Natural Ways to Help Treat a UTI
As antibiotic resistance continues to rise, more and more women experience recurrent urinary tract infections (UTIs). This resistance has encouraged some doctors to incorporate natural remedies into antibiotic treatments to boost their effectiveness. As an added bonus, some natural remedies can even relieve symptoms and help speed up recovery time.
Antibiotics and UTIs
When your doctor diagnoses you with a UTI, it's important that you follow the antibiotic regimen to the letter. Even though you will feel better within 72 hours doesn't mean the infection is gone—you still need to finish your prescription.
Stopping your antibiotics early increases the chances of building antibiotic-resistant bacteria, and your infection could come back. A UTI might be inconvenient for a few days, but avoiding treatment could mean a kidney infection, which could take weeks to treat.
Natural remedies for UTIs
Experts also agree that when women have frequent UTIs, it's likely because the antibiotic used is no longer effective in killing that strain of bacteria and the same infection keeps returning. Boosting the body's immune system can help combat that resistant bacteria, and natural remedies like those outlined below can help.
1. Drink plenty of fluids
Bacterial overgrowth in the urethra and bladder causes pain, and flushing your urinary tract with fluids can help. You should focus on drinking water, but if you need something flavored, research says that cranberry juice may help combat the bacteria that lead to UTIs.
2. Go to the bathroom
We live in a culture that has us constantly on the go, and this turns our bathroom habits into a scheduled event. Unfortunately, holding it when you have to go will increase your chances of getting a UTI. And if you already have a UTI, this can allow bacteria to multiply and make your infection worse. The best advice is to always go to the bathroom when you need to, especially if you are more susceptible to getting yeast infections and UTIs. Going to the bathroom after sex can also prevent bacteria from entering the urethra, leading to an infection.
3. Increase your vitamin C
Vitamin C has been shown to increase the pH level of your urine. Taking vitamin C is thought to be more effective than consuming acidic drinks alone because the larger dose of the vitamin delivers a power punch of acidity without potentially irritating your stomach. Keep this in mind if you suffer from acid reflux.
4. Herbal remedies
Another lesser-known remedy is the use of bearberry leaves to help the bladder shed bacteria and eliminate the infection faster. These herbal remedies are only for a short-term treatment that lasts no more than five days because long-term use can cause liver damage. It's also important to talk to your doctor first so you can be sure this herbal supplement won't interfere with any of your daily medications.
How to prevent future UTIs
Looks like those natural remedies that our mothers used to force on us are actually legitimate: Combined treatments of home remedies and a complete round of antibiotics have proven to effectively eliminate urinary tract infections.
Once you recover from your infection, it's important to keep following some of these good habits every day: proper hydration, never skipping a bathroom break and remembering to go to the bathroom after sex. Whether you currently have a UTI or you just want to prevent another one, it's always good to practice self-care.