We all know the feeling when you have to go – and I mean really go.
It becomes all that you think about, making you squirm with discomfort until you’re able to sprint to the bathroom. What might not be such a familiar feeling is finally making to the bathroom, only to find that nothing comes out.
And when it finally does, it can feel like fire blazing straight down your urinary tract. Ouch.
If you’ve never experienced a urinary tract infection, count yourself lucky. If you have suffered through one before, you can probably attest to just how miserable it can be.
This is where UTI remedies come into play. They can help prevent the pain and discomfort that inevitably comes with a UTI before it even begins. They also can help relieve the burning and stinging and allow your body to heal.
Before we get into the home remedies, let’s take a look at some of the basics.
Here’s what you should know about UTIs so that you can stop them for good.
What is a UTI?
A urinary tract infection is, as its name suggests, an infection involving any part of the urinary system. This can include the kidneys, bladder, and urethra, but most infections usually involve the lower urinary tract.
Women have a pretty high chance of getting a UTI. In fact, experts estimate that they affect 50 percent of all women at some point in their lifetime (1).
It all comes down to the anatomy. The urethra is the tube that carries urine out of the bladder and it’s the quickest and easiest way for bacteria to enter the urinary tract and cause an infection. Women have a shorter urethra, making it even easier for harmful substances to quickly reach the bladder and wreak havoc.
The most common type of bacteria responsible for urinary tract infections is Escherichia coli, also known as E. coli. This bacteria is often found in the digestive tract.
E. coli (or other forms of bacteria) from the colon can easily escape through the anus and enter the urethra, leading to a UTI as a result of improper wiping or hygiene issues. Urinary tract infections can also occur as a result of sex as well, and frequent sexual intercourse is one of the common causes of UTIs.
Do You Have a UTI?
Although the symptoms can vary from person to person, common signs of a UTI include:
- A strong urge to urinate, even though very little actually comes out
- Urine that is dark or cloudy
- Foul-smelling urine
- Lower back pain
- A burning sensation when you urinate
- Fever or chills, usually indicating an infection
The typical UTI treatment includes a heating pad to reduce pain and a pack of antibiotics to kill off bacteria.
But if you suffer from frequent urinary tract infections, this is hardly a UTI remedy. Frequent use of antibiotics can wipe out your good gut bacteria, plus lead to bacterial resistance to antibiotics in the long run.
Bacterial resistance to antibiotics can be a big problem. When this occurs, the effectiveness of drugs used to treat UTIs diminishes and bacteria continue to thrive and survive, causing all sorts of trouble in our body.
Luckily, with the help of a UTI home remedy or two, it is possible to relieve the painful symptoms naturally and also prevent urinary tract infections for good.
Natural UTI Remedies
Here are my top 5 most effective UTI remedies.
It’s becoming clearer that good gut health translates to good health in general. This even holds true when it comes to UTIs.
Probiotics boost the good bacteria in our digestive system, which adds a multitude of benefits ranging from better digestion to a strengthened immune system. One unexpected bonus that comes from probiotics is their beneficial effect on the treatment and prevention of urinary tract infections.
A 2005 study looking at the use of probiotics found a significant drop in UTI rates, especially in the patients whose bladders were successfully colonized with the beneficial bacteria (2).
So how does it work?
Probiotics can help stop a UTI in its tracks by building up our immune system and blocking out harmful bacteria before they have a chance to cause infection.
Probiotics are available in concentrated doses in the form of a supplement at any pharmacy or natural health store. Alternatively, you can get your fix by adding a few fermented foods to your diet. Kimchi and kefir are two excellent (and delicious) foods that can provide a burst of probiotic power on your plate.
2. Drink Up
One of the most important things you can do – when you have a UTI and even before it begins – is to stay hydrated.
Drinking water is the easiest way to prevent infection. It helps by flushing out bacteria, easing symptoms, keeping your urinary tract clear and bacteria-free, and setting you towards a healthy recovery if you already have an infection.
How much water do you really need?
The general guideline has always been to drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water daily, although this doesn’t take body size into account.
Instead, a better guideline is to divide your body weight in pounds by two and drink that amount in ounces. If you’re 150 pounds, for example, you would want to aim for 75 ounces of water daily. For someone who is 200 pounds, 100 ounces of water daily should meet your needs.
Still, it’s important to listen to your body. If you’re experiencing signs of dehydration, like dry skin, increased thirst, or darker urine, it might be time to up your intake.
Have trouble drinking just plain water? Give these 7 flavored water recipes a try.
3. Eat Foods High in Vitamin C
Filling up on the foods full of vitamin C can help to acidify your urine.
While I normally promote a mostly alkaline diet, this is one instance where a lower pH can actually be pretty beneficial. It can kill off the growth of bacteria in the urinary tract to clear up an existing infection and keep new ones from developing (3).
Vitamin C is also great for boosting the immune system and preventing infection, which is why so many people load up on the Emergen-C when they notice a case of the sniffles coming on.
One study found that a megadose of vitamin C helps decrease cold and flu symptoms, effectively treating and relieving respiratory infections (4).
While vitamin C supplements are available, the best way to get your fix is through real food. Citrus fruits plus strawberries, pineapple, and raspberries are all brimming with the water-soluble vitamin. Bell peppers, leafy greens, broccoli, and tomatoes are also simple ways to get in more vitamin C. Here is one of my favorite Vitamin C smoothies.
Cranberries have a reputation as one of the best natural remedies for UTIs, and it’s all thanks to their D-mannose content.
This form of naturally occurring sugar is found in cranberries, apples, and blueberries and is powerful when it comes to treating urinary tract infections.
It works by attaching to E. coli bacteria, which causes the bacterium to stick together instead of attaching to the walls of the urinary tract. This makes it easy for the body to get rid of the bacteria through urination, eliminating the infection for good (5).
Although it is possible to get a good dose of D-mannose through eating fruits and consuming cranberry juice (or smoothies), it is also available in supplement form. Just 500 mg per day can help prevent, eliminate, and treat infections once and for all.
5. Practice Good Hygiene Habits
Besides supplementing your diet with UTI-busting home remedies or making sure you stay well hydrated, we can’t overlook the importance of maintaining a few good urinary habits.
First of all, make sure you’re urinating often and avoid “holding it” for long periods of time. This can contribute to the buildup of bacteria, which can eventually lead to infection and cystitis, or inflammation of the bladder (6).
Additionally, frequent sexual intercourse can up your chances of having a UTI. Women especially should make sure to use the restroom and clean the genital area before and after sex. Also remember to avoid the use of spermicides and always wipe from front to back to avoid the spread of UTI-causing bacteria (6).
Finally, practice good hygiene and avoid wearing tight clothing. This can trap moisture, which promotes the growth of bacteria and can lead to chronic urinary tract infections.
No More Burning Urges
If you suffer from chronic urinary tract infections, incorporating just a few of these natural UTI remedies can help cure the painful burn and sting that you’re probably all too familiar with.
You don’t have to wait until you have a UTI to break out the cranberry juice and keep yourself hydrated, however.
The best thing about these natural remedies is that they’re excellent both for treatment and prevention. In fact, start now and you can avoid the painful, unpleasant symptoms of urinary tract infections altogether.
Keep up with proper hygiene, good urinary habits, and a healthy diet. These three things combined are enough to flush out the bacteria so you can say goodbye to UTIs once and for all.
Feel Better Naturally
If you’d rather help your body heal naturally instead of bombing it with harsh treatments creating lots of side effects, be sure to download my guide to natural home remedies.
My free Healthy Home Remedies handbook includes 10 tried-and-true natural remedies for skin, eye, and ear problems, colds and flu, and more.
Chances are you have ingredients for some of the best remedies right now, in your pantry.
You can download the guide right now – for FREE! – by clicking the image below.
Yuri Elkaim is one of the world’s most trusted health and fitness experts. A former pro soccer player turned NYT bestselling author of The All-Day Energy Diet and The All-Day Fat Burning Diet, his clear, science-backed advice has transformed the lives of more than 500,000 men and women and he’s on a mission to help 100 million people by 2040. Read his inspiring story, “From Soccer to Bed to No Hair on My Head” that started it all.