A UTI, or a urinary tract infection, can be painful and affect the bladder and connecting tubes. While these infections usually aren’t that serious, according to WebMD, they can cause kidney infection if they’re not treated promptly – which can be serious.
While some painkillers can help alleviate the symptoms of a UTI and antibiotics can help clear up the infection, there are a number of things you can do without a prescription to help the recovery process. Here is a list of 12 of them…
Drink a Lot of Water
And we mean a lot. Water can help flush out the bacteria that are responsible for your UTI, according to EveryDay Health. The amount of water you should drink depends on your body mass, it adds.
However, it notes, “aim for half of your body weight in ounces of water, up to 80-ounces (oz) a day.” For example, if you weigh 140-pounds, drink 70-oz of water (that’s about 9-glasses daily if you have an 8-ounce glass).
You can place a heating pad (set on low) on your genital region to take the edge off pain, notes WebMD. The source warns to never put the heating pad in place and then fall asleep as you can seriously injure your skin.
WebMD also suggests taking a warm bath, which can also be soothing, but avoid a bubble bath because there could be allergies to the soap. Use only hypoallergenic and unscented soaps to wash yourself, it adds.
Drink Cranberry Juice
In addition to drinking lots of water, you might as well add the infection-fighting properties of cranberry juice, explains WikiHow. It does say there isn’t much evidence to support this, but it probably won’t hurt and might help prevent another infection from starting.
If you have recurring UTIs, then you may want to consider cranberry capsules, it adds (but not if you’re taking blood thinners). It also notes that if you have a family history of kidney infections, then you may want to steer clear of cranberry juice.
Your UTI will probably make you feel like peeing often anyway, but the point is to not ignore the urges. EveryDayHealth.com explains that each time you pee – “even if it’s just a small amount” – you get rid of some of the bad bacteria.
It may be inconvenient to go every 15-minutes, but don’t hold back. You won’t be doing yourself any favors, and you may even develop incontinence if you get into the habit of holding it too long.
Avoid Alcohol and Caffeine
Sorry, this is probably the one you were hoping you wouldn’t read, but it’s true that these two “irritants” can worsen your UTI symptoms, according to WikiHow.
Aside from worsening the problem, these two things can also cause dehydration, which makes it more difficult for your body to flush out bacteria. When the infection clears, consider cutting your intake of alcohol and caffeine indefinitely, adds the source.
Scare it Off With Garlic
Garlic has long been heralded for its infection-fighting properties, but the trick “is to get the garlic compounds into the urinary bladder,” explains NaturalLivingIdeas.com. Crushed garlic forms a sulfur compound called Allicin, which provides the “antimicrobial action,” it adds.
The source recommends crushing 3-5 cloves of garlic and mixing it with butter or vinegar (as garlic butter or salad dressing). You can also avoid the associated “garlic breath” by swallowing 5-6 smaller cloves like pills, it adds.
A study from the University of Maryland Medical Center says that probiotics are an ally in the fight against UTIs, and they are found in yogurt. “Probiotics are beneficial microorganisms that may protect against infections in the genital and urinary tracts,” notes an article posted by the university.
You can also get your probiotics in dietary supplement capsules, it adds. However, the source uses caution by pointing out, “Not all studies show a benefit for probiotics in preventing urinary tract infections. More research is needed.”
Load Up On Vitamin C
EveryDay Health notes that consuming foods that are high in vitamin C can be especially helpful if you’re looking to avoid a UTI. This is because vitamin C will make urine more acidic, and limit the growth of harmful bacteria in the tract, it adds.
While this vitamin is an ally in helping you avoid getting a UTI in the first place, it notes that taking vitamin C supplements when you are battling an infection may be helpful as well.
Try Uva Ursi
Try what, you ask? According to WebMD, uva ursi is the Latin name for “bear’s grape,” a fruit that bears seem to really enjoy. The source says uva ursi is primarily used to treat UTIs, as well as constipation and even bronchitis.
However, there are some warnings attached. The source says it’s “possibly safe” for most adults when taken orally for short periods of time (up to 1-month), but that it can possibly cause liver damage or eye problems if it’s taken long-term or in high doses. It’s also not recommended to use during pregnancy, or to treat UTIs in children.
Livestrong.com says that an herbal supplement called goldenseal may be golden when it comes to getting relief from a UTI. Goldenseal is from a plant called Hydrastis canadensis, and the source recommends it as a way to prevent a UTI more than end it (if you’re a frequent sufferer of the problem).
However, the source also says additional research is needed regarding its effectiveness for soothing a UTI, and that you should seek advice from a doctor before taking it for this purpose.
Turn To Apple Cider Vinegar
Of the many possible uses for apple cider vinegar (ACV), preventing a UTI might be among them, according to Healthline.com. While the site is pretty clear in saying there is “not yet any scientific evidence to suggest that ACV can treat a UTI,” it still admits there can be some benefits.
It explains that adding ACV to your diet can help boost your overall health. It may also ward off infections in the process. “It’s always possible that ACV could prevent future UTIs — but don’t count on it to treat a current infection,” it says. You can add ACV to other remedies such as cranberry juice (1 to 2-tablespoons per glass of unsweetened cranberry juice), it adds.
Sip Green Tea
We’ve already told you that avoiding caffeine is key when you’re battling a UTI, but green tea may be considered an exception as it contains less caffeine than black tea (and a lot less than coffee, around 30-mg vs. 100-mg or more per cup).
Reader’s Digest touts green tea as a UTI remedy, and advises drinking 2 to 3-cups of it daily. It notes that a recent study shows the antioxidants in green tea can help ease bladder inflammation. Green tea can also promote heart health, and even have cancer-preventing properties, adds the source.