Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are caused by a bacterial infection, so doctors generally treat them with antibiotics, but is it possible to treat a UTI without antibiotics?
While scientific research supports some home or natural remedies for urinary tract infections, others have been part of traditional medicine systems for thousands of years.
To treat a urinary infection without antibiotics, we can try the following home remedies:
1. Stay hydrated
Drinking water regularly can help treat a urinary infection.
Drinking enough water is one of the easiest ways to help prevent and treat urinary tract infections.
Water helps urinary tract organs remove waste from the body efficiently while retaining vital nutrients and electrolytes.
Being hydrated also dilutes urine and speeds its journey through the system, making it difficult for bacteria to reach the cells that line the urinary organs and cause an infection.
There is no established recommendation on the number of liters they should drink daily, since the water needs of each person are different. However, on average, people should drink at least six to eight glasses of water (2-3 liters) per day.
2. Urinate when the need arises
Frequent urination puts pressure on bacteria in the urinary tract, which can help kill them.
It also reduces the amount of time bacteria in the urine is exposed to cells in the urinary tract, reducing the risk of them sticking to and forming an infection.
Always urinate as soon as possible when the urge comes to help prevent and treat urinary tract infections.
3. Drink cranberry juice
Cranberry juice is one of the best established natural treatments for urinary tract infections. People have also traditionally used it to help clear general infections and speed recovery time.
Studies on the effectiveness of cranberry juice for urinary tract infections have had mixed results. According to one review, cranberry juice contains compounds that can prevent E. coli cells from adhering to cells of the urinary tract.
Cranberry juice also contains antioxidants, including polyphenols, which have antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.
4. Use probiotics
Beneficial bacteria, known as probiotics, can help keep the urinary tract healthy and free of harmful bacteria.
In particular, a group of probiotics called lactobacilli can help treat and prevent urinary tract infections.
Probiotics are produced in a variety of fermented and dairy products, including:
- some types of cheese
5. Take enough vitamin C
Vitamin C is an antioxidant that helps improve the function of the immune system.
Vitamin C also reacts with nitrates in the urine to form nitrogen oxides that can kill bacteria. It can lower the pH of the urine, making the bacteria less likely to survive.
As with cranberry juice, people have been using vitamin C in various ways to treat UTIs for thousands of years. But there is a lack of quality research to confirm whether increased vitamin C intake can prevent or treat urinary tract infections.
6. Wipe from front to back
Many urinary tract infections develop when bacteria from the rectum or feces access the urethra, the small channel that allows urine to leave the body.
Once the bacteria are in the urethra, they can travel to other organs of the urinary tract where they can cause infections.
After urinating, clean in a way that prevents bacteria from coming into contact with the genitals. Use separate pieces of toilet paper to clean the genitals and anus.
7. Practice good sexual hygiene
Sexual intercourse introduces bacteria and other microbes from outside the body into the urinary tract. Practicing good sexual hygiene can help reduce the amount of bacteria that people can transfer during sex and other sexual acts.
Examples of good sexual hygiene include:
- urinate before and immediately after sex
- use barrier contraceptives, such as a condom
- wash the genitals, especially the foreskin, before and after having sex or intercourse.
- wash your genitals or change condoms if you switch from anal to vaginal sex
- ensure sexual partners are aware of any current or previous urinary tract infections
A doctor can help prevent an infection from getting worse. If a person suspects that they might have a urinary infection, they should speak to their doctor for advice on the best way to treat the possible infection. Antibiotics may not always be necessary to treat urinary tract infections, but it is still important to seek medical attention for any infection or suspected infection.