Urinary tract infections, commonly known as UTIs, are very prevalent, affecting about 150 million people every year. Though urinary tract infections are often traditionally treated with antibiotics, several home remedies for urinary tract infections can help prevent the infections from recurring.
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UTIs are most common in women and older adults. Although this infection can cause less severe life-threatening infections, the sufferer experiences significant pain. UTIs are responsible for about 7 million annual visits to the clinic. Unfortunately, a significant proportion of people with urinary tract infections exhibit no identifiable causes.
You will learn the following from this post:
What is Urinary Tract Infection?
A urinary tract infection is a disease that affects any part of the urinary tract, including the urethra, bladder, ureters, or kidneys. About 95 percent of the cause of urinary tract infections is bacteria, but fungi can also trigger UTIs.
The most well-known strains of bacteria responsible for cases of urinary tract infections are Staphylococcus saprophyticus and Escherichia coli. If UTI is left untreated, it can develop into serious health problems like kidney infections.
To treat the urinary tract infection, your doctor may prescribe an antibiotic, such as:
- Monurol (fosfomycin)
- Keflex (cephalexin)
- Bactrim (trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole)
However, antibiotics may also help strengthen the bacteria by increasing their resistance. Therefore, your doctor may require that you consider home remedies for urinary tract infections without antibiotics in some cases.
Symptoms of Urinary Tract Infection
This infection occurs when bacteria find their way into the urinary tract through the urethra, the tube that transports urine out of the body. The following are some of the symptoms of a urinary tract infection:
- Pressure in your pelvic area
- Strong-smelling or cloudy urine
- Ability to urinate only in small amounts
- Burning sensation or pain while urinating
- A constant urge to urinate
You should consult a doctor if your symptoms are still active after 48 hours or if you have back pain, fever, or blood in your urine. Besides, there are natural ways to get rid of UTIs.
Treating UTI without Antibiotics
Antibiotics are generally effective for treating UTIs. However, besides the fact that some of these bacteria may become resistant to antibiotics, the body itself can often resolve minor UTIs without antibiotics. By some estimates, about 24 to 42 percent of uncomplicated UTIs resolve on their own. In this case, people can try a range of home remedies for urinary tract infections to speed up the recovery process.
Complicated or major UTIs will require medical treatments because they have become severe; these UTIs involve one or more of the following factors:
- Conditions that affect the immune system, such as lupus, cardiac arrest, or HIV.
- Species of bacteria resistant to antibiotics
- Changes in the organs or urinary tracts, such as reduced urine flow or swollen prostate.
Benefits of Antibiotics for Urinary Tract Infections
Antibiotics are common for treating UTIs because they kill the bacteria that cause the infections. The following are the species of bacteria responsible for urinary tract infections:
- Klebsiella pneumonia
- Staphylococcus aureus and Staphylococcus epidermidis
- Escherichia coli (E. coli), the cause of about 90 percent of all bladder infections
Risks of Antibiotics for Urinary Tract Infections
While antibiotics can quickly and effectively treat urinary tract infections, some people can be allergic to them, and using some of these antibiotics carries certain risks. For example, research indicates that an estimated 22 percent of females receiving treatment for uncomplicated urinary tract infections develop a vaginal Candida infection, a kind of fungal infection.
Other side effects of antibiotics as treatments for urinary tract infections include:
- Abnormal liver function test
- A headache
- A rash
- Vomiting and nausea
More severe risks of using antibiotics for UTI treatment include:
Damaging good bacteria
The body has various bacteria in it; the body is a host for a community of bacteria, fungi, and viruses that live harmoniously and assist in making the body function properly. Antibiotics may some of these bacteria, which may result in the occurrence of several other infections.
Creating stronger strains of bacteria
After some time, especially when treatment is continuous with the same antibiotics, some species of bacteria may become resistant. Research has shown that E. coli is showing increasing resistance to the drug. The more you use an antibiotic, the greater the risk of the bacteria becoming resistant. This is even more likely when you don’t follow instructions from your doctor to complete the entire prescribed course of treatment. It is necessary to complete a course of antibiotics by the date stated by the doctor. You should not share your antibiotics with others. Always ensure that you complete your dosage.
Risk Factors of Urinary Tract Infection
Before discussing the natural treatment for UTI, let us mention the risk factors associated with the condition. The following are the risk factors for developing UTI:
- Uncircumcised men
- Structural abnormalities of the genitourinary tract
- Enlarged prostate
- Previous case of urinary tract infection
- Parkinson’s disease
- Multiple sclerosis
- Spinal cord injuries
- Urinary incontinence
- Diabetes, or other illnesses that affect the immune system
- Taking oral antibiotics
- Older adults
- Use of douches
- Women develop cases of UTIs more frequently than men because their urethra is shorter and is close to the rectum
- Surgery of the genitourinary tract may put bacteria in the urinary tract, causing UTI
- Using urinary catheters can expose a person to catheter-associated UTIs
- Changes in the vagina during menopause and hormonal changes
- Certain kinds of birth control devices, such as condoms or diaphragms with spermicides
- A kidney stone can make emptying the bladder hard, which can result in urine remaining in the bladder for too long
These may be scary, but the urinary tract infection treatment at home can give you great relief in the end.
8 Home Remedies for Urinary Tract Infection
Without wasting further time, the following are the top home remedies for fighting urinary tract infections:
1. Drink Plenty of Fluid
Dehydration is one of the risks associated with urinary tract infections. This is because constant and regular urination can help flush out bacteria from the urinary tract to keep infections out of the body. Therefore, to meet your fluid needs and stay hydrated, it’s best to drink water for the rest of the day and anytime you are thirsty. Being hydrated also dilutes the bacterial content of the urine and speeds up its journey through the body system, making it hard for bacteria to get to the cells lining the urinary organs.
There is no specific or general recommendation for how much water people should drink daily because each person’s water needs are peculiar. However, on average, an adult should consume at least 6 to 8 ounces of water each day.
2. Increase Vitamin Intake
Vitamin C will increase the acidity in the urine, which is strong enough to kill off infection-causing bacteria. Vegetables and fruits particularly contain high Vitamin C, and they are an excellent way to increase your intake. For example, kiwifruit, grapefruit, oranges, and red pepper contain the full recommended amount of vitamin C in just a single serving. Basically, vitamin C reacts with the nitrate within the urine to form nitrogen oxides capable of killing bacteria. In addition, vitamin C can reduce urine pH, making the survival of bacteria in it less likely.
People have been treating UTIs with various forms of vitamin C for millennia. But there is a lack of quality studies to know whether or not an increase in vitamin C intake can treat or prevent UTIs. According to some series of research, there is a discovery that taking vitamin C alongside other supplements may increase the efficacy of the vitamin.
3. Drink Unsweetened Cranberry Juice
Unsweetened cranberry juice is a popular natural treatment for UTI, so try to drink it if you are suffering from a urinary tract infection. The cranberries work by disallowing bacteria from adhering to the urinary tract, therefore preventing infection. As a result, consuming products made from cranberries may reduce the number of urinary tract infections in a year, especially for women with recurrent UTIs.
Although the evidence about the efficacy of cranberry is mixed, the juice may help reduce the risk of urinary tract infections. However, you should understand that these benefits only apply to cranberry juice that is unsweetened. Stay away from sweetened commercial brands. People have traditionally used cranberry juice to speed up the recovery process of wounds and help clear infections.
Cranberry juice also possesses antioxidant properties, including polyphenols, which have both anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. There is a limit to how much cranberry juice you should drink to treat urinary tract infections. Still, the common recommendation is to consume around 400 milliliters of at least 25 percent cranberry juice each day to treat or prevent UTIs.
4. Take a Probiotic
Probiotics are microorganisms consumed through supplements or food, and these organisms are beneficial to the body. Probiotics can trigger a healthy balance of bacteria in your stomach. You can find probiotics in fermented foods like probiotic yogurt, kombucha, kimchi, and kefir. Probiotics are also in the form of oral supplements. Probiotics have many benefits, from enhanced immune function to improved digestive health. Some studies also suggest that some strains of probiotics may reduce the risk of urinary tract infections.
A certain study discovered that a common probiotic strain, known as Lactobacillus, helped prevent urinary tract infections in adult women. Antibiotics are considered the major line of defense against urinary tract infections that can trigger a disturbance in the level of gut bacteria after treatment with the use of antibiotics. Further studies have revealed that probiotics can improve the levels of good stomach bacteria and decrease the side effects associated with antibiotic treatments.
5. Natural Supplements
Various natural supplements may reduce the risk of developing a urinary tract infection. The following are a few effective supplements:
- Garlic extract. Studies reveal that garlic and its extract possess antimicrobial properties that may help block the development of bacteria to prevent urinary tract infections.
- Cranberry extract. Like cranberry juice, extracts from cranberry work by preventing bacteria from entering the urinary tract.
- Bearberry leaf. This leaf is also called uva ursi. A study reveals that a combination of bearberry leaf, dandelion leaf, and dandelion root reduces UTI recurrence.
- D-Mannose. This is a kind of sugar found in cranberries. Studies suggest that this sugar is effective in the treatment of urinary tract infections and in preventing recurrence.
6. Practice these Healthy Habits
The first and most important method of preventing UTIs is practicing a few good hygiene and bathroom habits. First of all, it’s a bad idea to hold your urine for a long time; this can result in bacteria buildup, causing infection in the process.
Peeing after unprotected sexual intercourse can also decrease the risk of urinary tract infections by preventing the spread of the bacteria. In addition, people susceptible to urinary tract infections should avoid using spermicide because it contributes to increased urinary tract infections.
7. Wipe from Front to Back
Urinary tract infections can develop when bacteria from the anus or feces enter the urethra, which is a small channel that lets urine come out of the body. Once bacteria gain access to the urethra, they can travel into other urinary tract organs and cause infections. Therefore, after urinating, wipe your private part in a manner that prevents bacteria from touching your anus and genitals.
8. Practice Good Sexual Hygiene
Sexual intercourse can allow microbes and bacteria from outside the body into the urinary tract. It is essential to engage in good sexual hygiene to help reduce the number of bacteria that sexual partners can transfer during intercourse or any other sexual act.
The following are examples of excellent sexual hygiene that you can practice:
- Making sure that your sexual partner is aware of any previous or current urinary tract infections.
- Changing condoms if you are switching from vaginal sex to anal sex or washing the genitals.
- Washing the genitals, most importantly the foreskin, before and after sexual practices or intercourse.
- Using barrier contraception, for instance, condoms.
- Urinating before and immediately after sex.
Urinary tract infections are common but dealing with them can be frustrating, especially if you don’t know the right natural remedies for urinary tract infections. However, practicing health-promoting habits, staying hydrated, and supplementing your diet with some ingredients that fight urinary tract infections are excellent ways to reduce your risk of developing these infections. In addition, the home remedies for urine infections given above will help you extensively. Meanwhile, UTI does not affect humans alone, animals also suffer from urinary tract infections.