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UTIs are some of the most commonly reported bacterial infections, affecting a wide range of people. Though it occurs in men too, women are more prone to UTI due to a short length of urethra. According to an estimate, about one out of two women and one out of twenty men suffer from UTI infections at least once in their lifetime.

UTIs lead to immense discomfort and unbearable pain with a frequent urge to urinate. Only a person who has gone through it knows the pain of a urinary tract infection.

Usually, it is easy to limit the infection by taking antibiotics but most UTI causing bacteria have now become resistant to antibiotics. So, it is best to take help from alternative medicines or home remedies to limit and eradicate infections of the urinary tract.

  1. Home remedies for UTI
  2. Tips to limit UTI

Home remedies make take some time to show apparent effects but unlike conventional drugs, they have no side effects. In fact, as an added perk, some of these remedies also provide nutritional benefits, leading to an overall improvement in health. Let us discuss some of the evidence-based remedies for UTIs that you can try at home.

  1. Drink plenty of water to get rid of UTI
  2. Urinate frequently to get rid of UTI
  3. Probiotics to get rid of UTI
  4. D mannose to get rid of UTI
  5. Vitamin C to get rid of UTI
  6. Garlic to get rid of UTI
  7. Drink cranberry juice to get rid of UTI

Drink plenty of water to get rid of UTI

The first and foremost thing to consider while suffering from urinary tract infection is to drink plenty of water.

Usually, when people develop a UTI, they tend to decrease their water intake to prevent frequent visits to the washroom and the associated burning sensation in and near the urethral opening every time they pee. However, reducing water intake just gives more room for pathogenic bacteria to proliferate and adhere to the urethral or bladder lining.

If you want to alleviate the symptoms of urinary tract infection as soon as possible, make water your best friend and hydrate yourself as much as you can. Drinking an optimum amount of water, which is approximately 1.5 to 2 litres of water daily, will help in flushing bacteria out of your urinary tract, preventing the condition from worsening.

However, the more you drink water, the faster you will recover.

(Read more: How much water to drink in a day)

Urinate frequently to get rid of UTI

Usually, due to overindulgence in daily life activities, people ignore nature's call on its first indication. Holding urine when your body needs to flush it out does no good for your system. It provides a favourable environment to microorganisms responsible for urinary tract infections. Henceforth, whenever you feel an urge to pee, don't hold the feeling as well as urine back. Make a habit of putting your health and body before anything else; it has been rightly said health is wealth.

In normal conditions, a person should urinate every 3 to 4 hours. Make sure that you drink enough water to follow this rhythm.

Probiotics to get rid of UTI

Probiotics can be a big help for eliminating infections of the urinary tract. These are live bacteria, usually Lactobacillus species, that help restore the normal functioning of your urinary tract.

Lactobacillus, just like E.coli, is a part of normal gut flora; apart from this, it is also a commensal in the vagina and periurethral area.

  • It is believed that Lactobacillus helps in decreasing the number of E.coli multiplying in the urinary tract. Few species of Lactobacillus produce hydrogen peroxide during metabolic processes, which regulates the pH of the local environment and negatively affects the growth of pathogens.
  • Some species of Lactobacillus have immunomodulatory properties. They also prevent the binding of E.coli to the cell lining of the urinary tract.
  • Moreover, probiotic bacteria also destroy the infectious bacterial colonies thereby improving the health status of the individual.

Various studies have been done on the role of Lactobacillus to alleviate UTI infection, most of these suggest that probiotics work well as a prophylactic measure for UTI as well as in limiting active infections. Though they do not work overnight, you should definitely consume probiotics if you want to combat the infection in a natural way.

Just drink 1 or 2 bottles of probiotics daily for a few days during active infection. You can also consume curd, it is a natural and rich source of Lactobacillus

D mannose to get rid of UTI

Well, this might be a new ingredient for some of you. D Mannose is a simple sugar, which is structurally similar to glucose and is excreted through kidneys. Studies demonstrate that it helps in inhibiting bacterial binding with the cell membrane of uroepithelial cells thereby limiting their pathogenesis. Several studies claim D Mannose to be a therapeutic, prophylactic agent for urinary tract infections. It is also effective in cases of recurrent UTIs.

There are many fruits like cranberries, blueberries and peaches which contain D Mannose naturally. It is also available in the form of tablets or supplements. Check in with your doctor to know the right dosage.

If you are a diabetic patient, don’t take D Mannose at all. It might spike your blood glucose levels.

Vitamin C to get rid of UTI

Another easy home based remedy to fight with urinary tract infection is vitamin C or ascorbic acid. It is an essential water-soluble vitamin, which is not produced by the body, so you have to meet its daily requirement by eating fruits or vegetables.

When present in proper amounts in the body, this vitamin has several benefits:

  • It is a potent antioxidant and protects the body from toxins released during various metabolic processes
  • Studies suggest that vitamin C has a bacteriostatic effect on urine. It stops the progression of bacterial growth in urine by decreasing the conversion of urinary nitrites to reactive nitrogen oxides rather than lowering the ph of urine.

A number of studies indicate the role of vitamin C in reducing UTI. Along with its therapeutic use, vitamin C is also used as a prophylactic food or supplement for UTI, especially during pregnancy.

Though citrus fruits and some vegetables like broccoli, pineapple, gooseberry and cauliflower contain ample amounts of vitamin C, you can also take it in the form of supplements.

What you will need?

  • 100 mg of ascorbic acid tablet

Procedure:

  • Take the tablet once or twice a day with water
  • You can also suck on the tablet if it is a flavoured one
  • If you take iron supplements, take vitamin C with it, ascorbic acid helps in absorption of iron from the stomach

Garlic to get rid of UTI

Garlic is not just a pungent smelling spice, it has enormous health benefits too. This could be a reason for including garlic in various recipes. It possesses antimicrobial, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory as well as immunomodulatory properties that help prevent most infections and aid in providing relief from the discomforting symptoms of UTIs.

A bioactive compound named allicin is the main attributing factor for all the therapeutic effects of this herb. Being an antimicrobial agent it helps in reducing E.coli load in your system.

Apart from this, garlic also exhibits a synergistic effect with few antibiotics like streptomycin and ciprofloxacin and stop E.coli strains from developing resistance against these antibiotics. This is an incredible property that could be helpful in reducing the recurrence of UTIs.

If you are someone who has got an infection from streptomycin resistant E.coli or Staphylococcus aureus, garlic still can be your rescue, as per a study published.

The best way to use garlic for UTI is to consume loads of it. Add a generous amount of garlic to your meals or just swallow a garlic clove or two every day with lukewarm water.

Drink cranberry juice to get rid of UTI

Cranberry is a fruit native to North America, however, available worldwide nowadays. It is widely used as complementary medicine to control urinary tract infection.

It contains 88% of water apart from several bioactive compounds including anthocyanidins, proanthocyanidins and tannins which act as natural plant defence systems against microbial growth.

Studies suggest that this juice helps break down the bonds between bacterial cells and the cell lining of your urinary tract, making it easier to be flushed out of your system. Furthermore, it has also been found to have a modifying effect on E.coli structure (bacteria responsible for causing UTI), thereby reducing its infectivity. All you have to do is consume this juice daily and you are good to go.

What you'll need?

  • 2 handful of cranberries

Procedure:

  • Put cranberries in a blender with a little amount of water and make a paste out of it.
  • Put the concentrated juice in a big jar
  • Add three times water to that of cranberry paste to make a juice
  • Drink 300 to 400ml of this diluted preparation daily until you notice an improvement in symptoms
  • If you suffer from recurrent UTI, drink 250 ml of cranberries juice daily

Tips:

  • Consumption of cranberries juice in a large amount or drinking concentrated juice might upset your stomach.
  • Drinking cranberries juice for a long period of time might precipitate kidney stones.
  • Cranberries juice affect the activity of warfarin (a blood thinner drug).
  • Pure cranberries juice is highly acidic (ph<2.5) in nature and cannot be consumed even with sugars. But effectivity of cranberry is dose-dependent. Keep this contradictory fact in mind before you choose to use it as a remedy for UTI.

Home remedies will help in getting rid of pathogenic microorganisms from the system and flushing it out of the body. However, there are certain habits that may be effective in preventing the infection from exacerbating.

  • Always wipe your genital area front to back. This will prevent the spread of bacteria from the anal region to the urethral region.
  • Maintain genital hygiene.
  • Encourage yourself to pee after having sex. Doing this will flush away microorganisms which might have entered the urethra during intercourse.
  • Wear loose-fitting clothes and undergarments to maintain normal airflow to the genital area. It will keep the area dry rather than locking moisture, making it difficult for harmful pathogens to proliferate. Nylon underwear should be avoided as it does not let your genital area dry easily.
  • Don't douche or use sprays and washes even those that are specially made for maintaining feminine hygiene.
  • Avoid consumption of alcohol or caffeine. They might irritate the urogenital tract.
  • Use sanitary pads instead of tampons. Tampons may increase the risk of UTI. Always change sanitary pads after 3 to 4 hours or whenever you use the washroom.
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References

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  2. National Association for Continence [Internet] 5 home remedies for UTI
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  4. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health [Internet] Bethesda, Maryland; Cranberry
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  15. Betsy Foxman. Miatta Buxton. Alternative Approaches to Conventional Treatment of Acute Uncomplicated Urinary Tract Infection in Women. Curr Infect Dis Rep. 2013 Apr; 15(2): 124–129. PMID: 23378124
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