These five simple home remedies for UTI are the best way to go about dealing with this uncomfortable issue. These solutions are natural and gentler on the body so you can avoid having to turn to antibiotics.
Consistent urinary tract infections (UTI) can be a nuisance and interfere with everyday life. Taking antibiotics all the time can create resistant bacteria, which can perpetuate the problem even further and cause recurring UTIs. Of course, you always want to check with your doctor for any medical issue and before starting any new supplement regimen.
What is a urinary tract infection (UTI)?
A urinary tract infection can range from a bacterial infection in the urinary tract that goes unnoticed to a severe kidney infection with sepsis being the end result. (1)
Although it can be uncomfortable to talk about, urinary tract infections (UTIs) are very common and a consistent problem for many, especially women. It is one of the most common bacterial infections in developing countries and about 150 million people are diagnosed with a urinary tract infection each year worldwide. (2)
Although conventional medicine is more likely to turn to antibiotics as a treatment option, there is evidence to show that prolonged antibiotic use can increase the likelihood of a urinary tract infection. (3)
Fortunately, there are natural remedies that you can try that can be very effective against a UTI.
What about apple cider vinegar and baking soda for UTIs?
You may have heard about apple cider vinegar and baking soda being good for UTIs, but hear me out before you go to your pantry. I for one am all for natural remedies and love ACV for many things, but once you already have a full blown UTI, it’s best not to try ACV or baking soda. At this point the infection is too far gone to be effectively treated with it.
However, ACV and baking soda do help keep the body’s PH balanced which helps to prevent future UTIs. So it’s great to use them before a UTI starts. Women often get UTIs from foreign bacteria or after intercourse.
For UTIs, I’ve found the following home remedies to be most effective, especially for persistent infections…
5 BEST Natural Home Remedies for UTI:
D-mannose is a simple sugar in the form of a monosaccharide. It is the compound found in cranberries that helps with UTIs. You may have heard that you should drink cranberry juice for a UTI and that is because it contains D-mannose. However, I never recommend drinking cranberry juice for a UTI because it is high in sugar (even if it’s unsweetened) and sugar feeds the bacteria that causes UTIs. It’s a much better option to take D-mannose to get all of the benefits and none of the sugar.
D-mannose is quickly absorbed and can reach the peripheral organs in 30 minutes and is then excreted via urine from the body. Long-term use of D-mannose in concentrations of up to 20 percent have shown no side effect to human metabolism.
D-mannose has shown to prevent or alleviate UTIs because of its ability to bind to bacteria that cause infection and remove them from the body. In fact, it is very effective in reducing the adhesion of bacteria by increasing the clearance of bacteria into the urine. This ultimately decreases the risk of infection. (4,5)
In a recent 2016 pilot study,D-mannose was very effective in alleviating symptoms of UTIs as well as decreasing the recurrence of UTIs from 33 percent to 4.5 percent. Since long-term use is considered safe, taking D-mannose over a significant period of time can help with preventing another urinary tract infection.(6)
The microbiome is a fancy word which refers to the vast colony of bacteria, viruses and parasites that reside within us. Although the idea of so many microorganisms co-existing inside of us may sound scary, a healthy microbiome is essential to good health. More and more research is starting to uncover how good bacteria or probiotics can positively affect the immune system and intestinal and brain health.
Urogenital infections are no exception. Studies have found that the Lactobacilli species of probiotics are particularly important in fighting bacteria that cause UTIs as they produce ingredients that adhere to the bacteria and remove them from the body.
Daily oral intake of L rhamnosus and L fermentum were shown to modify vaginal flora. Taking probiotics can normalize the flora, which suggests that this treatment would be a good long-term alternative to those susceptible to UTIs. (7,8,9)
Allicin is the main component of garlic that has documented antibacterial activity, specifically for E.Coli and Staphylococcus aureus. Ajoene, a derivative of allicin, is found in garlic oil, which can cause broad spectrum microbial growth inhibition. (10) Basically, it acts like a broad spectrum antibiotic would, but without the worry of creating a super bug with long-term antibiotic use.
You can eat lots of garlic, take garlic oil or take it in the form of a pill.
4. Oregano Oil
Oregano oil extracted from the leaves of O. vulgare has been noted to have broad antibacterial activity. Research has also found it to have antiviral, antifungal, antioxidant and anticancer properties. (11)
In terms of what oregano oil can do for a UTI, it can greatly alleviate the symptoms associated with a urinary tract infection. This is so because it actively kills E.coli, which is one of the main bacteria responsible for UTIs. (12)
5. Biofilm disruptors
Biofilm disruptors are a good option if all of the above remedies haven’t worked for you. Most of the home remedies treat e. coli, which is the most common form of bacteria associated with UTIs. However, in some rare cases there are other forms of bacteria at play and biofilm disruptors can treat these.
The easiest way to think of a biofilm is to envision a bunch of bacteria creating a web-like, interconnected structure that sticks to the lining of a tissue (in this case, the urethral lining). When a biofilm is created, it is very difficult for it to be destroyed with conventional treatments and makes recurrence of a UTI inevitable.
Biofilm disruptors contain enzymes that can break down the “web”or matrix created by bacteria. You can use biofilm disruptors to decrease recurring urinary tract infections. (13)
Can diet help to alleviate the symptoms of a UTI?
Of course! Foods that cause inflammation are also the foods that can exacerbate an infection. In general, bacteria feed on sugar. Therefore, if you eat a diet predominantly made up of processed sugar and white flour, you are feeding the bacteria causing a UTI and making the problem worse.
Here are some tips on the best diet to avoid a UTI:
Get rid of the sugar.
Make sure to choose real, whole foods instead of processed foods where hidden sugars can exist. Even a little bit of sugar can set off an infection, therefore it is important to be strict until you get rid of a UTI. (Get Healy Eats Real’s FREE ebook on how to beat sugar cravings here)
Choose probiotic-rich foods daily.
You can easily incorporate foods that are naturally high in probiotics. Examples are home-made sauerkraut, fermented vegetables and kefir made from coconut water.
Drink bone broth.
Bone broth is filled with amino acids that help the liver to detoxify the body. Drinking 1 cup of bone broth two times per day can help the body to cleanse from excess pathogenic bacteria as well as provide more collagen for tissue repair. Learn how to make it here.
Eat a plant-rich diet.
Consuming 2 to 3 servings of fruit and 5-7 servings of vegetables per day helps to create an alkaline environment within the body. Pathogenic bacteria have a harder time thriving in such an environment, therefore, make sure you make an effort to eat those veggies!
Eating a nutrient dense and inflammation-free diet, along with the right supplements, could vastly improve the duration and recurrence of UTIs without the negative side-effects of frequent antibiotic use. Make an effort to improve your dietary habits. Your urethra will thank you for it.
About Tina Christoudias, The Thyroid Dietician
Tina Christoudias is a Harvard-trained registered dietitian with nearly 18 years of experience as a nutrition counselor. Having had personal experience with hypothyroidism, she specializes in diet protocols for Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and hypothyroidism and has recently finished her book, Tired of Feeling Tired? She is a strong advocate of the Paleo diet and has recently become an Autoimmune Protocol Certified Coach.
- KIM J, AHN Y, PARK KM, LEE DW, KIM K. Glyco-psudopolyrotaxanes: carbohydrate wheels threaded on a polymer string and their inhibition of bacterial adhesion. Chemistry 2010; 16: 12168- 12173. 15)
- Reid G, Tieszer C. Preferential adhesion of bacteria from a mixed population to a urinary catheter. Cells Materials. 1993;3:171–6.
This article was originally posted in March of 2017 but has been republished in January of 2019 to include updated information.