Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are the second most common reason people visit their doctors each year. Men get UTIs, but they are much more common in women — more than eight million women head to their doctor for UTI treatment annually. And 20 percent of these women will get a second UTI. If you’ve experienced a urinary tract infection (UTI), well, you understand there’s a reason the acronym rhymes with “cry.” You sit on the toilet darn near blubbering because you can’t pee but you feel like you have to”oh” how you feel like you have to! And when/if you do manage to get a little out, it burns with the fire of ten thousand suns. Then you go about your day crunched over and cramping and absolutely miserable.
Common symptoms include a frequent urge to urinate, passing small quantities of urine, a burning sensation when urinating, change in urine color, abdominal pain, fever, nausea, and vomiting.
Here are the top 10 home remedies for urinary tract infections.
- Baking Soda
UTIs that last longer than two days require medical intervention. Untreated UTIs can infect the kidneys and turn into a much more serious problem. To help prevent a UTI from developing or nip one in the bud, try adding 1 teaspoon baking soda to a glass of water as it may help ease your infection. The soda neutralizes the acidity in your urine, speeding along your recovery.
- Parsley Water
Aside from the fact that it makes a wonderfully refreshing after dinner drink, parsley water can help relieve a urinary tract infection and speed up the healing process by acting as a diuretic. Diuretics are used to treat a number of problems, and work by increasing the amount of sodium your kidneys excrete in urine. When they excrete sodium, they take water along with it, and the amount of fluid in your blood goes down. Less fluid means less pressure on the arteries, this is why it’s used to treat high blood pressure. In the case of UTI’s we just want to encourage an increased amount of urine to keep flushing out bacteria and relieving discomfort. Parsley is thought to work by inhibiting a Na+-K+ (sodium and potassium) pump. By inhibiting the reabsorption, sodium levels rise. To balance out the concentration, kidneys excrete more sodium in the urine. More sodium means more water which means an overall increased output of urine.
You will need…
-Roughly 1 cup of fresh parsley OR 2 tablespoons of dried parsley
-1-2 cups of water
Bring water to a boil and add the parsley if you are using fresh which is preferable in my opinion. Reduce the heat so it simmers steadily and let the leaves infuse the water like this for 6-10 minutes. Strain the leaves out and drink the water hot. If it’s a hot summer day, pop it in the fridge for refreshing parsley “iced tea.”
- Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is a rich source of enzymes, potassium and other useful minerals that can prevent the bacteria that cause UTIs from multiplying or growing. Those suffering from UTIs can use apple cider vinegar as a natural antibiotic to treat the infection.
Add two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar to a glass of water. You can also add lemon juice and sweeten with honey. Mix it well.
Drink this two times a day for a few days.
Blueberries and cranberries are from the same plant family and seem to have the same bacteria-inhibiting properties. In one study, blueberry juice was found to prevent UTIs. Since you’re not likely to find a gallon of blueberry juice at your local store, try sprinkling a handful of these flavorful, good-for-you berries over your morning cereal.
- Chew Some Celery Seeds
Celery seeds also act as a diuretic, due mainly to one of the constituents of celery oil, butylphthalide. If parsley water just isn’t your thing, chewing a handful of celery seeds can help increase the production of urine. If you want to get some more fluid, make celery seed water (follow the method for dried parsley.)
You will need…
-A handful of celery seeds
Once or twice a day, snack on celery seeds right after a meal it can also help with digestion, so why not? If you do this daily, some anecdotal evidence suggests it can help prevent UTI’s.
- Cranberry Juice
Many studies have found that drinking cranberry juice may help you avoid urinary tract infections. It appears that cranberry juice prevents infection-causing bacteria from bedding down in your bladder, and it also has a very mild antibiotic effect. Drinking as little as 4 ounces of cranberry juice a day can help keep your bladder infection free. But if you tend to get UTIs or are dealing with one right now, try to drink at least 2 to 4 glasses of cranberry juice a day. If pure cranberry juice is just too bitter for your taste buds, you can substitute cranberry juice cocktail. It seems to have the same effect as the pure stuff. Take note: If you have a UTI, cranberry juice is not a replacement for doctor-prescribed antibiotics in treating your infection.
Pineapple contains an enzyme called Bromelain, which has anti-inflammatory properties that may reduce UTI symptoms. Along with the pineapple, also, take the antibiotics prescribed by your doctor to quickly get rid of this kind of infection.
Eating a cup of pineapple on a regular basis can help prevent UTIs. You can also make juice from half a pineapple and drink it. It is best to use fresh pineapple because the canned version may contain preservatives.
Originally from Europe and a member of the cabbage family, horseradish is known for spicy, pungent, sinus-clearing spread made from the white roots of the plant. A natural compound in the plant, allyl isothiocyanate (AITC), has a strong antimicrobial effect. While cranberries and blueberries may be bacteriostatic, meaning they inhibit the reproduction of bacteria, AITC is bactericidal, which means it kills bacteria outright. It does so by attacking the cellular membrane of the bacterium, making it impossible to be viable or survive.
You will need…
-1/2 teaspoons fresh horseradish (root)
-A glass of water or milk
Grate the fresh horseradish, and start by taking 1 teaspoon twice a day. The max dosage is 1 ½ teaspoons three times daily, stopping if stomach upset occurs. If you have a hard time with the spice, a glass of water or milk nearby can help. I find milk to be preferable as water can sometimes seem to spread the spice around!
- Cream of Tartar & Lemon
This is an old home remedy, not a shiny “this-new-study-just-found” type of remedy, but I love it anyways. Sometimes these old gems work better than anything else you can hunt down, and sometimes they don’t make any difference at all. Cream of tartar may work because it changes the pH of your urine, making a less-friendly environment that makes it harder for bacteria to thrive in. Add in a bit of lemon or lime juice for vitamin C, and you’ve got a powerful bacteria killing concoction that can dry a UTI right up.
You will need…
-1 ½ teaspoons cream of tarter
-Lemon or lime juice (preferably fresh)
Stir cream of tartar into a ½-1 cup of warm water. Add a dash of lemon or lime juice, and drink 1-2 times a day. This can also help prevent UTIs when taken daily.
- Ginger Tea
No list dealing with any condition that involved any kind of inflammation would be complete without ginger. Its chemical make-up allows it to block prostaglandin synthesis, a process which creates little messengers (aptly called prostaglandins.) Prostaglandins communicate about a variety of biological processes, such as inflammation. They also transmit pain signals to neurons. It can, therefore, help to prevent inflammation, reduce current inflammation, and reduce pain. This is the same process that OTC anti-inflammatory medications-just without all the nasty side-effects!
– DO use it. When you’ve got to go, go. It sounds simple, but how many times have you held it — when you’re in a business meeting, when you’re stuck in traffic, when you’re at a concert and the lines are too long. If you hold your urine, you’re more likely to get a backup of bacteria and end up with an infection.
-DO consider cotton. Anything that comes into close contact with any of those ultra-personal areas should be cotton. Women should wear cotton underwear or cotton-lined panty hose to help stay fresher and dryer. Guys should go for boxer shorts.
– DON’T drink alcohol. Alcohol is an irritant to your bladder, just what you don’t need when you’re dealing with an infection.
– DO cut the caffeine. Also, avoid caffeine-loaded drinks such as caffeinated soda pop, coffee, and tea. Caffeine can irritate the bladder, which is the last thing you need when a UTI has taken hold.
– DO pull out a nonprescription pain reliever. Taking acetaminophen, ibuprofen, or aspirin can help ease the pain during your infection.
– DO follow the rules for making love. If you have trouble with UTIs, be sure you and your partner clean up before making love. After you make love, head to the bathroom to urinate and get rid of any potentially harmful bacteria. And try using a condom instead of a diaphragm. Diaphragms may promote UTIs.
– DO go with the flow. After urinating, be sure to wipe from front to back to keep bacteria from getting close to the urethra.
These home remedies can help you prevent a UTI or eliminate one already in progress. However, be sure to check with your doctor, especially if a UTI lasts longer than two days.