Natural Remedies for UTI (Urinary Tract Infections)
This page takes a look at various natural remedies for uti, such as using herbs, homeopathy, and nutritional supplements to
treat urinary tract infections.
A urinary tract infection (UTI) is an infection that starts in and affects the urinary system, which is made up of the kidneys, ureters, bladder and urethra. Any part of
the urinary system can become infected, but most infections involve the lower urinary tract, i.e. the urethra (the tube that conducts urine away from the bladder and
out of the body) and the bladder.
Urinary tract infections are caused by bacteria and are 10 times more common among women than men, mainly because of the female anatomy. In women, the urethra is very
short and its opening is close to the vagina and the anus. As such, vaginal and intestinal bacteria can easily travel to the urethra and up to the bladder, causing
an infection. In men, urinary tract infections are much less common but potentially more serious, because they are often tied to prostate problems.
Symptoms of UTI
General signs and symptoms related to a UTI can include:
Also, there are different types of UTIs depending on the part of the urinary tract that is affected. Each type of urinary tract infection may result in more specific
signs and symptoms:
- Frequent urges to urinate
- Pain or a burning sensation when urinating
- Scanty flow or just dribbling
- Blood in the urine or cloudy, strong-smelling urine
|Type of UTI
||Burning sensation with urination
Cramps in the abdomen or lower back
|Kidneys (acute pyelonephritis)
||Nausea or vomiting
Pain in the upper back and sides
Causes of UTI
As mentioned above, the most common urinary tract infections occur mainly in women and affect the bladder and urethra.
Common causes of UTIs include:
- Bacterial Infections, usually E. coli
- More frequent or intense intercourse
- Frequent use of antibiotics
- Use of irritating contraceptives such as diaphragms and spermicides
- Kidney stones or any other urinary obstruction
- Diabetes and other chronic illnesses that may impair the immune system
Natural Remedies for UTI
As an infection that started in the lower urinary tract can travel up and spread to the kidneys, it is important that you consult a doctor to monitor
your conditions and progress if you have UTI.
Conventional treatment for UTIs includes the use of antibiotics which can kill the bacteria causing the current infection but, over time,
can leave the urinary tract more vulnerable to futura bacterial invasion. If your doctor intends to prescribe antibiotics for your UTI, ask if antibiotics are
really necessary and if it is possible to use milder and natural treatments. If necessary, also consult a holistic practitioner.
Natural remedies for UTI include the use of herbs, homeopathy, and nutritional supplements to fight off the infection as well as to strengthen the immune system. This
natural approach is more effective and gentler on the body.
Natural Remedies for UTI - Herbs
Quite a few herbs can be used as natural remedies for UTI. Herbs that are antibacterial and/or immune strengtheners are effective.
- Uva ursi: This herb contains arbutin, a chemical compound that is both an antibiotic that destroys bacteria and a diuretic that helps
relieve excess water retention. Recommended dosage is to use the standardized extract, 250 mg three to four times daily for no more than 4 days.
- Cranberry: A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association showed that certain compounds in cranberry prevent bacteria
from adhering to the bladder walls. Also, like uva ursi, cranberry contains arbutin which destroys bacteria. As such, cranberry can be used as one of the natural
remedies for acute UTIs, as well as for UTI prevention. The easiest way to take this herb is to get the cranberry extract capsules. Recommended dosage is 400 mg
twice a day.
- Echinacea: Echinacea is an immune booster. Taken together with the herb goldenseal (a natural antibiotic), echinacea can be an effective
UTI remedy. You can use tinctures of echinacea and goldenseal. Take one to two dropperfuls (about a teaspoon) of each two to three times a day.
- Horsetail: Horsetail is useful for urinary tract infections that involve minor bleeding from the bladder or urethra. You can get
this herb in capsule form. Recommended dosage is 500 mg 3 to 4 times a day.
Natural Remedies for UTI - Nutritional Supplements
Several nutritional supplements are good natural remedies for UTI, and can be used in conjunction with some of the herbal remedies above.
- Vitamin C: Vitamin C is an antioxidant and immune booster. It also inhibits the growth of E coli by making the urine more acidic so that
bacteria cannot grow so easily. Recommended dosage is 1000 mg one to two times daily,
- D-Mannose: D-Mannose is a natural occurring simple sugar and has been found to be effective in treating simple, uncomplicated UTIs. It works
by preventing bacteria from being able to attach to the walls of the urinary tract and the bladder. Recommended dosage is 500 mg four times a day.
- Probiotics: Probiotic supplements that contain at least 4 billion organisms (e.g. Lactobacillus acidophilus) can be taken to provide
the body with "friendly bacteria" that keep the harmful bacteria in check. If you are using antibiotics to treat UTI, it is particularly important that you take
probiotic supplements to replenish the friendly bacteria killed off by the antibiotics.
Natural Remedies for UTI - Homeopathy
Homeopathic remedies are also good natural remedies for UTI. For a remedy to work, choose one that most closely matches your symptoms and follow the instructions of
use on the label. It is also advisable to consult with a homeopath or holistic practitioner.
Common remedies for UTI include:
- Aconitum napellus: This remedy is effective for early symptoms of UTI. Urination feels hot and painful and the person feels anxious.
- Apis mellifica: This remedy is good for sharp, stinging pains that tend to worsen at night and from warmth, and feel better with cold
compresses or cool drinks. There are often small amounts of urine passed.
- Cantharis: This is the homeopathic remedy of choice for UTI. It is effective for people who have a strong urge to urinate but with little
production. Burning or cutting pain may accompany urination and small tinges of blood may be present in the urine.
- Mercurius corrosivuss: This remedy is helpful when there is blood and pus in the urine. People who need this remedy tend to feel
great burning pains and spasm in the bladder. Symptoms worsen at night and tend to be accompanied by chills and sweating.
- Nux vomica: This remedy is for people who have a constant urge to urinate, but with only small amounts being passed. Pain is
described as needle-like. Symptoms are better with warmth such as a warm bath.
- Sarsaparilla: This remedy is indicated when there is burning pain at the end of urination. The person seems to be able to
urinate only when standing, not sitting.
- Staphysagria: This remedy is for the burning pains of a bladder infection that come on after sexual intercourse.
This remedy is also appropriate for people who have a strong urge to urinate and feel that a single drop of urine is still present even immediately after urination.
Natural Remedies for UTI - Diet
If you have an UTI, or are prone to UTIs, try to take a look at your diet and make sure that you are eating natural, wholesome foods. In addition:
Foods to avoid:
- Drink a lot of clean water and herbal teas. This can increase your urine output and flush out some of the bacteria causing the infection.
- As mentioned above, cranberry is effective for treating and preventing UTIs. Try to drink unsweetened cranberry juice regularly to help lower the risk
- Eat natural diuretics to help flush out some of the infection-causing bacteria. Watermelon, celery, and parsley are examples of natural diuretics.
- Eat garlic to strengthen your immune system.
- Sugar and foods rich in sugar.
- Processed or refined foods, especially those that are spicy and salty.
- Coffee and other stimulants, alcohol, and tobacco.
Balch and Stengler, Prescription for Natural Cures, (John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2004).
Duke, J.A., The Green Pharmacy Herbal Handbook. (St. Martin's Paperbacks, 2002).
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