The urinary system removes a type of waste called urea from your blood. … Urea, together with water and other waste substances, forms the urine as it passes through the nephrons and down the renal tubules of the kidney. From the kidneys, urine travels down two thin tubes called ureters to the bladder where it is then excreted thru the urethra and out of the body.
The urinary system is susceptible to a variety of infections and other problems, including blockages and injuries. These can be treated by a urologist or another health care professional who specializes in the renal system.
Urinary tract infections (UTIs) occur when bacteria enter the urinary tract; they can affect the urethra, bladder or even the kidneys. While UTIs are more common in women, they can occur in men. UTIs are typically treated with antibiotics, according to Dr. Oscar Aguirre, a urogynecologist in Denver. In the United States, about 8.1 million people have a urinary tract infection each year, according to the American Urological Association.
So, what does a kidney infection feel like?
Generally, symptoms of a UTI in adults may include:
12 Home Remedies to Treat UTI
1. Drink Plenty of Fluids
Drinking water or fluids throughout the day helps flush bacteria from your system. A 2013 study conducted at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas found that chronic low fluid intake may be an important factor in the pathogenesis of urinary tract infections
2. Urinate Often
Urinating often and when the urge arises ensures that bacteria isn’t growing in urine that stays in the bladder. It’s also important to urinate soon after sexual intercourse in order to flush out bacteria that may have entered the urethra. Studies have found that holding urine for a long time allows bacterial to multiply within the urinary tract, resulting in a urinary tract infection.
3. Stay Clean and Dry
Women should wipe from front to back, especially after a bowel movement. This ensures that bacteria doesn’t get into the urethra. It’s also important to wear loose-fitting clothes and underwear, which allows air to keep the urethra dry. Wearing tight jeans or material like nylon can be problematic because moisture can be trapped, allowing bacteria to grow.
4. Avoid Using Spermicides
Spermicides can increase irritation and allow bacteria to grow. Using unlubricated condoms can also cause irritation, so choose lubricated condoms that don’t contain spermicides.
Because of the development of bacterial resistance, one of the most promising home remedies for UTI, especially recurring UTIs, is probiotics. Research published in the Indian Journal of Urology explains that benign bacterial flora is crucial for preventing the overgrowth of microorganisms that lead to illness. The use of antibiotics destroys beneficial bacterial flora, and pathogenic bacteria are selectively enabled to overgrow on internal and external surfaces.
Probiotics help support the human body’s normal flora that serve as a line of defense. Eating fermented foods also helps restore the body’s natural flora and recolonize the bladder with helpful bacteria. Some of the healthiest fermented foods include kefir, kimchi, probiotic yogurt, raw cheese, sauerkraut and kombucha.
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Some studies suggest that cranberry juice may decrease the number of UTIs a person develops over a 12-month period, particularly for women with recurrent UTIs. (5) Although there’s limited or mixed evidence concerning cranberry’s ability to manage UTI symptoms, there is evidence that cranberries can be used as a preventive strategy. Animal studies show that cranberry products appear to work by inhibiting the growth and colonization of bacteria that cause infection, including E. coli, the most common bacteria seen in urinary tract infections. (6)
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D-mannose is a kind of sugar that’s related to glucose. It’s on this list of home remedies for UTI because it can prevent certain bacteria from sticking to the walls of the urinary tract.
A 2014 study published in the World Journal of Urology tested whether D-mannose powder is effective for recurrent urinary tract infection prevention. In the study, 308 women with a history of recurrent UTIs were divided into three groups: one that received D-mannose power in water for six months, the second received nitrofurantoin (an antibiotic) daily and the third did not receive treatment. Overall, 98 patients had recurrent UTIs: 15 in the D-mannose group, 21 in the nitrofurantoin group and 62 in the group that received no treatment. D-mannose powder significantly reduced the risk of recurrent UTIs, and patients in the D-mannose group had a significantly lower risk of side effects compared to patients in the nitrofurantoin group. (8)
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Allicin, one of the active principles of freshly crushed raw garlic, has a variety of antimicrobial activities. In its pure form, allicin has been found to exhibit antibacterial activity against a wide range of bacteria, including multi-drug-resistant strains of E. coli. Garlic also has antifungal properties, particularly against candida albicans, which causes yeast infections. (7)
9. Vitamin C
Vitamin C makes urine more acidic, inhibits the growth of E. coli and enhances immune function. A 2007 study evaluated the role that daily intake of 100 milligrams of vitamin C plays in urinary infection treatment during pregnancy. Researchers found that vitamin C treatment for a three-month period was able to reduce urinary infections, improving the health level of the gestating women. (9)
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10. Clove Oil
Research published in Phytotherapy Research indicates that clove oil has antimicrobial, anti fungal and antiviral activity. Another clove oil benefit is that it possesses anti-inflammatory properties, and it’s used to relieve pain and promote healing. (10) Clove can be taken internally for two weeks at a time, but I recommend that you do it under the care of a health care provider or nutritionist.
11. Myrrh Oil
Several human and animal studies show that myrrh oil has antibacterial, anti fungal and anti parasitic properties. Historically, it’s been used to treat wounds and prevent infections. (11) It can be applied topically with a warm or cool compress or rubbed into the skin. Use caution when using myrrh internally; make sure to use a pure, high-quality product and do it under the care of your health care provider.
12. Oregano Oil
A 2012 study evaluated the antibacterial activity of oregano oil. Researchers found that oregano was active against all the clinical strains of bacteria that were tested, and it successfully inhibited the growth of E. coli, the bacteria most commonly seen in UTIs.
Researchers believe that oregano essential oil can be used as an alternative antibacterial remedy for enhancing the healing process in bacterial infections and it’s an effective means for the prevention of antibiotic-resistant strain development. In fact, oregano oil benefits may be superior to prescription antibiotics because oregano doesn’t cause antibiotic resistance and it has no harmful side effects. (12)
When taking oregano oil internally, mix it with water or coconut oil. I don’t recommend taking oregano oil for more than two weeks at a time, and it should be administered under the guidance of your health care provider.
There are several risk factors that increase the likelihood of developing urinary tract infections. These risk factors and high-risk groups include:
Although these home remedies for UTIs have been studied and proven to be effective, it’s important to use these natural treatments with the guidance of a health care provider. Uncomplicated UTIs should be treated within two to three days. If the symptoms do not subside within that time period, see your health care provider to be sure there aren’t complications.
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