Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are common, especially in women. They occur when bacteria from the large intestine travel to the bladder or kidneys. Symptoms include pain and tenderness in the pelvic area, frequent urination, pain or burning sensations during urination, and cloudy urine. Some people feel tired or develop a fever, especially if the infection has progressed to the kidneys. A physician can help diagnose a UTI and its severity, and will typically prescribe a course of antibiotics. However, many home remedies may help ease the pain and other symptoms of a urinary tract infection.
Urinary tract infections can be painful and unpleasant, but vitamin C may help to relieve symptoms and reduce the chances of recurrence. Vitamin C causes the urine to become more acidic, which makes it a less hospitable environment for bacteria. Because of this, physicians may recommend patients with UTIs take vitamin C supplements or eat more foods containing this important nutrient. There's still a lack of solid research showing the effectiveness of vitamin C for urinary tract infections, but adding more vitamin C to your diet is unlikely to be harmful and may be helpful. It is best to talk to a physician first.
Drinking more water is one way to speed up recovery from a urinary tract infection. A physician will likely instruct a patient do this in addition to taking prescribed antibiotics. Drinking water increases urination, which flushes out harmful bacteria. Drinking water may also reduce pain during urination because it dilutes the urine. Regardless of other remedies, increasing water intake is a vital step in curing a UTI.
Often, having a urinary tract infection makes a person need to urinate more often, both due to the infection and increased water intake. It is important to follow the body's urges, as this will help rid the body of the bacteria causing the infection. Even if each trip to the bathroom results in only a small amount of urine, this step is still beneficial.
One common cause of urinary tract infections is wearing tight-fitting, synthetic clothing. People who wear tight jeans, leggings, or underwear made of synthetic material may want to consider a change. Take showers each day, and make sure to change clothes daily to reduce the build-up of sweat and bacteria. Tight-fitting clothes are especially problematic since they leave little room for the skin to breathe. If tight clothing is unavoidable during the day, people should try to wear loose, cotton clothing in the evenings and at night. Cotton is a much more breathable fabric and will allow UTIs to resolve more easily.
Drinking cranberry juice has long been one of the most popular remedies for UTIs. Experts debate the effectiveness of this home remedy, but research shows the active ingredients in cranberries may modestly reduce the attachment of infection-causing bacteria to the bladder wall. However, benefits probably require a lot of juice, and many brands contain too much sugar and water to be worthwhile. Cranberry capsules may also help, as they offer a concentrated amount of the active ingredient. It is important to note that while cranberry juice could be a factor in preventing or reducing the severity of a UTI, it is unlikely to cure an already established infection.
Another popular home remedy for urinary tract infections is parsley tea. This tea is sold in stores, but it can also be made from fresh ingredients at home. To make parsley tea on your own, boil water and add one teaspoon of minced parsley for each cup of water. It will need to steep for 15-20 minutes before being strained. Although drinking parsley tea is soothing and is unlikely to be harmful, there are no good studies demonstrating its effectiveness. If you enjoy the taste, drink it, but don't use it as a substitute for antibiotic therapy. Get evaluated by a physician and follow their recommendations.
UTIs can be a painful experience, especially when they are severe. Regardless of whether you self-medicate or seek out antibiotics, a heating pad can provide at-home relief from pressure and tenderness in the pelvic region. Heating pads are usually inexpensive and are a great source of relief. Choose a heating pad that has a protective sleeve to prevent burns. While sitting or lying down, use the heating pad on the abdomen and pelvic area in increments of 20-30 minutes to reduce the pelvic discomfort caused by UTI.
To ensure effective treatment, reduce irritants that may worsen UTI symptoms. Two of the most common bladder irritants are caffeine and alcohol. People with urinary tract infections should avoid alcoholic beverages, coffee, soft drinks, and other sources of caffeine and opt for water instead. If total avoidance isn't possible, limit intake to one serving per day.
Urinary tract infections can cause pain and inflammation in the lower abdomen and pelvic region. Over-the-counter anti-inflammatories like naproxen or ibuprofen can help relieve these symptoms. A pharmacist can answer questions about how OTCs will interact with antibiotics or other medications. Persistent UTIs call for a doctor visit, since taking NSAIDs for too long can result in kidney damage, heart attack, or stroke. However, these medications will help to temporarily reduce pain and tenderness.
Yogurt contains probiotics, good bacteria that help balance out the bad bacteria in your body. Yogurts contain varying amounts of probiotics. Some brands have added probiotics that may provide greater quantities of these beneficial organisms, although quality varies. It's best to avoid yogurt with lots of added sugar. Increasing the number of natural probiotics can help to regulate bacteria levels, and may reduce infection, although more research is needed to support this. However, in the case of severe UTIs, probiotics are no substitute for doctor-prescribed antibiotics.
More than a UTI? Anonymous STD testing now available
STDcheck.com offers fast, private & affordable STD testing at over Over 4,500 testing centers nationwide. All tests are FDA-Approved and 100% confidential.Find a Test Center
This site offers information designed for educational purposes only. You should not rely on any information on this site as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, or as a substitute for, professional counseling care, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other healthcare professional.