8 Natural treatments for urinary tract infections.
By Divina Ramirez
A urinary tract infection (UTI) is one of the most common bladder infections. Most UTIs are caused by bacteria getting into the urinary tract, causing inflammation and pain when urinating. Conventional treatments for UTIs include antibiotics, which are known to cause both acute and long-term adverse side effects.
Fortunately, there are many natural ways to treat a UTI, from simply drinking more water to wearing loose and comfortable clothes. Try the following remedies to relieve painful UTI symptoms and help your immune system fight off the infection.
1. Drink cranberry juice
Drinking cranberry juice is one of the most popular natural remedies for UTIs. Cranberries work by preventing Escherichia coli (E. coli) from sticking to the urinary tract, according to a study published in the journal Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy.
Natural health practitioners recommend drinking 12 ounces a day of cranberry juice to prevent UTIs. However, keep in mind that this benefit only applies to pure, unsweetened cranberry juice. Avoid sweetened versions.
2. Increase vitamin C intake
Increasing your intake of vitamin C can help lower your risk of developing a UTI since vitamin C helps enhance immunity. According to a 2013 study published in Reviews in Urology, vitamin C also prevents a UTI by acidifying the urine. During this process, bacterial nitrites are converted into bacteria-killing nitric oxide.
Natural health practitioners recommend taking 1,000 milligrams (mg) to 2,000 mg of vitamin C per day. Foods high in vitamin C include citrus fruits, peppers, strawberries, broccoli and Brussels sprouts.
3. Eat more foods with probiotics
Live, beneficial microorganisms known as probiotics promote optimal urinary tract health. They help prevent a UTI in many ways, including preventing bacteria from adhering to the urinary tract and competing with pathogenic bacteria for resources.
For optimal protection against UTI, your probiotic blend should contain Lactobacillus bacteria. Clinical studies have shown that these bacteria can prevent UTIs just as effectively as conventional antibiotics. If you’re supplementing with probiotics, make sure your probiotic blend contains at least 10 to 20 billion colony-forming units (CFUs).
4. Drink hibiscus tea
Hibiscus is a genus of flowering plants known for their bright red and pink blossoms. The flowers and leaves of these plants contain potent compounds with antioxidant and antibacterial properties, such as gossypetin.
In addition, hibiscus extract has a diuretic effect. This means it promotes the removal of excess water, salts and other accumulated metabolic products through the urine.
For UTI prevention, drink hibiscus tea. Hibiscus extracts are also available as tablets and capsules.
5. Take pumpkin seed extract
Taking pumpkin seed extract may help prevent a UTI thanks to its beneficial fatty acids, which have anti-inflammatory properties. The healthy fats in pumpkin seed extract also support healthy bladder function. (Related: Pumpkin seeds found to lower blood sugar levels.)
Natural health practitioners recommend taking 500 mg of pumpkin seed oil extract per day to avoid UTIs. You can also incorporate pumpkin seeds into your diet for better protection against UTIs.
6. Don’t hold in urine
Holding in urine or ignoring the urge to urinate can allow harmful bacteria to multiply in your urinary tract. As a rule of thumb, always use the bathroom when you feel the urge to urinate. It’s ideal to be urinating at least once every two to three hours each day to ensure the proper removal of excess water and other waste products.
7. Drink water
Although urinating can be painful when you have a UTI, it is still important to drink as much water as possible. The more water you drink, the more frequently you’ll urinate. Urinating helps flush harmful bacteria from your urinary tract.
8. Wear comfortable clothes
If you’re dealing with a UTI, avoid wearing tight underwear. Opt for comfortable and breathable ones. Wearing comfortable underwear can also lower your risk of developing a UTI.
Learn more about avoiding UTIs and other infections at Prevention.news.