A urinary tract infection (UTI) can be very painful and debilitating. Your first port of call should be your health professional, but there are also some useful home remedies for UTI to help alleviate the symptoms.
Causes of a UTI
UTIs, are infections which occur along the urinary tract, which includes the urethra, bladder and kidneys.
The urinary tract removes waste and excess water from the body, pretty important function, so you want it to be working efficiently!
In the USA, UTIs are the most common hospital-associated infection1
People of any age and sex can develop a UTI; however, some people are more at risk than others, with women more likely to develop UTIs than men.
This due to anatomical differences; the urethra is shorter in women than in men. The urethra is also closer to the anus in woman, making it easier for bacteria (such as ecoli) to be transferred.
UTI’s can be caused by a number if things, including:
- Poor hygiene
- Impaired immune function
- Overuse of antibiotics2
- Sexual intercourse
- Ecoli infection (trasnferring from intestinal tract to urinary tract)
- Not emptying the bladder properly
- Urinary catheters
- Incontince of the bowel
- Blocked flow of urine
- Kidney stones
- Some ftypes of contraception
- Procedures involving the urinary tract (such as a cervical smear)
A pretty long list so it’s no wonder it’s a common occurence!
Symptoms of a UTI
- Frequent urination
- Strong smelling urine which can be cloudy, bloody or both
- Burning and/or pain when urinating
- Nausea and vomiting
- Aching muscles and abdominal cramps
If a catheter is present, diagnoses is more tricky as sometimes the only symtptom that shows is a fever.
If you develop any of these symptoms, you should always seek medical advice.
Acute pyelonephritis is a severe kidney infection which develops suddenly and as well as any of the above sypmtoms you can also experince.
- Upper back and side pain
- High fever
- Mental changes (due to toxins in the body
Emergency treatment should be sought straight away for these symptoms.
Home Remedies For UTI
Firstly, see your health professional to have a diagnosis made.
This is usually done by testing a urine sample to assess the presence of white blood cells, red blood cells, and bacteria.
The urine is collected using the “clean catch” method.
The person cleans their genital area and then collects a urine sample mid-flow. This is to prevent bacteria from getting caught in the sample from around the genital area.
Your doctor may send you for further testing if you have frequent UTI’s
Always check with your health professional before using any home remedies.
Yes, this wonderful FREE fluid is possibly one of the most effective ways to help with UTI’s and should be your first port of call.3
Water helps to flush away the bacteria causing the infection, in effect aiding a faster recovery.4
How much water? Well there are differing opinions but a rule of thumb is least 64 ounces of liquids with at least half of this being water. (Check with your physician about how much you should drink to be safe).
Every time you urinate, you’re flushing away toxins and bacteria.
Even if you don’t feel the need, try and squeeze some out!
Drink Baking Soda
Baking soda can help neutralize the acidity of your urine because of it’s alkaline properties (urine is acidic). It helps to ease the discomfort of passing strong acidic urine.
1 tsp of baking soda to an 8oz glass of water, mixed well and taken in the morning once a day. Because of the high levels of sodium in baking soda, don’t take for more than a week and check with your physician that it’s safe to do so.
There are many common herbs you can use as an infusion to help with UTI’s. A diuretic helps your body get rid of unneeded water and salt through the urine.
- Celery seeds5
These are the more common ones and most stores now stock these herbal teas.
Snack on a handful of celery seeds once or twice a day, after a meal since celery seeds can also help digestion.
Other diuretic foods6
- Chocolate (the good stuff, made naturally with cocoa beans!)
- Lemon juice
- Leafy greens: lettuce, spinach, dandelion, parsley, kale, cilantro
- Green beans
As always, check with your physician that it’s safe for you to take any diuretic herbs.
Finally, the old-fashioned hot water bottle is one of my favorites for easing pain and discomfort.
The inflammation that accompanies the painful urination can cause cramping and discomfort.
Applying a gentle heat can help relax the muscles and alleviate the cramping. You can buy microwave heat pads, but my preferred method is a hot water bottle, hot, but comfortable to the touch.
Wrap the bottle in soft dish towel, lie down and place it over your lower abdomen. To increase the contact, press lightly, as much as is comfortable for you.
Repeat as often as you need.
If you’ve used any home remedies for UTI which you’d like to share, please add a comment below.