Most of us have been hanging out with our bodies for a while now so we can sense when something isn’t right. Such is the case when you have a UTI. After all, it’s hard to miss sudden lower abdominal pain, urge incontinence, and burning while you pee. Urinary tract infections account for over 6 million patient visits to the doctor per year in the USA. However, is there anything we could do to avoid a trip to the doctor? Read on to learn 5 home remedies for UTIs you may have never thought of.
And the Prize for the Most UTIs Goes To…
Ladies, aren’t we lucky? We’re much more likely than our male counterparts to get a UTI. About 50% of women will experience the uncomfortableness that is a UTI and it’s all thanks to our anatomy. Our urethra, which is the magical tube that allows urine to pass out of the body, is shorter than a man’s. Plus, it’s closer to our anus, which makes it pretty easy for bacteria to hop on the tract (get it, track) and make themselves comfortable.
Some ladies get a UTI after a round of sex while others get them repeatedly while approaching and after menopause. No matter how you get a UTI, once the symptoms occur, all you can think about is how to get rid of it. UTIs can be especially tough for women who have to deal with light bladder leaks. The infection can cause a strong urge to urinate even when the bladder is mostly empty. When you have no way of knowing if/when you’ll have to run to the restroom, it’s easy to accidentally pee a little when you cough or sneeze. We suggest keeping a bladder leak pad handy, like the ones offered by Lily Bird, if you ever find yourself in this situation.
5 Home Remedies For UTIs
Often, we head to the doctor and get an antibiotic to treat a UTI, but that’s not the only way to do it. Truth be told, our bodies are pretty nifty and can resolve mild, uncomplicated UTIs all by themselves. Consider the following home remedies for UTIs below:
#1 Probiotics Are Your Friend
When it comes to healing UTIs, probiotics might be one of the greatest of all time choices. While antibiotics take out both the good and bad bacteria, probiotics boost the good to fight the bad. A group of probiotics called lactobacilli do the following to help heal a UTI:
- Stops harmful bacteria from attaching to urinary tract cells
- Creates an antibacterial in the urine (hydrogen peroxide)
- Lowers the pH level in urine, which makes for an unfavorable environment for bacteria
Look for fermented foods and beverages like pickles, yogurt, and kombucha to prevent and heal a UTI.
#2 Consider it Done with D-mannose
Who knew that sugar had the power to prevent and treat a UTI? D-mannose has the unique ability to stick to E. coli bacteria. Can you guess which bacteria causes a whopping 90% of UTIs? Yep, you got it: E. coli.
After you consume foods containing D-mannose, your body eliminates this sugar through the kidneys and into the urinary tract. It’s thought that this sugar makes it so that the E.coli in the urinary tract can’t attach to cells and cause an infection. More research has to be done regarding its ability to cure UTIs. However, there is certainly enough research showing that it relieves UTI symptoms in women. You can find D-mannose in foods like apples, oranges, and broccoli.
#3 Marshmallows, But Not the Fluffy Kind
Althaea Officinalis, also known as Marshmallow, is an anti-inflammatory herb that you can find in powdered, supplement, and tea form. This herb creates a protective lining on the urinary tract, which soothes it and decreases inflammation. Althaea Officinalis is known for its ability to ease one’s UTI symptoms, but it may not cure your UTI.
#4 Baking Soda Might Do the Trick
Most of us keep baking soda around for baking, but did you know it might be able to treat a UTI too? Baking soda can neutralize the acid in the urine, which can boost the body’s ability to get rid of the bad bacteria on its own. There are also claims that baking soda can detoxify the kidneys and thus stop the infection from spreading there. You can try it for yourself by dissolving 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of baking soda in water and drinking it on an empty stomach.
Baking Soda Can Also Be Dangerous
Although baking soda is natural, it can become dangerous when consumed in excess. If you want to try treating a UTI with this method, be sure to follow the recommended dosage for adults. People who overdose on baking soda could experience:
- Abdominal pain
#5 You Can Never Go Wrong With Water
Although you probably want to drink less water in hopes that it’ll lessen the urge incontinence, you should actually drink more. Water can flush out the bacteria causing the infection and get you back on the right track. If you’re premenopausal and experiencing recurrent urinary tract infections, try drinking an additional 2 cups of water with each meal. This small change has the potential to cut your frequency of UTIs in half.
Home Remedies For UTIs Are Helpful, But…
These 5 home remedies for UTIs can be extremely beneficial and save you a trip to the doctor. However, you should also be aware that a partially treated UTI can easily become a much more serious condition. The last thing you want your UTI to become is pyelonephritis (AKA a kidney infection). Therefore, while home remedies are convenient for minor UTIs, it’s best to go to the doctor if it’s anything more severe.
What at-home remedies for UTIs have you tried? Tell us about them in the comments. And, if you’ve got unexpected spritz and sprinkles alongside your urinary tract infection, Lily Bird has you covered with pads and underwear for leaky laughs and dribble dilemmas delivered right to your door. Start your trial today
By Jessica Thomas, MPH