Top 16 Effective Home Remedies To Prevent Urinary Tract Infection November 9, 2016

Urinary tract infection or UTI is one of the most common health problems faced by people today. This painful infection is 10 times more prevalent in women than in men, with almost 50% of females experiencing this condition at least once during their lifetime. Once you have experienced UTI, it tends to recur. Pregnancy, intercourse, menopause, holding urine for prolonged periods of time, etc. are the most common triggers for this infection. Usually, UTI is accompanied by symptoms such as fever, abdominal pain, frequent urge to urinate, and a burning sensation while urinating. While doctors often prescribe antibiotics to treat this condition, there are many home remedies that can not only ease the symptoms of UTI but also prevent the recurrence of this painful ordeal in the future.

Firstly, let us know look at what exactly a urinary tract infection is.

What Is A Urinary Tract Infection?

When bacteria, fungi, or virus infect any part of your urinary tract, it results in urinary tract infection or UTI. When the immune response of the body is down and due to unhygienic reasons, these microbes are not eliminated by the body and remain inside the urinary system, causing an infection. Infection of the urethra is called urethritis, and that of the urinary bladder is called cystitis. At times, these microbes (usually bacteria) can also travel back up the urinary tract and cause infection in the kidneys (1).

How To Prevent Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)

1. Cranberry Juice
2. Apple Cider Vinegar
3. Baking Soda
4. Garlic
5. Yogurt
6. Goldenseal
7. Tea Tree Oil
8. Uva Ursi
9. Vitamin C
10. Green Tea
11. Parsley Tea
12. Lemon Juice
13. Coconut Oil
14. Pineapple
15. Water
16. Blueberry Juice

Here are 16 of the most effective home remedies for UTI:

1. Cranberry Juice

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Image: Shutterstock

What You Need

Cranberry juice

What You Have To Do
  1. Drink half a glass of cranberry juice on a daily basis to prevent the infection. If you are already suffering from this infection, drink four glasses of this juice daily to protect your kidneys.
  1. Avoid adding any artificial sweetener to the juice.
  1. If the flavor of cranberry juice is too pungent for your liking, you could dilute it with apple juice.
How Often Should You Do This

Drink at least four glasses of cranberry juice every day until the infection clears.

Why This Works

Cranberries, members of the berry family, are excellent for treating UTI, especially in their juiced form. Cranberries contain proanthocyanidins that prevent the E.coli bacteria from crossing the urethra walls (2). They also possess antibiotic properties that help fight infections.

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2. Apple Cider Vinegar

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Image: Shutterstock

What You Need
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 1 cup water
What You Have To Do

Mix two tablespoons of ACV with lemon juice, honey, and water. Drink the concoction.

How Often Should You Do This

Drink this healthy concoction twice a day till the infection clears.

Why This Works

From shiny hair to pimple-free skin, there are numerous wonders that apple cider vinegar (ACV) is capable of, including the treatment of UTI. ACV is chock full of essential enzymes and nutrients such as potassium that inhibit bacteria that cause UTI to thrive (3). ACV is also rich in acetic acid, which promotes the growth of good bacteria and kills the bad bacteria.

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3. Baking Soda

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Image: Shutterstock

What You Need
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
  • A glass of water
What You Have To Do

Mix the baking soda in a glass of water and drink it.

How Often Should You Do This

Drink this concoction as frequently as possible.

Why This Works

Baking soda exhibits properties that help fight UTI. It is alkaline in nature and helps neutralize the acidity of your urine when you are suffering from UTI (4). If your urine is less acidic, you will experience lesser pain and burning while urinating.

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4. Garlic For UTI

Effective-Home-Remedies-To-Prevent-Urinary-Tract-Infection1

Image: Shutterstock

What You Need
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • Medicated gauze
What You Have To Do
  1. Peel the garlic and wrap them tightly in the medicated gauze to make a pessary.
  1. Insert this into the vagina, keeping one end of the gauze longer and hanging out.
  1. Keep this in for two to three hours. Remove it, wash the area and dry it completely.
How Often Should You Do This

Repeat this process twice or thrice in a day. You can use a pessary containing up to five garlic cloves overnight. Continue doing this for three to four days.

Why This Works

Garlic possesses strong antimicrobial properties. When inserted into the vagina, it kills all the bacteria and/or fungi causing the UTI (5).

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5. Yogurt

yogurt1

Image: Shutterstock

What You Need

Plain yogurt

What You Have To Do

Enjoy a bowl of yogurt after every meal.

How Often Should You Do This

Since yogurt is good for overall health, make this a regular inclusion in your daily diet.

Why This Works

One of the best (and tastiest) ways to keep both your bowel and bladder in good health is to ensure that your daily diet comprises at least one serving of yogurt. Yogurt contains probiotics that increase the concentration of good bacteria in your body while warding off the bad bacteria (6). Yogurt is also a great diet supplement when you are consuming antibiotics for UTI treatment as the antibiotics can create a shortage of good bacteria in your system.

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6. Goldenseal

Goldenseal-1

Image: Shutterstock

What You Need

Goldenseal capsules/liquid extract

What You Have To Do

You can buy an over-the-counter goldenseal capsule or its liquid extract from a drugstore and consume it as prescribed, which is usually one to two capsules daily.

How Often Should You Do This

Continue taking this herbal supplement until the infection goes away.

Why This Works

The compound berberine contained in goldenseal has the same effect on our body as proanthocyanidins contained in cranberries. Berberine prevents bacteria from sticking to the urethral walls, and thus prevents and treats UTI (7, 8).

Caution

Seek your doctor’s approval if you are unsure about the amount of goldenseal you can consume.

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7. Tea Tree Oil

The-tea-tree-oil1

Image: Shutterstock

What You Need
  • 10 drops tea tree oil
  • Bathtub full of warm water
What You Have To Do

Mix the tea tree oil in the warm water and soak your body in it for a few minutes.

How Often Should You Do This

Follow this procedure twice every day until the infection clears.

Why This Works

A research study published in an issue of the Clinical Microbiology Reviews reported that tea tree oil has remarkable antibacterial properties and can even work as an alternative treatment to antibiotics (9). This oil has the capability of fighting bacteria like E. coli, Mycobacterium avium ATCC 4676, Haemophilus influenzae, Streptococcus pyogenes, and Streptococcus pneumoniae. E. coli is one of the most common bacteria responsible for UTIs.

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8. Uva Ursi

Uva-Ursi11

Image: Shutterstock

  • What You Need
  • Dried uva ursi leaves
  • Tea
What You Have To Do
  1. Soak dried uva ursi leaves in water overnight.
  1. Mix these leaves with tea leaves while brewing tea and drink it every day.
How Often Should You Do This

Enjoy this tea twice or thrice a day until the infection clears.

Why This Works

Uva ursi is a popular herb that possesses remarkable therapeutic as well as curative benefits that help treat UTI. It has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties that treat and prevent UTI (10).

Caution

Ensure that you consult your doctor before consuming this as uva ursi does not suit everybody.

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9. Vitamin C

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Image: Shutterstock

What You Need

Vitamin C-rich foods like citrus fruits, bell peppers, papayas, broccoli, etc.

What You Have To Do

Enjoy one serving of vitamin C-rich foods daily.

How Often Should You Do This

Stick to one serving of citrus fruits every day until the infection clears. Too much acid in your urine can increase the pain and cause a burning sensation during urination.

Why This Works

Vitamin C plays a huge role in helping treat urinary tract infections. Foods such as oranges, berries, leafy greens, and bell peppers help acidify the urine and inhibit the growth of bacteria in your urinary tract (11). You can also consume vitamin C supplements.

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10. Green Tea

Green-Tea-1

Image: Shutterstock

What You Need
  • 1 green tea bag (decaffeinated)
  • A cup of hot water
What You Have To Do

Brew a cup of green tea and have it every morning and evening.

How Often Should You Do This

Drink this tea twice a day every day until the infection clears.

Why This Works

A study conducted in 2013 observed the antimicrobial activity of the catechins EGC on E.coli bacteria responsible for UTI (12). This research proved that a daily cup of green tea can not only help fight UTI but also prevent its recurrence.

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11. Parsley Tea

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Image: Shutterstock

[ Read: Home Remedies To Treat Cloudy Urine ]

What You Need
  • 2 bunches parsley
  • 4 cups water
What You Have To Do
  1. Chop the parsley and mix it with the water.
  1. Let it brew for 15 minutes. Strain and enjoy the tea.
How Often Should You Do This

Drink this tea twice a day every day until the infection clears.

Why This Works

Owing to its high flavonoid content, parsley tea contains rich anti-inflammatory properties that help fight inflammation. When used in your regular tea preparation, parsley acts as a great diuretic and rids your body of the infection-causing bacteria (13).

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12. Lemon Juice For UTI

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Image: Shutterstock

What You Need
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • A cup of warm water
What You Have To Do

Mix the lemon juice in the water and drink this water on an empty stomach in the morning.

How Often Should You Do This

Include drinking lemon water in your daily routine to keep infections at bay.

Why This Works

Lemon juice has bactericidal and fungicidal properties. Drinking this juice daily will clear any infection that is lurking in any corner of the body. Lemon juice also contains antioxidants that will remove all harmful free radicals from the body (14).

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13. Coconut Oil For Urinary Tract Infection

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Image: Shutterstock

What You Need

Virgin coconut oil

What You Have To Do

Consume two to three tablespoons of coconut oil in a day.

How Often Should You Do This

Repeat this until the UTI clears.

Why This Works

The medium chain fatty acids present in coconut oil have been widely studied by scientists and have been proven to have antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, and antiprotzoal properties (15). Consuming this oil on a daily basis will kill the microbes causing the urinary tract infection.

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14. Pineapple For UTI

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Image: Shutterstock

What You Need

1 cup pineapple or juiced pineapple

What You Have To Do

Consuming one cup of cut pineapple every day can help treat and prevent urinary tract infection. You can also drink pineapple juice every day.

How Often Should You Do This

Eat at least one cup of pineapple every day until the infection clears.

Why This Works

If your doctor has prescribed antibiotics to treat your UTI, supplementing the drugs with a daily dose of pineapple can expedite the process of recovery. The enzyme bromelain in pineapple enhances the effect of the antibiotic treatment of urinary tract infections (16).

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15. Water

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Image: Getty

What You Need

Water

What You Have To Do

To prevent this infection, you need to drink at least eight glasses of water every day.

How Often Should You Do This

Drink eight ounces of water every hour, every day until the infection clears.

Why This Works

Water is the foundation of life, yet it is the most underrated remedy for a variety of health concerns, including UTI. It is possibly the simplest and the most effective remedy for a urinary tract infection. Drinking plain water is essential as it flushes out the UTI-causing bacteria from your system by stimulating urination (17).

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16. Blueberry Juice

blueberry-1

Image: Shutterstock

What You Need

Blueberries (whole or juiced)

What You Have To Do
  1. You can sprinkle blueberries on your morning cereal or enjoy them as a snack.
  1. You can also juice them without adding any sweeteners.
How Often Should You Do This

Include a handful of blueberries in your diet until the infection clears.

Why This Works

There are many studies that tout the benefits of blueberries for preventing and fighting UTI. The compounds called proanthocyanidins contained in blueberries prevent the E.coli bacteria from getting stuck to the walls of the urinary tract, thereby fighting UTI (18). Since blueberries are antioxidant powerhouses, it’s a good idea to make them a permanent inclusion in your daily diet, even after the infection clears.

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FAQs

1. What causes urinary tract infection in women?

UTIs most often result due to bacteria present in the digestive system that trigger infection when they enter the urethra. E.coli is the bacteria that travels from the digestive system and causes the infection. Other microbes include Chlamydia and Mycoplasma, which are sexually transmitted (1).

2. How common are urinary tract infections?

Urinary tract infections affect more than eight million women in the United States alone in a year. Women experience a UTI at least once in a year, with some women having recurrent infections of more than four to five times in a year.

3. What are the symptoms of urinary tract infection?

The following symptoms are experienced if you are suffering from a UTI:

  • Pain or burning sensation while passing urine
  • Frequent urge to pass urine, even though the bladder is not full
  • Cloudy or bloody urine that smells
  • Pain, cramps, and/or pressure in the lower belly
  • Low fever
  • Weakness and lethargy (19, 20)

If you notice blood in your urine, please consult a doctor immediately. The urinary tract infection can affect the bladder (cystitis), urethra (urethritis), ureters (ureteritis), and kidneys (pyelonephritis) (20).

4. What are the signs of a water infection?

A bladder infection is also called as a water infection in colloquial language. The signs and symptoms for this are the same as for a UTI, as it is technically a UTI.

5. What not to eat if you have a urinary tract infection?

The microbes causing the infection in the urinary tract feed on sugars, so it is essential to eliminate these from your diet as much as possible when recovering from a UTI. Avoid the following food items:

  • Sweetened juices
  • Desserts, ice creams, cookies, or any sweet item
  • Foods with caffeine in them like tea and coffee

6. How does a woman get a urinary tract infection?

The following reasons are usually responsible for women contracting a UTI:

  • Sexual intercourse
  • Holding the urine for too long
  • Using a birth control diaphragm
  • Pregnancy
  • Diabetes
  • Estrogen loss during or after menopause
  • Wiping from back to front after passing stools (19)

7. When does a UTI become a kidney infection?

When the infection spreads from the other parts of the urinary tract, for example, the urethra or the ureters, to the kidneys, it can lead a kidney infection. This is known as pyelonephritis. This usually happens when the UTI is left untreated for long, allowing the bacteria to travel back and upwards in the ureters towards the kidneys (21).

8. How long does it take for a UTI to go away?

A basic antibiotic course for a UTI is usually between three to five days for women and seven to 14 days for men. Using the appropriate home remedies and drinking plenty of fluids is the natural way to get rid of the UTI. If left untreated, a simple UTI can easily flare up and cause complications.

9. Can you get a UTI from tight pants?

Wearing tight pants traps moisture in your private parts, making it a suitable environment for bacteria to thrive in. Hence, it is advised to wear well-fitted or loose pants with cotton underwear, especially when you suffer from repeated urinary tract infections.

10. Can soda cause a urinary tract infection?

Yes, soda can cause a urinary tract infection. Most sodas contain caffeine, which is known to irritate the urinary tract and bladder and make them susceptible to contracting an infection.

Caution

The home remedies and tips for urinary tract infections mentioned above help a great deal in preventing the infection. However, if you’re experiencing common UTI symptoms such as increased urge to urinate, a burning sensation while urinating, cramping, and cloudy urine for more than two to three days, don’t put off seeing a doctor. Without proper medical intervention, UTI can infect the kidneys and lead to more serious medical conditions. Maintain proper hygiene and good dietary habits to keep UTI at bay.

Have you ever tried any of these remedies for UTI? Have they worked for you? Do let us know about your experience in the comments below.

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