary tract cells
  • producing hydrogen peroxide, a strong antibacterial agent, in urine
  • lowering urine’s pH, making conditions less favorable for bacteria

Also, people who take Lactobacillus supplements while they take antibiotics may have reduced antibiotic resistance.

Probiotics exist in several products that contain dairy, are fermented, or both, including:

People can also take probiotic supplements, usually as capsules or a powder they can mix with water or other beverages.

Read our reviews of the best probiotics.

UTI supplement options

Read our full Uqora review, which focuses on developing natural supplements for UTI prevention.

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Vitamin C is an antioxidant that helps improve immune system function.

It also reacts with nitrates in urine to form nitrogen oxides that can kill bacteria. It can lower the pH of urine, making it less likely that bacteria will survive.

However, little quality research indicates whether consuming more vitamin C can prevent or treat UTIs.

According to limited research, taking other supplements alongside vitamin C may maximize its benefits.

A 2021 review of natural remedies for UTIs stated that it could help manage symptoms. Additionally, a 2016 study examined data from 36 people with recurrent UTIs who took vitamin C, probiotics, and cranberry supplements three times a day for 20 days, then stopped for 10 days. They repeated this cycle for 3 months. The researchers concluded that this could be a safe, effective way to treat recurrent UTIs.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) recommends that females ages 19 and over consume at least 75 milligrams (mg) of vitamin C daily, while males need around 90 mg daily. Adults who smoke should take an additional 35 mg of the vitamin each day.

UTIs can develop when bacteria from the rectum or feces access the urethra. This small channel allows urine to flow out of the body.

Once bacteria are in the urethra, they can travel up into other urinary tract organs, where they can cause infections.

After urinating, wipe in a way that prevents bacteria from moving from the anus to the genitals. A person can use separate pieces of toilet paper to wipe the genitals and anus, for example.

Some sexual intercourse can introduce bacteria and other microbes into the urinary tract. Practicing suitable sexual hygiene can help reduce this risk.

Examples of appropriate sexual hygiene include:

  • urinating before and immediately after sex
  • using barrier contraception, such as a condom
  • washing the genitals, especially the foreskin, before and after engaging in sexual acts or intercourse
  • washing the genitals or changing condoms if switching from anal to vaginal sex
  • ensuring that all sexual partners are aware of any current or past UTIs

While home remedies may help lessen the symptoms of UTIs, sometimes people will need prescription medication from a doctor. Online services provide a fast and convenient way to get prescription medication, and most services will deliver straight to a person’s home.

UTIs are among the most common bacterial infections in the United States. They are especially prevalent in women, with 2022 research showing that 40% of women will have one during their lifetimes. UTIs also tend to reoccur.

Antibiotics are the standard treatment for UTIs because they kill the bacteria responsible for the infections.

Most UTIs develop when bacteria enter the urinary tract from outside the body. The species most likely to cause UTIs include:

Risks of using antibiotics

While antibiotics can usually treat UTIs quickly and effectively, they can cause allergic reactions and other adverse effects and complications.

For instance, older research suggests that about 22% of women receiving treatment for uncomplicated UTIs develop a Candida vaginal infection, a type of fungal infection.

Other potential side effects of antibiotics include:

More severe risks of using antibiotics include the following.

Creating stronger strains of bacteria

Over time, some species of bacteria have become resistant to traditional antibiotics. According to some research, several species of E. coli, the primary cause of UTIs, show increasing drug resistance.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) writes that over- and misuse of antibiotics are causing increased resistance. People should only take antibiotics when necessary. They should not pressure a doctor into prescribing antibiotics if they are not necessary, such as for colds or flu.

If a doctor prescribes antibiotics, a person needs to take them exactly as they instruct.

Damaging helpful bacteria

The body contains populations of bacteria and other microorganisms that help with bodily functions. The CDC says that antibiotics may destroy some of these bacteria that help to protect people from infections.

People can treat UTIs themselves without antibiotics. They can try drinking cranberry juice, taking vitamin C supplements, or trying probiotics to prevent and reduce the reoccurrence of UTIs. Individuals also need to be aware that they may still have a UTI even if their symptoms disappear.

However, most at-home treatments are more effective at preventing UTIs and may not eliminate the bacteria causing a current UTI.

A person can speak with a doctor about the best UTI treatment.

Antibiotics are effective treatments for UTIs. However, the body can sometimes resolve minor, uncomplicated UTIs without antibiotics.

According to research, antibiotics can clear up UTIs as quickly as 3 days.

Some uncomplicated UTIs go away on their own without the use of antibiotics.

However, a person needs to consider that there are risks in not seeking treatment for UTIs. These risks include the infection spreading to other parts of the body.

Several foods can irritate the bladder further, including caffeine, high-potassium foods, and spicy foods.

The main sign that a UTI is healing is that the symptoms will get better.

People will notice that they need to urinate less frequently, their urine will no longer be cloudy or have an unusual odor, and urinating will no longer be painful.

People will also notice that any aches, pains, and fever will start to disappear.

Most people develop a UTI at some point, and these infections are more common in females.

Many UTIs go away on their own or with primary care. Researchers are increasingly looking for ways to treat and prevent UTIs without antibiotics.

Several long-standing home remedies may help prevent and treat these infections.

Anyone who may have a UTI needs to speak with a healthcare professional before trying to treat the infection themselves.