Urinary tract infections (UTIs) just are not fun. Bacteria can invade your urinary system for many reasons, causing pain and pressure in the pubic area, a burning sensation during urination, and later, fever and nausea. Women are 10 times more likely to get a UTI, and more than 50% of women will have at least one during their lifetime.* If left untreated, a UTI can become a kidney infection, which is much more difficult to treat.
Here are some tried-and-true natural remedies for UTIs—without antibiotics that will throw your systems out of whack.**
Water, water, water. It may hurt, but staying hydrated is necessary to be able to flush out the bacteria in your system. Water also keeps your immune system running smoothly and your cells happy, which can speed your recovery. The current recommendation is at least 8 glasses of water a day.
Cranberries (and blueberries) contain substances that keep bacteria from sticking to bladder tissue, making it much easier to clear out. Drink 12-24oz of unsweetened cranberry juice a day, or a 400mg supplement.
There are many herbs that are shown to deter bacteria. Try one or a combination of yarrow, Oregon grape root, goldenseal, garlic, or rosemary brewed in a tea.
Antispasmodic herbs relieve muscle tension and cramping, which can be common symptoms of UTIs. Try one or a combination of black cohosh, wild yam, chamomile, or cramp bark brewed in a tea. Read more about the Best Herbs for Pain Relief, and also more remedies for menstrual cramps that can help.
These herbs will help you to literally wash out the invading bacteria—so be sure to drink plenty of water to replenish your systems. Try yarrow, dandelion leaf, nettle leaf, celery seed, or elderflowers brewed in a tea. Allow to cool to a lukewarm temperature for best results.
Bolster your immune system to give your biological systems a fighting chance. Have plenty of vitamin C (bonus, the acidity of Vitamin C can discourage bacteria), eat more vegetables (especially the dark green leafy kind) and antioxidant-packed fruits, like blueberries and tomatoes, and try a tincture of elderberry and Echinacea to give you an extra boost!
Play defense, and restore some balance by introducing more good bacteria to your system.
Let your body heal without adding more stress. Avoid processed and fried foods, as well as sugar, white breads and alcohol.
Have you suffered from frequent urinary tract infections? Do you have any tried-and-true remedies to treat UTIs, naturally? What are the best ways you've found to avoid recurring infections? Share your tips and remedies in the comments section below.
*If you get UTIs frequently, there may be an underlying issue that cannot be solved through these remedies alone. Please consult your doctor to determine the best way to proceed.
** Consult with your doctor before, during, and after symptoms are treated. Even if symptoms have resolved, only a urinalysis will determine if all offending bacteria has been flushed out. If herbal remedies to not work quickly, you may need additional medication. Some remedies should not be taken if pregnant.