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A urinary tract infection (UTI) can knock you off your feet, causing a range of symptoms. You can use these home remedies to help manage symptoms and prevent infections.
A note on gender
We use “women” and “men” in this article to reflect the terms that have been historically used to gender people. But your gender identity may not align with how your body responds to this disease.
A doctor can better help you understand how your specific circumstances will translate into diagnosis, symptoms, and treatment.
Until there are more advancements in UTI treatment, antibiotics remain the most effective standard treatment. If left untreated, UTIs can lead to serious complications and health problems.
Sometimes, antibiotics may become less effective over time, a phenomenon known as antibiotic resistance. In that case, work with a doctor on the best treatment plan for symptom relief.
In addition to antibiotics, some home remedies may help ease symptoms and prevent reoccurring infections.
Antibiotic resistance 101
- When certain antibiotics are prescribed repeatedly, the targeted bacteria can grow resistant to the treatment.
- At least
2 millionpeople per year in the United States contract antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
1. Try cranberries
Cranberries may contain an ingredient that stops bacteria from attaching to the walls of the urinary tract.
Though the existing body of evidence is inconclusive, some studies
Other studies have
Try cranberry juice
If you’re interested in trying cranberries to support urinary tract health, consider 365 by Whole Foods Market, Organic 100% Pure Cranberry Juice. This organic option contains no added sugar.
2. Drink plenty of water
Although urinating can be painful when you have a UTI, it’s important to drink as many fluids as possible — particularly water. Most adults should aim to drink between
The more you drink, the more you’ll urinate, which can help flush harmful bacteria from the urinary tract.
3. Pee when you need to
Holding your urine or ignoring the urge to urinate can allow bacteria to multiply in your urinary tract. As a rule of thumb, always use the bathroom when you feel the urge.
It’s also important to make sure you’re fully emptying your bladder when you urinate. As well, always make sure to urinate after sex, especially if you have a vagina. If you do, it’s also important to wipe front to back after you urinate.
4. Take probiotics
Probiotics promote healthy digestion and immunity. They also may be effective in treating and preventing UTIs when used alongside standard antibiotic therapy.
With a UTI, bad bacteria replace good bacteria in the urogenital system, especially those of one group called Lactobacillus,
UTI supplement options
If you’re interested in trying probiotics for urinary tract health, consider Uqoura Promote Daily Probiotic supplement, a capsule designed to promote vaginal health, which in turn supports the health of the urinary tract.
Read our full review of Uqora, a company that focuses on developing natural supplements for UTI prevention.
5. Get more vitamin C
Increasing your intake of vitamin C may help boost your immune system.
Try vitamin C supplements
If you don’t love freshly squeezed orange juice, you can add a Nature’s Bounty Vitamin C caplet to your supplement routine. Each caplet contains 1,000 milligrams of vitamin C.
6. Wear loose clothing
Wearing cotton-lined and loose-fitting clothing may ease symptoms of an existing UTI infection by helping to keep the area dry and clean.
Tight-fitting clothing and certain types of fabric
7. Consider switching birth control
If you use contraceptives and get frequent UTIs, it may be worth talking with a doctor to consider other methods of birth control.
Prescription birth control can be easily obtained through online birth control services, where you can speak with a doctor to find the right option for you. These services vary in price and offerings, and they can be a discreet, convenient way to get the consultation and protection you need.
8. Use a heating pad
Applying a heating pad to your lower abdomen can help ease some of the discomfort that comes with a UTI and reduce frequent trips to the bathroom that can cause painful burning.
If you’re experiencing severe pain that doesn’t let up even with at-home methods, it’s probably best to see a doctor about your symptoms.
Our heating pad recommendation
A great heating pad option is the DMI Dry and Moist Heat Electric Heating Pad, which not only has an extra-long cord for convenience, but also features four heat options and automatic shutoff for safety.
|Method||How it works|
|Try cranberries||drink unsweetened cranberry juice, take cranberry supplements, or eat dried cranberries||may keep bacteria from adhering to cells in your urinary tract|
|Drink plenty of water||aim to drink between six and eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day||staying hydrated may help flush bacteria from the urinary tract|
|Pee when you need to||avoid holding your urine and fully empty your bladder when you pee||prevents bacterial from multiplying in your urinary tract|
|Take probiotics||add a daily Lactobacillus probiotic to your routine||may help prevent bacterial growth, but research doesn’t overwhelmingly support the use of probiotics to prevent UTIs|
|Get more vitamin C||up your intake of vitamin C by eating more citrus and leafy greens or taking a vitamin C supplement||may help boost the immune system, but research doesn’t overwhelmingly support the use of vitamin C to prevent UTIs|
|Wear loose clothing||avoid tight clothing and synthetic fabrics||tight clothes and synthetic fabrics can promote bacterial growth in the genital region|
|Consider switching birth control||switch from diaphragms, spermicides, and nonlubricated condoms to another form of birth control||older research suggests that some contraceptives may increase the likelihood of developing UTIs|
|Use a heating pad||apply a heating pad to your lower abdomen||while a heating pad can’t cure a UTI, it can help with the discomfort|
Some research has
Typically, the urinary tract flushes away bacteria when you urinate. However, according to
If researchers can uncover a way to target this protein with other therapies, there may someday be other treatment options for UTIs besides antibiotics.
D-mannose is a sugar that sticks to E. coli. Recently, researchers have studied the possibility of using D-mannose and other mannose-containing substances to block the binding of FimH to the lining of the urinary tract.
More research is needed, but medications that use a mannose-containing substance could show promise for treating UTIs caused by E. coli.
Researchers have also tested immune-boosting drugs, which could help urinary tract cells become more resistant to infections.
The American Urological Association (AUA) recommends vaginal estrogen as a non-antibiotic option for perimenopausal or postmenopausal women seeking to prevent recurrent infections.
Here are a few tips for keeping UTIs at bay.
Invest in a bidet
Wiping from front to back after going to the bathroom can help prevent the spread of bacteria to the urethra, but it can be tough to clean thoroughly with toilet paper alone. You can be clean without jumping in the shower by installing an inexpensive bidet attachment, like the LUXE Bidet Neo 120.
A bidet isn’t just a great option for cleaning up after going number two. You can use it to freshen up after sex or while having your period.
Wash your genital area properly
Proper washing doesn’t include douching or the use of scented products. These can irritate and exacerbate issues down there. Instead, choose a gentle cleanser, like Cetaphil, or wash with water alone.
Drink lots of water
The same advice for treating a UTI goes for preventing one. Drinking plenty of water regularly helps flush out nasty bacteria that can lead to infections.
What is a urinary tract infection?
A urinary tract infection is a type of infection that occurs when bacteria enter the urinary tract and multiply. This infection can affect one or more areas within the urinary tract, including the:
UTIs can cause symptoms such as:
- painful, burning sensation while urinating
- frequent urge to urinate, often producing little urine
- lower abdominal pain
- urine leakage
- cloudy or foul-smelling urine
- bloody urine
- lower back pain
If a UTI spreads to the kidneys, which is a serious infection, you may have symptoms like:
- upper back pain
- nausea and vomiting
Though UTIs can affect anyone, they’re more common in women. The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases estimates that
This is because people assigned female at birth have a shorter urethra, so it’s easier for bacteria to enter their bladder.
UTIs in men are often related to an enlarged prostate (benign prostatic hypertrophy) blocking the flow of urine. This allows bacteria to have an easier time occupying the urinary tract.
In almost 90% of cases, the bacterium E. coli is the cause of the UTI. When confined to the intestines (where it’s normally found), E. coli is harmless. But sometimes, this bacterium gets into the urinary tract and causes an infection.
The severity of the infection depends on multiple factors, including:
- your immune system status
- the bacterium causing the UTI
- where in your urinary tract the UTI is happening
Sex may trigger a UTI in women. This is because intercourse can move bacteria from the anal area toward the opening of the urethra. Women can lower their risk of infection by urinating after sexual activity.
Using spermicides, diaphragms, and condoms may also raise the risk of a UTI. The risk is higher in people with a weakened immune system as well.
UTI fast facts
- UTIs are the second most common type of infection.
- E. coli is the cause of most UTIs, but viruses and other germs can also cause them.
- There are 8 million UTI-related doctor visits per year in the United States.
Treatment for UTI relief
It’s standard for a doctor to prescribe antibiotics for UTI treatment.
After starting antibiotics therapy, symptoms usually improve within
If the UTIs don’t clear up after antibiotic therapy, it may mean that a different type of antibiotic is required.
Why antibiotics sometimes don’t work
The overuse or misuse of antibiotics can
What happens if a UTI is left untreated?
Some research estimates that
But some serious risks can come from leaving a UTI untreated. The infection can sometimes spread to the kidneys and bloodstream, causing pyelonephritis.
These kidney infections can lead to kidney damage and kidney scarring. If it escalates into sepsis, it can become life threatening. Therefore, it’s important to talk with a doctor and seek treatment if you suspect you may have a UTI.
Talk with a doctor if you have symptoms of a UTI.
Though they are painful, with antibiotic treatment and home remedies, you can address the infection and stop the pain. With proper treatment, you should begin to feel better in a few days.
Take antibiotics as instructed to prevent complications or a secondary infection even after your symptoms improve.
If the UTI doesn’t resolve after antibiotic treatment or you end up with multiple episodes of a UTI, a doctor will likely do further testing.
This could be in the form of:
A doctor will be able to provide you with an evaluation tailored to your needs to make the right diagnosis and determine the proper therapy. In some cases, you may be referred to a urologist.
Research estimates that 25% to 42% of uncomplicated UTIs in women can go away on their own.
But keep in mind that there are risks associated with leaving UTIs untreated, so it’s important to seek treatment from a healthcare professional as soon as possible.
You need to speak with a doctor or a licensed medical professional to be prescribed antibiotics for a UTI. This can usually be done in person, at the doctor, or over the phone.
If this is your first UTI or your symptoms are severe, it may be helpful to get treated in person. You may also want to consider an in-person visit with your healthcare professional to rule out sexually transmitted infections (STIs) if you’re sexually active or have several sexual partners.
With antibiotic treatment, symptoms of a UTI typically improve within 2 to 4 days.
But this can vary depending on many factors, including how quickly you receive treatment, the severity of your infection, and whether any complications arise.
Keep in mind that the course of antibiotics should be completed for UTI symptoms to completely resolve and prevent recurrent infections.
Antibiotics are the fastest and most effective method for treating bacterial UTIs.
Sometimes, UTIs clear up on their own. It can take about a week for symptoms to subside.
There’s limited research on the effectiveness of UTI home remedies. If you’re experiencing symptoms of a UTI, especially if they’re severe, it’s important to consult with a doctor.
A short course of antibiotics is typically the first-line treatment for UTIs. But for chronic infections, a doctor might prescribe a long-term, low-dose antibiotic.
UTIs can be very common. If you suspect you may have a UTI or are experiencing any symptoms, try these home remedies to alleviate any symptoms you’re experiencing. If they don’t get better or the symptoms seem worse, be sure to speak with a doctor to get a proper diagnosis and be prescribed antibiotics.