Home remedies for UTIs

A urinary tract infection (UTI) can occur in any part of the urinary tract. The kidneys, bladder, urethra and ureters could also be affected. In most cases, infections are caused by bacteria from the bowel, usually Escherichia coli, or Staphylococcus, but certain fungi and viruses can also be likely culprits.

Common UTI symptoms include:

  • frequent need to urinate
  • tiredness or shakiness
  • a burning sensation when urinating
  • fever or chills
  • pain or pressure in your back or abdomen.

If you suspect you have a UTI, see your doctor immediately. Treatment is important to prevent the spread of the infections which becomes more difficult to treat.

Besides your doctor’s help and the use of antibiotics, there are home remedies you can try to further ease UTI symptoms.

Fill up on water

Drinking plenty of water is one of the most effective remedies for a UTI as water flushes away bacteria. This not only helps to ease your symptoms but can also help prevent future infection. Make it a habit to drink throughout the day.  Multiple bathroom runs also help prevent infections. Drink at least eight glasses of water each day to stay hydrated.

Up your Vitamin C

According to Johns Hopkins Medicine’s health library, Vitamin C can make urine more acidic which prevents bacteria from growing in the urinary tract. And if bacteria aren’t able to grow, a UTI can be prevented and symptoms soothed. Eat foods packed with Vitamin C; like chilli peppers, broccoli, kale, strawberries and papaya. Or if those aren’t for you, take a Vitamin C supplement.

Check your lifestyle

If you have a UTI, your bladder gets easily irritated. It’s best to avoid irritants like caffeine, spicy foods, alcohol, carbonated drinks and artificial sweeteners. Instead, focus on high-fibre foods like seeds, berries, broccoli, wholegrains, and healthy carbohydrates like oatmeal, lentils and seeds.

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Heat things up

Inflammation, burning and pain in the pubic area are common with a UTI. Soothe yourself with a heating pad. Don’t apply it directly to your skin though, and keep the setting on low. Limit this remedy to 15 minutes at a time to avoid burning yourself.

Take probiotics

Probiotics are microorganisms found in fermented foods and supplements. They help keep your gut balanced with good bacteria which helps to both ease symptoms and prevent infections. Incorporate foods like kefir, kimchi, kombucha and yoghurt into your diet or try a supplement. Taking probiotics along with antibiotics in severe cases of UTIs could speed up your recovery.

Top tips

  • Wipe from front to back. This keeps the bacteria from reaching the urethra, particularly after a bowel movement.
  • Wash your genital areas with soap and water before having sex and be sure to pee afterwards. Washing keeps the bacteria away from the urethra and peeing removes bacteria that may have entered the urinary tract.
  • Skip feminine hygiene products like deodorant, sprays, scented powders and douche. These irritate the urethra.
  • Over-the-counter citro-soda can help relieve the burning sensation when you urinate as it reduces the acidity in urine.

References