7 ways to treat urinary tract infection without antibiotics

 

Because urinary tract infections (UTIs) are caused by bacterial infection, doctors usually treat them with antibiotics — but can a UTI be treated without antibiotics?

In the United States, urinary tract infections (UTIs) are among the most common bacterial infections. They are especially common in women, with approximately half of all women having one at some point in their lives. UTIs are also known to reoccur.

People are increasingly curious about whether non-antibiotic treatments can cure UTIs. This possibility is discussed in this article, along with seven evidence-based home remedies for UTI treatment.

Is it possible to treat a UTI without using antibiotics?

Cranberry juice is a well-known home remedy for minor UTIs.

Antibiotics are an effective treatment for urinary tract infections. However, minor, uncomplicated UTIs can often be resolved without the use of antibiotics.

According to some estimates, 25–42% of uncomplicated UTI infections resolve on their own. In these cases, people can try a variety of home remedies to help them recover faster.

Complicated UTIs will necessitate medical attention. One or more of the following factors are involved in these UTIs:

  1. Urinary tract or organ changes, such as a swollen prostate or decreased urine flow
  2. Bacterial strains that are resistant to antibiotics
  3. HIV, cardiac disease, and lupus are examples of immune-related conditions.

The Benefits of Antibiotics for UTIs

Antibiotics are the most commonly used treatment for urinary tract infections because they kill the bacteria that cause the infections. The majority of UTIs occur when bacteria from outside the body enter the urinary tract. The following bacteria are most likely to be the cause of UTIs:

  1. Escherichia coli species, which account for up to 90% of all bladder infections
  2. Staphylococcus aureus and Staphylococcus epidermidis
  3. Klebsiella pneumonia

The dangers of antibiotics for urinary tract infections

While antibiotics can usually treat UTIs quickly and effectively, some people are allergic to them, and their use carries some risks.

For example, an estimated 22% of women undergoing treatment for uncomplicated UTIs develop a vaginal Candida infection, a type of fungal infection.

Other adverse effects of antibiotics used to treat UTIs include:

  1. Vomiting and nausea
  2. Diarrhea
  3. A pimple
  4. A migraine
  5. Liver function tests those are abnormal

The following are the more serious risks of using antibiotics:

Developing more strong bacterial strains

Some bacteria strains have developed resistance to traditional antibiotics over time. Several E. coli species are becoming increasingly resistant to antibiotics, and these are the primary cause of UTIs.

Every time an antibiotic is used, there is a greater chance that bacteria will develop resistance to it. This is even more likely when people do not complete the entire course of treatment as prescribed by the doctor.

As a result, doctors are attempting to reduce the use of antibiotics, particularly when alternative treatments may be effective or illnesses can resolve on their own.

 It is critical to complete an antibiotic course until the end date specified by the doctor. Antibiotics should never be shared with others.

Good bacteria are being destroyed.

Bacteria, viruses, and fungi coexist in the body and aid in bodily functions. Some of these bacteria may be destroyed by antibiotics, increasing the likelihood of other infections occurring.

7 non-antibiotic methods for treating urinary tract infections

While scientific evidence backs up some at-home or natural UTI remedies, others have been used in traditional medicine systems for thousands of years.

People can try the following home remedies to treat a UTI without using antibiotics:

1. Stay hydrated


Regular water consumption may aid in the treatment of a UTI.

Drinking plenty of water is one of the simplest ways to help prevent and treat UTIs.

Water assists the urinary tract organs in efficiently removing waste from the body while retaining vital nutrients and electrolytes.

Being hydrated also dilutes the urine and speeds its passage through the system, making it more difficult for bacteria to reach the cells that line the urinary organs and cause an infection.

Because everyone's water needs differ, there is no one-size-fits-all recommendation for how much people should drink on a daily basis. On average, people should drink six to eight 8-ounce (oz) glasses of water per day.

2. Urinate as needed

Frequent urination puts pressure on bacteria in the urinary tract, which can aid in their elimination.

It also reduces the number of times bacteria in the urine are exposed to cells in the urinary tract, lowering the risk of them attaching and forming an infection.

Urinate as soon as you feel the urge to help prevent and treat UTIs.

3. Drink cranberry juice

Cranberry juice is one of the most well-known natural treatments for UTIs. People have traditionally used it to help clear general infections and speed up wound recovery time.

Studies on the effectiveness of cranberry juice for UTIs have yielded conflicting results. According to one review, cranberry juice contains compounds that may prevent E. coli cells from attaching to cells in the urinary tract.

Cranberry juice also contains antioxidants, such as polyphenols, which are antibacterial and anti-inflammatory.

There is no set amount of cranberry juice to drink to treat a UTI, but a common recommendation is to consume 400 milliliters (mL) of at least 25% cranberry juice every day to prevent or treat UTIs.

4. Make use of probiotics   

Probiotics, or beneficial bacteria, can help keep the urinary tract healthy and free of harmful bacteria.

Lactobacilli, a type of probiotic, in particular, may aid in the treatment and prevention of UTIs. They could accomplish this by:

  1. Preventing pathogenic bacteria from adhering to urinary tract cells
  2. Generating hydrogen peroxide in urine, which has a strong antibacterial effect
  3. People who take lactobacillus supplements while on antibiotics for urinary tract infections may develop less antibiotic resistance than those who do not.

Probiotics can be found in a wide range of fermented and dairy products, including:

  1. Yogurts
  2. Kefir
  3.  Cheese
  4. Sauerkraut

Probiotic supplements, which are usually in the form of a capsule or a powder that is mixed into water or other beverages, are also available.

Lowering the pH of the urine, making conditions less favorable for bacteria

5. Get enough vitamin C     

Vitamin C is an antioxidant that aids in immune system function.

Vitamin C also reacts with nitrates in urine to form nitrogen oxides, which can kill bacteria. It can reduce the pH of urine, making bacteria less likely to survive.

For thousands of years, people have used vitamin C in various forms to treat UTIs, similar to how cranberry juice is used. However, there is a lack of high-quality research to confirm whether or not increasing vitamin C intake can prevent or treat UTIs.

According to the limited research, taking other supplements in addition to vitamin C may increase its benefits.

In a 2016 study, 38 women with recurrent UTIs were given vitamin C, probiotics, and cranberries three times per day for 20 days, then stopped for 10 days. This cycle was repeated for three months. The researchers came to the conclusion that this could be a safe and effective treatment method for UTIs.

Women should get at least 75 mg of vitamin C per day, while men should get around 90 mg per day, according to the National Institutes of Health. Adults who smoke should take an extra 35 mg of vitamin D per day.

6. Wipe the surface from front to back.

Many UTIs occur when bacteria from the rectum or feces gain access to the urethra, the small channel through which urine exits the body.

Once bacteria enter the urethra, they can spread to other urinary tract organs and cause infections.

After urinating, wipe in such a way that bacteria do not come into contact with the genitals. Wipe the genitals and anus with separate pieces of toilet paper.

7. Maintain proper sexual hygiene.

The sexual activity introduces bacteria and other microbes from the outside world into the urinary tract. Good sexual hygiene can help to reduce the number of bacteria transferred during intercourse and other sexual acts.

Here are some examples of good sexual hygiene:

  1. Urinating both before and after sex
  2. Using a condom as a barrier contraception
  3. Before and after, wash the genitals, especially the foreskin.
  4. Taking part in sexual acts or intercourse
  5. If switching from anal to vaginal sex, wash the genitals or change condoms.
  6. Ensuring that any current or previous UTIs are communicated to sexual partners

Researchers are currently working on vaccines that would prevent many types of bacteria from properly attaching to body cells.

They are also working on developing other UTI vaccines that prevent bacteria from growing and infecting people. Only one type of UTI vaccine has progressed to preliminary human trials to date. Animals and tissue samples are still being used in research on the rest.

When should you see a doctor?


A doctor can assist in preventing an infection from worsening.

If a person suspects they may have a UTI, they should consult their doctor for advice on how to treat the infection.

Although antibiotics are not always required to treat UTIs, it is still critical to seek medical attention for any infection or suspected infection. This reduces the possibility of a more serious infection developing that is more difficult to treat.

UTIs have the following signs and symptoms:

  1. Increased urination frequency and urgency
  2. When urinating, you may experience pain or a burning sensation.
  3. Low-grade fevers (less than 101°F)
  4. Pressure or cramping in the lower abdomen and groin area
  5. Urine's odor or color may change.
  6. Urine that is cloudy, murky, or bloody


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Viewpoint

Most people, especially women, will develop a UTI at some point in their lives.

Many UTIs resolve on their own or with the help of primary care. Researchers are increasingly looking for ways to treat and prevent urinary tract infections (UTIs) without the use of antibiotics.

Several age-old home remedies may aid in the prevention and treatment of UTIs.

People who suspect they have a UTI should always consult a doctor before attempting to treat the infection on their own.


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