Identifying the best ways to treat a UTI without antibiotics is becoming much more popular among suffers looking for long-term solutions and minimal discomfort.
UTIs can be painful and embarrassing. You might feel like there’s no way to treat them without antibiotics, but you don’t have to suffer.
The problem with UTIs is that they’re hard to get rid of on your own. Antibiotics may help, but they also increase your risk for other infections and even cancer in the long run.
They also kill all bacteria in your body, including the good ones that help keep you healthy.
Normal route to treating UTIs
Because urinary tract infections (UTIs) are caused by bacterial infections, doctors normally prescribe antibiotics to cure them. But is it possible to treat a UTI without them?
50 percent of women in both the US and the UK will experience a UTI within their lifetime. And for some women, will suffer from numerous bouts too.
People are increasingly curious about whether non-antibiotic treatments can help them get rid of UTIs. This idea is explored here, along with seven evidence-based home treatments for treating UTIs.
Can you treat a UTI without antibiotics?
Antibiotics are an effective treatment for urinary tract infections (UTIs). Minor, uncomplicated UTIs, on the other hand, can typically be resolved without the use of antibiotics.
According to some estimates, 25–42% of uncomplicated UTI infections clear on their own. People might use a variety of home remedies to help them heal faster in these situations.
UTIs that are more complicated will require medical attention. One or more of the following factors contribute to UTIs:
- alterations to the urinary tract or organs, such as an enlarged prostate or decreased urine flow
- antibiotic-resistant bacteria are microorganisms that are resistant to antibiotics
- HIV, heart illness, and lupus are examples of immune system disorders
Benefits of antibiotics for UTIs
Antibiotics are the most common treatment for urinary tract infections because they destroy the germs that cause them.
The majority of UTIs occur when germs from outside the body enter the urinary tract. The following bacteria species are most likely to cause UTIs:
- Escherichia coli is a type of bacteria that can cause up to 90% of all bladder infections
- Staphylococcus epidermidis and Staphylococcus aureus are bacteria that cause skin infections
- Klebsiella pneumoniae is a bacteria that causes pneumonia
Risks of antibiotics for UTIs
Antibiotics may usually treat UTIs quickly and successfully, but they might cause allergic reactions in certain people, and their use can be dangerous.
For example, an estimated 22% of women who receive therapy for simple UTIs develop a vaginal Candida infection, which is a form of fungal infection.
Antibiotics have a number of other negative effects when used to treat UTIs, including:
- vomiting and nausea
- an outburst
- a throbbing headache
- liver function tests that are abnormal
The following are some of the most serious side effects of taking antibiotics:
Creating stronger strains of bacteria
Traditional antibiotics have developed resistance to various bacterium species over time. Several E. coli species are demonstrating an increase in antibiotic resistance, and these are the most common cause of UTIs.
Each time someone uses an antibiotic, there is a greater chance that bacteria will evolve resistance to it. This is especially likely when patients do not complete the entire course of treatment as suggested by the doctor.
As a result, doctors are attempting to decrease the use of antibiotics, particularly when other treatments are available or when infections may be treated without the use of antibiotics.
It is critical to finish an antibiotic course according to the doctor’s instructions. Antibiotics should never be shared with others.
Damaging good bacteria
The human body is home to a population of bacteria, viruses, and fungus that coexist and aid in basic activities. Antibiotics may kill some of these germs, increasing the risk of infection from other sources.
Seven methods for treating UTI without antibiotics
While some at-home or natural UTI therapies have been supported by scientific studies, others have been used in traditional health systems for thousands of years.
These seven natural remedies will reduce pain and inflammation while helping kill infection-causing bacteria naturally so you can avoid taking harmful drugs or antibiotics.
Here we have listed the seven natural remedies to treat a UTI without antibiotics:
1. Stay hydrated
One of the simplest methods to help prevent and treat UTIs is to drink plenty of water.
Water aids in the efficient removal of waste from the body while keeping critical minerals and electrolytes.
Being hydrated also dilutes the urine and speeds its passage through the system, making it more difficult for germs to infect the cells that line the urinary organs.
Because everyone’s water demands are varied, there is no fixed suggestion for how much water people should drink on a daily basis. People should drink at least six to eight 8-ounce (oz) glasses of water per day on average.
2. Drink cranberry juice.
One of the most well-known natural therapies for UTIs is cranberry juice. It has also been used in the past to help eliminate general infections and hasten wound healing.
The results of studies on the usefulness of cranberry juice for UTIs have been inconsistent. Cranberry juice has chemicals that may prevent E. coli cells from attaching to cells in the urinary tract, according to one review.
Antioxidants, such as polyphenols, found in cranberry juice have antibacterial and anti-inflammatory activities.
There is no specific amount of cranberry juice to consume to treat a UTI, but to prevent or treat UTIs, a typical recommendation is to drink 400 milliliters (mL) of at least 25% cranberry juice per day.
3. Take probiotics
Probiotics, or beneficial bacteria, can help maintain the urinary system healthy and free of dangerous germs.
Lactobacilli, in particular, are a type of probiotic that may aid in the treatment and prevention of urinary tract infections. They could do so by:
- stopping dangerous bacteria from adhering to cells in the urinary system
- pee produces hydrogen peroxide, a powerful antibacterial agent
- reducing the pH of the urine, making the environment less hospitable to bacteria
When taking antibiotics for UTIs, those who take lactobacillus supplements may acquire less antibiotic resistance than those who do not.
Probiotics can be found in a wide range of fermented and dairy foods, including:
- cheeses of various kinds
Probiotic supplements are available in the form of a capsule or a powder that can be mixed into water or other beverages.
4. Consume plenty of vitamin C
Vitamin C is an antioxidant that aids in the proper functioning of the immune system.
Vitamin C also forms nitrogen oxides when it combines with nitrates in the urine. These nitrogen oxides can destroy bacteria. It can reduce the pH of urine, making germs less likely to survive.
Vitamin C has been used to treat UTIs in various forms for thousands of years, just as cranberry juice. However, there isn’t enough evidence to say whether or not increasing vitamin C intake can prevent or treat UTIs.
According to the limited studies, taking other supplements in addition to vitamin C may help you get the most out of it.
In a 2016 study, 38 women with recurrent UTIs were given vitamin C, probiotics, and cranberries three times per day for 20 days before stopping for ten days.
This cycle was repeated for three months. The researchers came to the conclusion that this could be a safe and effective way to treat UTIs.
Women over the age of 19 should get at least 75 mg of vitamin C per day, while men should get roughly 90 mg per day, according to the National Institutes of Health.
Adults who smoke should take an extra 35 milligrams of vitamin D each day.
5. Urinate only when necessary.
Urination on a regular basis puts pressure on germs in the urinary system, which can aid in their removal.
It also cuts down on the number of times bacteria in the urine spend in contact with cells in the urinary system, lowering the risk of infection.
To help prevent and treat UTIs, urinate as quickly as possible when the urge strikes.
6. Wipe the entire surface from front to back.
Many UTIs are caused by bacteria from the rectum or feces getting into the urethra, the narrow tube that allows urine to exit the body.
Once bacteria have entered the urethra, they can spread to other urinary tract organs, causing infections.
After urinating, wipe your genitals in such a way that germs do not come into contact with them. Wipe the genitals and anus with separate sheets of toilet paper.
7. Maintain proper sexual hygiene.
Bacteria and other organisms from outside the body are introduced to the urinary tract during sexual activity.
The number of microorganisms that people can transfer during intercourse and other sexual acts can be reduced by practicing proper sexual hygiene.
Here are some examples of healthy sexual hygiene:
- urinating before and after a sexual encounter
- using a condom as a barrier contraceptive
- before and after sexual acts or intercourse, wash the genitals, especially the foreskin.
- if switching from anal to vaginal sex, cleanse the genitals or change condoms.
- ensuring that any present or previous UTIs are disclosed to sexual partners
Researchers are currently working on vaccines that will prevent several types of bacteria from correctly attaching to bodily cells.
Researchers are also working on developing additional UTI vaccinations that stop germs from growing and infecting people.
Only one form of UTI vaccination has made it to preliminary human testing thus far. Animals and tissue samples are still being used in the rest of the research.
When to see a doctor
Don’t overlook the need to speak with your doctor in order to acquire more choices in treating your UTI.
If a person suspects that they might have a UTI, 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 UTIs, but it is still important to seek medical attention for any infection or suspected infection. This will reduce the risk of a more severe infection developing that is harder to treat.
The signs and symptoms of UTIs include:
- increased frequency and urgency of urination
- pain or burning when urinating
- low-grade fevers (below 101°F)
- pressure or cramping in the area around the lower abdomen and groin
- change in the smell or color of urine
- cloudy, murky, or bloody urine
The majority of people, especially women, will acquire a UTI at some point in their lives.
Many UTIs are self-resolving or can be treated with general care. Researchers are increasingly investigating for non-antibiotic approaches to treat and prevent urinary tract infections.
Several long-standing at-home remedies may aid in the prevention and treatment of urinary tract infections.
Before attempting to cure a UTI on their own, anyone who suspects they have one should always consult a doctor.
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