Just how to get rid of a UTI is a common dilemma, since many people—especially women—have experienced at least one in their lifetime. A UTI is a urinary tract infection, and it is the second most common infection in the human body.
Women are especially prone to UTIs since the urethra is short, which gives bacteria quicker access to the bladder. Some people seek medical treatment the moment they notice the signs of a urinary tract infection, but others want to try to get rid of the UTI without going to the doctor.
Bacteria that enter the urogenital tract cause urinary tract infections. While our bodies do have mechanisms to fight invading bacteria, the reality is that sometimes microbes are able to get in and multiply in the bladder, causing inflammation. This inflammation can lead to frequent urination, a burning sensation, or even pain when passing urine. It is important that a UTI is treated because it can spread to other parts of the body, including the kidneys.
Most doctors prescribe antibiotics to treat urinary tract infections, but UTI treatment without antibiotics has worked for some people.
Natural ways to get rid of a UTI
Lets look at how to get rid of a UTI naturally. Keep in mind that not every one of these remedies will work for everyone. What will get rid of a UTI at home for one person may not work for another. You often have to try various natural ways to get rid of a UTI until you find one that works the best for you.
- Drink a lot of water—it might sound too simple, but it is one of the best things you can do as it helps flush out the bacteria. A lot of UTI remedies include drinking water. If you have a urinary tract infection, drink more than the standard eight glasses.
- Urinate often—pee as much as you can to rid your body of the bacteria.
- Drink soda—baking soda is an alkaline substance, which can neutralize acidity in urine. Many people who have tried this say it helps lessen the burning sensation of a UTI. Stir one teaspoon of baking soda into a glass of water until it dissolves and drink it first thing in the morning, but don’t do it for more than a week since the soda is high in sodium.
- Try parsley water—parsley water has been known to help relieve the symptoms of a UTI and help the healing of infection by acting as a diuretic. Bring one to two cups of water to a boil and add one cup of fresh parsley. Allow the leaves to infuse in the water for at least six minutes, strain the leaves out and drink the water.
- Chew celery seeds—celery oil contains a substance that acts as a diuretic, so when it comes to getting rid of a UTI, give this a try. Once or twice a day, take a handful of celery seeds and chew on them as a snack.
- Enjoy cucumber—the high water content in cucumbers make them a great option in terms of getting more fluid through your system, especially if you have trouble drinking a lot of water.
- Try heat—applying heat over the bladder can bring comfort to those who experience pain and cramping as a result of a UTI. The warmth can relax muscles and relieves pain associated with inflammation. Most people find a hot water bottle works best.
- Ginger tea—ginger blocks “prostaglandin,” a process that creates messengers to communicate biological processes like inflammation. “Prostaglandins” also transmit pain signals. This same process takes place with some anti—inflammatory medications, but without any side effects.
- Cranberry juice—acidic substances in cranberry juice may make it harder for bacteria to cling onto the lining of the urethra, reducing chances of an infection and making it harder for bacteria to multiply. The best approach is to get real cranberry juice and drink a full eight—ounce glass three times daily.
- Blueberries—these berries work the same way that cranberries do. Since blueberry juice is harder to find, you can add one to two cups of berries to your morning breakfast cereal or oatmeal. Alternatively, just wash up some blueberries and enjoy them as a snack.
- Horseradish—there is a natural compound in the horseradish plant that has an antimicrobial effect. It has been known to kill bacteria outright. Take about a half teaspoon of fresh, grated horseradish up to three times a day. You can follow it up with a glass of water or milk if you have difficulty with the taste.
- Cream of tartar & lemon—cream of tartar works for some people because it can change the pH of urine and thus create a less friendly environment for bacteria to thrive. Adding a little lemon juice makes it a more powerful bacteria-killing remedy. Mix about one and a half teaspoons of cream of tartar with a dash of fresh lemon juice to one cup of warm water. Make two drinks per day.
- Stay clean & dry—this will ensure that bacteria don’t get into the urethra. Women should wipe from front to back. Wearing loose-fitting undergarments will allow air to keep the urethra dry.
- Try garlic—this common food item has allicin in it, which promotes antibacterial activity.
- D-Mannose—this is a type of sugar related to glucose. It has been known to prevent certain bacteria from sticking to the walls of the urinary tract. Some studies have suggested that D-mannose powder is effective for recurrent UTIs.
- Vitamin C—it can make urine more acidic, which inhibits the growth of some bacteria. A 2007 study showed that vitamin C played a positive role in urinary tract infection treatment among women who were pregnant.
- Clove oil—this oil has antimicrobial, antifungal, and antiviral properties. It is often used to relieve pain and promote the healing process. It is recommended that clove oil be taken under the care of a qualified health care professional.
- Myrrh oil—both animal and human studies have shown that myrrh oil has antibacterial, antifungal, and antiparasitic properties. It is applied topically with a warm or cool compress.
- Oregano oil—when evaluated by scientists, this oil seemed to be effective in enhancing the healing process in bacterial infections. If taking it internally, mix it with coconut oil. It is best to take it with guidance from a health care professional.
- Coconut water & coconut milk—laboratory tests suggest that monolaurin, a substance in coconut oil, has antimicrobial action. Interestingly, monolaurin is also found in human breast milk. Drinking water from two to three coconuts each day may help get rid of the infection. Coconut milk is best in smaller quantities because it can cause a laxative effect. If you have nut allergies, you need not worry, as coconut is not a nut.
- Marshmallow root tea—this tea has a history of being effective in treating urinary tract infections. It has helped a lot of people when it comes to easing abdominal pain, as well as pain during urination. Infuse some crushed marshmallow root in a bowl and add lukewarm water at a ratio of about 1:4. Let it sit for four hours or even overnight. Strain the tea as it will be a little thick and slimy, and then drink it several times a day.
- Coriander tea—this essential curry ingredient has been used to fight UTIs for centuries. Infuse the seeds in hot water for two to three hours, and drink either hot or cold.
Bladder infection prevention tips
It’s unfortunate, but there are some people who experience reoccurring urinary tract infections. Lifestyle can often dictate who these people are. While there is no way to get rid of a UTI fast, unless it is in the very beginning stages, the best course of action is to prevent it from happening in the first place.
Here are some prevention tips to keep in mind:
- Drink six to eight glasses of water a day
- Don’t hold in urine—urinate as soon as you feel the urge
- Shower instead of having a bath
- Wear loose cotton underwear
- Ensure that you have clean underwear on every day
- Women should always wipe from front to back after urinating
- Avoid feminine douches or hygiene sprays
- Consider sanitary pads instead of tampons
- Refrain from using a diaphragm or spermicide—use another form of birth control
- Men should use non-spermicidal lubricated condoms
- Urinate before and after sexual activity
You might be wondering how long a UTI lasts. Well, every case is different. It depends on how far along the infection is before you start treatment. When the UTI is discovered quickly, natural home remedies can be effective. In situations where the infection isn’t caught early, it could take more than a week to feel relief from the time treatment starts.
If you try home remedies and they don’t work, it is important to see a doctor. As mentioned, an untreated UTI can lead to further health complications, particularly kidney issues. A number of researchers around the world are working on a vaccine to protect people against bladder infections, but until then, people who suffer from UTIs have to be aware of all the treatment options and act in a timely manner to avoid any unnecessary spreading of infection.
Related: Prevent bladder infection: Natural ways and lifestyle tips to boost bladder health