A UTI, or urinary tract infection, is a bacterial infection of the urinary tract. Burning during urination, urgency to urinate often, cloudy or foul-smelling urine, and pain on one side of the back under the ribs are distinct signs of an infection. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Resources, urinary tract infections are the second most common type of infection in the body, accounting for more than 8.1 million visits to healthcare providers each year. Discomfort caused by UTIs can make it difficult to complete day-to-day tasks, especially for busy moms. Fortunately, discomfort can be alleviated at home using a few tried-and-true remedies.
Do You Have a UTI?
The urinary tract includes the bladder, kidneys, and the tubes that connect them. When bacteria enter the urinary tract system, an infection can develop, typically within the bladder. Germs generally enter through the urethra, which carries urine from the bladder to outside the body. Women are more prone to UTIs as they have shorter urethras, but sex, not enough fluids, pregnancy, and diabetes are also common causes.
If you are not sure if you have a UTI and can’t make it to see your doctor, take a few minutes to speak with an online healthcare provider. If you are suffering from a condition, such as a UTI, earache, diarrhea, bronchitis, or other illness, a brief online consultation with a professional and experienced provider can help with a diagnosis, and even result in an e-prescription that you can purchase and pickup at your local pharmacy.
UTI Home Remedies
- Flush the bacteria with fluids. If you suspect a UTI, immediately increase your fluid intake. During a UTI and after, more fluids are needed to flush out the infection and to keep you well hydrated. Opt for water, non-caffeinated tea, or 100 percent cranberry juice as your beverage of choice. A 2012 systematic review of studies found that products containing cranberries reduced the risk of infection, especially in patients who have suffered from repeated UTIs and drank cranberry juice at least twice a day.
- Eat yogurt regularly. Eat your way to UTI relief by consuming bacteria-fighting yogurt. Yogurt is a health food and contains probiotics, which are beneficial bacteria that can fight off UTI discomfort and actually prevent a UTI from developing. Probiotics can also be found in the form of daily supplements.
- Avoid irritants of the bladder. Some foods and drinks have been known to irritate the bladder, making UTI discomfort worse. Caffeine should be avoided as it’s known to cause bladder irritation and can make a UTI worse. Alcohol, citrus-heavy foods/drinks or caffeinated sodas, acidic fruits, spicy foods, and artificial sweeteners can also worsen bladder symptoms and increase your risk of future infections.
- Don’t wait to void. Urinate often to rid the body of bacteria that causes infection. Each time you void, completely empty your bladder, as this helps to reduce the amount of bacteria in the urinary tract. It’s crucial to never hold your urine and to void before and after sexual activity.
- Fight off bacteria with herbs. Certain natural herbs have been proven helpful in alleviating discomfort that accompanies UTIs. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, teas should be made with 1 teaspoon of the herb per cup of hot water, and consumed two to four times per day. Herbs that have been proven successful in treating UTI infections include green tea, cat’s claw, uva-ursi, milk thistle, reishi mushroom, and buchu. Like any treatment, it’s important to consult with your healthcare provider before taking any medications, herbs, or supplements.