A urinary tract infection, commonly abbreviated as UTI, is a condition that affects the kidneys, the bladder as well as the tubes that link these two vital organs. While this infection can attack anyone, it is more prevalent in women than in men. These findings are attributed to the anatomical positioning of the female reproductive system as well as the fact that in women, the tract is much shorter than it is in men. When the infection occurs very frequently, it is referred to as a recurrent UTI.
There are several causes of UTI, all of which range from diabetes, to the use of certain family planning methods as well as obstruction of the urinary tract. In men, an enlarged prostate gland poses a particular risk to contracting a UTI. Some of the symptoms of UTIs include frequent peeing than is normal even without taking an excessive amount of fluids, discomfort when passing urine as well as urine that has a peculiar smell and/or blood.
A number of people will feel the annoying sensation of not emptying their bladder completely, and in some cases UTI is accompanied by overall bodily fatigue. When the kidneys are affected, the symptoms can escalate to a high fever, constant shivering, confusion and varied pain in different parts of the body. While there is conventional medicine available for the elimination of the UTI, these are sometimes accompanied by significant side effects. The availability of natural remedies for treating UTIs goes a long way in managing the condition, especially if the condition is still mild.
1. Baking Soda:
Time Required: 20 Min
What You Need: 1/2 Tablespoon of baking soda and 1 glass of warm water.
Baking soda is listed as one of the best home remedies for the treatment of UTIs, thanks to its pH properties. Baking soda is basic in nature, and this works to neutralize the acidity of the urine. The result is less pain and discomfort when peeing. This neutralization reaction also hastens the recovery process, making it easier to get relief from the infection in mild cases. All you need to do is prepare a drink using the baking soda as indicated below.
- Add the baking soda to the glass and proceed to pour in the warm water.
- Stir the solution and drink at least once daily for best results.
2. Tea Tree Oil:
Time Required: 20 to 30 Min
What You Need: 1/4 Cup of tea tree oil, warm water and sterile cotton wool.
Tea tree oil has long been used to treat a host of infections. Its mode of action is not any different when it comes to the treatment of UTIs. The oil is a potent antibacterial, and therefore helps fight off the causative agent of the infection. Note that this remedy is intended for external use only. In addition to this, it must be diluted as direct contact with the skin easily causes irritation. You may either prepare an oil mixture that you can splash in your urethra opening, or simply soak in bath water to which tea tree oil has been added as shown below.
- Take 1/4 cup of the tea tree oil and add it to your bath water.
- Splash this mixture in the area around the urethra, making sure you do so severally.
- Alternatively, place the tea tree oil in a bath tub containing warm water and mix well.
- Soak in this mixture for about 15 minutes everyday.
- Repeat this remedy for 10 days or until the infection clears.
3. Apple Cider Vinegar:
Time Required: 20 Min
What You Need: 5 Teaspoons of Apple cider vinegar, a glass of warm water, lemon juice and honey (optional).
Apple cider vinegar is one of the most effective home remedies, and one which you must have in your kitchen cabinet if you get recurrent UTI. This is because the vinegar is not only packed with enzymes, it is also a rich source of potassium and a host of minerals that hinder the growth and multiplication of the bacteria. Think of this remedy as a natural antibiotic that ensures quick recovery from the infection, and boosts your immune system.
The addition of lemon juice and honey work to compliment the healing functions of the vinegar. Lemon juice has vitamin C which inhibits bacteria reproduction while honey has natural antibacterial properties which keep the UTI-causing bacteria populations in check. This is a simple remedy that will help you get quick relief with consistent use.
- Add the apple cider vinegar to a glass of water and stir to mix well.
- You may add lemon juice and honey to act as a natural sweetener.
- Drink the mixture twice daily over a period of 7-10 days or until the symptoms of the infection clear.
4. Increase Your Vitamin C Intake:
Time Required: Varies depending on your choice food and the method of preparation.
What You Need: Foods and fruits rich in Vitamin C.
One of the simplest ways to treat UTIs at home is to up your intake of Vitamin C everyday. Vitamin C is a water soluble vitamin, and is also referred to as ascorbic acid. Here’s how it works: the Vitamin C helps make urine acidic. The more acidic the urine is, the greater the chances that bacteria will not flourish in your tract. Some of the fruits rich in Vitamin C include oranges, lemons, limes, guavas and strawberries. Adding the following foods to your diet also increases the amount of vitamin C you take: yellow bell peppers, dark green leafy vegetables and peas among others.
- Simply stock up on any of the aforementioned foods and fruits to ensure your tract is less susceptible to infections.
5. Soothe Your Bladder by Eliminating Irritants From Your Daily Food:
Time Required: Varies depending on one’s choices
What You Need: A conscious decision to eliminate any dietary irritants.
One of the simplest home remedies you can use to treat UTI and lessen the discomfort is to be conscious of what you are taking in your diet. When the tract is infected and likely inflamed, the last thing you need to do is to add an array of irritants. With a UTI, you need to steer clear of spicy food, soft drinks, alcohol and caffeine as all these further irritate the bladder. Additionally, these irritants prolong the healing process and are best avoided until the infection clears. In place of these foods and drinks, you are advised to opt for full-fiber foods that will provide your body with the required nutrients.
- Cut out all the irritants mentioned above, including anything else that irritates your digestive system on a typical day.
6. Increase Your Water Intake:
Time Required: Spread throughout the day.
What You Need: Adequate drinking water.
The need to drink adequate water, on a typical day, cannot be overemphasized. When suffering from UTIs, this need is magnified if at all you need to treat the condition. In fact, the first thing your doctor will tell you upon diagnosis of the condition is to increase your water intake. The reason for this remedy is that the water helps flush toxins from the body, so that over a period of time, your body should be able to get rid of the infection-causing bacteria.
A general guide to the amount of water you should drink involves taking half your body weight (in lbs) in terms of ounces of water (oz). For instance, if you weigh 120 lbs, you should try and take 60 oz of water daily. If you have an extreme infection, however, you need to check with your personal doctor to ascertain how much water is ideal for your daily intake.
- Set your target amount of water and stick to it daily even after the infection clears. One of the most helpful ways to go about this is to fill a water bottle with water and place it on your desk. Constantly sighting the bottle acts a a subtle reminder that you need to sip your water.
NOTE: For a number of people, the taste of water may be enhanced with the addition of lemon wedges or cucumber slices (optional)
7. Frequent Bathroom Breaks Help Fight off UTIs
Time Required: Approximately 5 minutes per break.
What You Need: Clean bathroom facility.
Frequent bathroom breaks are one of the simplest ways in which you can treat UTIs. The logic is simple: the more you pee, the more your body is able to flush away the bacteria responsible for the infection. While this may seem inconvenient for the most part, it will do your body a lot of good. Just make sure that the bathroom is clean (and for ladies, use the right wiping technique that is front-to-back wiping and not the other way round).
- Make use of frequent bathroom breaks.
Time Required: 15 Min
What You Need: Pineapple slices or freshly made pineapple juice.
Pineapple fruit is recommended for the natural treatment of UTIs, thanks to the presence of an enzyme known as bromelain. Bromelain is a potent anti-inflammatory which helps deal with the pain and discomfort that results from the infection. Simply take this fruit on a daily basis, even after the infection clears as it helps prevent recurrence. Freshly made pineapple juice is preferred to canned pineapple juice as the latter contains preservatives which may cause further irritation of the bladder.
- Indulge in the pineapple slices, or opt for freshly made pineapple juice.
9. Hot Water Pack:
Time Required: 10 Min
What You Need: A hot water pack.
The use of a hot water pack is a simple way to soothe the bladder and therefore eliminate the discomfort arising from the infection. The heat reduces the pressure within the bladder significantly. It also decreases the inflammation and curtails the proliferation of the bacteria. Use this pack as often as you need to until the infection clears.
- Place the hot water pack on the region around your lower abdomen and massage gently for about 10 minutes.
10. Parsley Water:
Time Required: 20 Min
What You Need: 1 Cup of fresh parsley, 2 cups of warm water and strainer.
Parsley water is one of the most reliable home remedies for the treatment of UTIs, thanks to its action as a diuretic. Diuretics are important in treating the infection because they help the kidneys excrete more sodium, and along with this mineral, high amounts of water. This, in turn, increases the frequency of peeing and helps get rid of the infection-causing bacteria. Parsley water also makes for a refreshing drink.
- Boil the water, and as this is happening, sort and wash the fresh parsley before chopping it.
- Once the water has boiled, add the fresh parsley and then reduce the heat to allow for slow simmering.
- Let the mixture simmer for about 10 minutes and then turn the heat off.
- Pass the mixture through a strainer and drink while hot.
- On a cold day, you may refrigerate the parsley water for a refreshingly cold drink.
While these remedies will go a long way in enhancing the healing process, you need to see a physician if you experience any of the following symptoms: a high fever that persists for more than a day, frequent vomiting and blood in your urine. This is important because these symptoms could be indicative of an infection that affects the kidneys, and deserves immediate medical attention.