If you are a woman, particularly a sexually active woman, you have all the chances to catch urinary tract infection- more than anyone else. It’s not that men do not get urinary tract infection but women are the highest risk group for this particular infection. And why? Bacteria like E. coli usually live in the bowel and pass into the urethra (the duct through which urine is passed out of the body) causing UTI. In women, the urethra is smaller and closer to the anus from where the bacteria can travel to urethra more easily and cause infection. Some other conditions like diabetes, bowel incontinence, kidney stones, immobility, reduced intake of fluids, as well as pregnancy may be the causes of urinary tract infection. During intercourse, if proper cleanliness is not maintained by the partners, germs may easily find a way into the urinary tract. For this reason, only, UTI is also referred to as ‘honeymoon cystitis’.
Are Home Remedies Sufficient to Treat Urinary Tract Infection?
When the bacteria, virus, germs etc. have already caught hold of your urinary tract and are thriving there, you cannot, in fact, rely purely on home remedies. Home remedies are effective only when you catch the symptoms early, just when infection is about to happen. At that time, if you are able to prevent the bacteria from spreading and multiplying, you may avoid visiting a physician. However, any urinary infection that is two days old should be checked by your doctor for proper diagnosis of the type of bacteria and the administration of required drugs. Once you suffer from UTI, you become prone to such infection and there is high chance that you will get this infection again for the second time. It is here when home remedies come to your rescue. You can prevent urinary tract infection from recurring through various home and herbal remedies. So, if you notice such symptoms as burning or painful sensation while urination, urge to urinate frequently though passing too little urine everytime, cloudy or blood-tinged urine along with pain above the pubic bone, just don’t ignore them and immediately go to your doctor. If left untreated, UTI can lead to serious kidney damage. Once your infection is cured you can then take all precautions and follow these home remedies so that you do not suffer from UTI again.
Home Remedies for Urinary Tract Infection
There are certain food items and herbs that you can use as home remedies for UTI. However, the most important thing to prevent it is the maintenance of proper hygiene and cleanliness. These are in fact the most important remedies. So, have a look at the Do’s and Don’ts for Urinary Tract Infection
Keep yourself clean; follow these rules
These can be called hygiene rules for those who are prone to Urinary Tract Infection.
- Don’t ever suppress the urge to urinate. This way, you are holding up the bacteria and not allowing them to pass out of your body. This may lead to infection.
- After urinating, always wipe from front to back. When you do it from back to front, you increase the chances of anus bacteria come in contact with your urethra.
- Whenever you go to the toilet, wash your hands. This not only prevents UTI but keeps you healthy in general. If your hands get dirty due to faecal matter, wash them again before you wipe again. The faecal bacteria cause 80 to 95 percent of urinary infections.
- Avoid washing your genital area with fragrant soaps and other lotions. Also, avoid using deodorants as they destroy your body’s natural protective barrier and make you prone to infection.
- Always wear cotton underwear and they should not be too tight. Keep them dry because moist environment promotes bacteria growth.
- Before and after sexual intercourse, always urinate and wash your private parts. Using condoms is a better way than using a diaphragm. Do not douche. Also, it’s better to consider alternatives for spermicides. Douching and spermicides, both can irritate your delicate tissue around the urethra and raise the chances of infection.
- During menstrual periods, use sanitary napkins instead of tampons. Frequently change napkins during the day.
- Drink lots of water, as a rule, not only to avoid UTI but also to keep your body functioning at its best.
- Avoid having too hot, sour, or spicy foods.
- Move your body, exercise daily at least for 30-40 minutes. Being physically active will boost your immunity and you will be lesser prone to any kind of infection.
1. Use baking soda to stop spreading infection
As soon as you realize that you may get urinary tract infection, have baking soda. It neutralizes acid in your urine.
• Take half teaspoon of baking soda.
• Add this to a cup of water.
• Drink it.
This remedy also makes you comfortable while you pass urine by making the process less painful. Don’t have too much of baking soda though. It is not good for your intestine.
2. Use magical herb cinnamon to combat infection
The very common cinnamon herb’s powder is powerful enough to kill those E. coli bacteria causing your UTI. A study carried out in Germany has shown that cinnamon can actually kill this bacteria. You just have to make tea out of this magical herb and have it for 3-4 times a day.
You will need:
• Cinnamon powder- ½ to ¾ teaspoon
• Warm water- 1 cup
• Take warm water in a cup.
• Add cinnamon powder to it and mix well.
• Drink it.
• While drinking this tea, keep a spoon ready with you to stir the tea occasionally because if your’s is a true herb, the cinnamon will not blend easily with the water. You’ll need to stir and mix it often till you finish the drink.
If you are using cinnamon tea to prevent UTI, its enough to drink this tea once a day but if your infection has already set in, have 3-4 cups of it daily.
[box type=”warning”] Warning: Cinnamon can stop or delay menstruation. Thus you may skip one or even two periods if you regularly consume cinnamon in such high quantities. In fact, in ancient Egypt, this herb had been used as a contraceptive. So, if you are planning to conceive or you are already pregnant, avoid using this remedy for UTI because it can also induce labour. Also, do not apply this remedy to kids below two years of age. When giving this tea to older kids and people above 65 years of age, use low quantities of cinnamon initially.[/box]
3. Make Marshmallow root tea
It will sooth your urinary system. And what’s more, marshmallow root is safe for everyone including babies and pregnant women. You can have it as much as you like, even up to 5-8 cups a day if you have a really bad and painful bladder. This herb has demulcent, emollient, and diuretic properties. It not only helps in soothing the inflamed and irritated tissues of your bladder but it also helps to nourish these tissues. It also works by increasing the acidity of your urine thus inhibiting bacterial growth. When combined with other diuretic herbs, marshmallow root can treat kidney and bladder inflammations as well as kidney stones. It also stops bleeding, if any, in the urine. You may make marshmallow tea with cold infusion method to get a pure extract of its mucilage.
You will need:
• Marsmallow root – enough to fill ¼ of the jar you’ll use
• Lukewarm water
• A jar with lid
• Place the marshmallow root in the jar to fill ¼ of it.
• Add the lukewarm water to fill the whole jar.
• Cover with lid and leave it overnight. If not overnight, it should be left to soak at least for 4 hours.
• In the morning, strain the thick and viscous golden yellow and somewhat brownish water.
• Have this tea throughout the day to soothe your bladder.
Marshmallow tea not only gives you comfort when you suffer from Urinary Tract Infection but is also one of the many good remedies for heartburn.
4. Take help from coriander powder
This is an Ayurvedic remedy for your urinary tract infection- using the common spice coriander or cilantro. Ayurveda says that excessive heat of the body and high pitta dosha is responsible for burning sensation while urinating. While you should not have too hot and spicy foods, this spice coriander, having cool properties, can definitely help you a lot. You can use coriander seeds to make tea, optionally adding cumin and fennel seeds too. This will become a very good anti-inflammatory and digestive beverage that will eliminate the burning sensation while urinating. Alternatively, you can use coriander in the Ayurveda way.
You will need:
• Coriander seeds powder- 3 tablespoons
• Rock candy powder (or unrefined sugar)- 1 tablespoon
• Water- 3 cups
• Earthen pot (preferable but optional)
• Take 3 cups of water in the vessel.
• Add coriander and rock candy powder.
• Mix well.
• Leave it to soak overnight.
• Next day, again stir the solution to mix it well if the powder settles down.
• Drink 1 cup each for three times a day.
5. Get yourself cranberry juice
While cranberry juice cannot treat your UTI, it can definitely prevent the infection by stopping E.coli bacteria from adhering to the urinary bladder lining and urethra. The pure unsweetened juice of cranberries, thus, don’t kill the bacteria but block them from lodging. When you urinate, the bacteria gets flushed away. You should have 50 – 150 ml of pure cranberry juice every day. If you prefer to dilute your juice, increase its quantity. However, you should be ready for the side effects of cranberry juice. It may hamper the workings of your regular medications that you take for UTI and may also give rise to kidney stones. As soon as you have more than three liters of this juice in a day, you may suffer from diarrhea. Also, this juice is not that effective for men.