If you have suffered from a UTI (Urinary Tract Infection) then you already know how uncomfortable it can be. Many women who get a UTI once will get more later on in life, and this could be due to a simple pattern that needs to be broken. By preventing a bladder infection from occurring, you can prevent it from transferring to your kidneys. Using natural remedies for UTI pain is a great way to relieve symptoms as they occur while promoting a healthy urinary tract to prevent another infection in the future.
While certain infections require antibiotics, it is beneficial to use natural remedies for UTIs when possible. Overuse of antibiotics can wreak havoc on your body, especially if you are turning to frequently because of repeating bladder infections. In this article, we will discuss what exactly a UTI is, which infections require antibiotics, which infections can be resolved naturally, natural remedies for UTIs, and techniques to prevent UTIs from coming back.
What Is a Urinary Tract Infection?
A urinary tract infection is exactly what it sounds like, an infection in your urinary tract. Both your bladder and kidneys fall into the category of your urinary tract and can both become infected. UTIs are actually pretty common, 20% of women will have either urinary tract discomfort and 20% will have a recurrence within 6 months.
Bladder Infection vs Kidney Infection
While both bladder and kidney infections are a part of your urinary tract, kidney infections are more serious than a bladder infection. Using natural remedies for both can be beneficial, but with a kidney infection, it is important to also take the antibiotics your doctor prescribes.
Bladder infections tend to come on suddenly and can cause painful urination, needing to pee more frequently, pressure in your lower abdomen, and cramping. You may also notice blood in your urine, which is somewhat common and not necessarily a cause for concern. 40% of women who experience bladder infections have blood in their urine. Kidney infections tend to come on gradually but often result in a fever, chills, feeling nauseous, and experiencing lower back or side pain.
Is There a Need for Antibiotics to Treat a UTI?
The need for antibiotics depends heavily on if you are dealing with a bladder infection or a kidney infection. Bladder infections can usually be taken care of at home with home remedies and prevention techniques. Kidney infections can be serious, and even fatal, if not taken care of immediately. It is very important to go see your doctor so he or she can prescribe antibiotics if you suspect that it is a kidney infection.
When to See a Doctor
If you have a fever, there is a good chance it is a kidney infection rather than a bladder infection. If you have discomfort and no fever, you can begin by trying home remedies. UTI’s are never a comfortable experience, and while bladder infections do not require immediate medical attention, kidney infections do and can be life-threatening.
If you notice fever, chills or nausea paired with pain in your lower back or side it is important to schedule a visit to see your doctor. Choosing not to see a doctor can result in kidney scarring or long-term kidney damage. The infection can cause sepsis and lead to shock if not taken care of soon enough, which is why it is so important not to risk waiting to see a doctor.
Natural Remedies for UTIs
If you suspect that it is a bladder infection, these remedies can help you heal naturally. Using natural remedies for a kidney infection can help reduce discomfort, but should still be paired with antibiotics. Below are the top 10 natural remedies for UTIs.
1. Cranberry Juice
Pure cranberry juice is one of the top go-to natural remedies for UTIs, just make sure that it is not a juice cocktail or loaded with added sugar. Cranberries and cranberry juice contain hippuric acid which inhibits the growth of E. coli (the most common cause of UTIs) bacteria as well as stops E. coli from clinging to your urinary tract walls.
2. Parsley Juice
Parsley juice is a natural diuretic and can help you urinate more and more frequently. This helps to flush out bacteria more rapidly and will help your UTI clear up more quickly. If you do not like the taste, mix it in with cranberry juice or frozen cranberries to create a smoothie.
3. Blueberry Juice
Similarly to cranberry juice, blueberry juice is a sweeter alternative that also contains antioxidants that fight UTIs. Drink three 8-oz glasses once you notice symptoms coming on or drink daily as a prevention method. You can also use blueberry juice to make a smoothie with parsley, cranberry juice, or apple juice to try multiple remedies at once.
4. Vitamin C
Acidic environments make it nearly impossible for bacteria to thrive, and vitamin C is a highly acidic vitamin that can work wonders as one of the natural remedies for UTIs. Not only that, but vitamin C is an antioxidant that can protect tissues from oxidative stress automatically by promoting healthy kidneys. Research shows that vitamin C can prevent tissue from scarring if you have an acute kidney infection while boosting enzymes in the kidneys. Take daily supplements as both a natural remedy for UTIs and as a preventative measure.
5. Apples or Apple Juice
Apples are a nutrient-dense fruit that are highly acidic, which may help to maintain the acidity in your urine and keep bacteria from growing and spreading.
6. Drink More Water
You should always be drinking enough water even without a UTI, but it is especially important to flush out bacteria if you are experiencing UTI symptoms. Drink half your body weight (in pounds) in water (in ounces) every day. For example, if you weigh 150 pounds, aim to drink 75 ounces of water. Urinate as soon as you feel like you need to. Drink 8 ounces as soon as you wake up and keep a large glass or bottle of water next to you all day and refill it as soon as it starts to become empty.
7. Green Tea
In addition to drinking lots of water, another great way you can hydrate is by drinking 2-3 glass of green tea daily. Green tea contains antioxidants that can reduce the inflammation in your bladder.
8. Probiotic Supplements
Probiotics are important for more than just gut health. Antibiotics tend to get rid of both of the “good” and “bad” bacteria in your body, while probiotics help keep the bacteria under control. Taking a probiotic supplement also works great as a prevention measure by promoting good kidney health.
9. Horseradish and Garlic
Horseradish is a natural diuretic that has antiseptic and antibiotic properties, making it a great natural remedy for UTIs. Garlic works to fight bacteria and can also be useful to treat a UTI.
10. Focus on Prevention
As mentioned before, 20% of women who experience UTIs get them again within 6 months. Learning how to prevent UTIs from occurring again is, of course, better than experiencing the pain repeatedly throughout your life. The problem could be arising from a simple habit that needs to be changed or a supplement lacking from your diet, both are easy fixes that could save you from future UTI pain. Below are a few ways you can prevent UTIs before they occur:
Many women will experience a UTI in their lifetime, and a big portion of women who do will get multiple in their lives. Sometimes, this can be because of a habit that needs to be changed or a supplement that their body needs. Regardless of the cause, UTIs are often a very uncomfortable, if not painful, experience.
The bladder and kidney are both parts of the urinary tract system, but kidney infections are much more severe than bladder infections and require antibiotics. Kidney infections are associated with a fever and/or lower back pain, while bladder infections are not. If you believe it is a bladder infection, opting for natural remedies is best.
Preventing UTIs is always a better option than remedying it, so using preventative techniques is the best thing you can do for your body. Using the natural remedies for UTIs listed above will help you relieve pain and even help you prevent them from recurring in the future.
Clara was born and grew up in Great Britain, and although she’s now happier with the weather in North Carolina where she resides with her partner, she does miss the ubiquitous teacakes. She graduated from a master’s in literature and worked for about 5 years at local news magazines as a reporter.