Before knowing the home remedies, let us have a brief account of what is urinary tract infection, its causes, symptoms, and treatment.
Urinary tract infection (UTI) is caused by the invasion of bacteria Escherichia coli (E. coli) into the urinary tract. From the opening of the urethra the bacteria enter and move into the urinary tract. If the infection is in the lower urinary tract, the condition is called cystitis, and if the infection is in the urethra, the condition is known as urethritis. UTI is a combination of both these conditions. Holding back urine for too long is one of the main causes as the bladder gets stretched beyond its capacity and the muscles also weaken. Hence, the weakened bladder will have more difficulty in emptying itself which further leads to infections.
It is observed that women are more susceptible to UTI infection for two main reasons: they have a smaller urethra than men and their urethral opening is close to the vagina where the bacteria usually reside. Being pregnant also increases the risk of the infection as the bladder is under lot of pressure by the uterus. In men, a bladder stone, an enlarged prostate, or a sexually transmitted disease like gonorrhea are some possible causes of UTI. Sexual intercourse, diabetes, and menopause are the other causes.
UTI is characterized by a strong and immediate need to urinate, followed by a slow and painful release of extremely less urine. It also shows signs of soreness in the lower abdomen, back, or sides. Blood in urine, nausea, vomiting, and fever are some common symptoms observed in both men and women.
- One of the best natural ways to treat UTI is to drink lots of water. Drinking fluids will help you to urinate more often and flush out the bacteria. It is recommended to have 6 - 8 glasses of water per day.
- Daily intake of vitamin C will increase the acidity content of urine and prevent bacterial growth. Intake of 1000 mg of vitamin C everyday is quite effective in preventing the recurring infections.
- Cranberry juice is rich in vitamin C and quinolinic acid, both of them are helpful in curing UTI by preventing the bacteria from anchoring onto the bladder walls. Drinking 12 to 24 oz of cranberry juice for few days can be highly effective.
- Echinacea is a herb that helps in fighting the infection. Drinking Echinacea tea or consuming high-quality 300 mg Echinacea capsules or tablets once per day can be extremely beneficial.
- Apple cider vinegar contains high concentration of enzymes and potassium which help in preventing the bacterial growth. Most of the UTI patients are found to be deficient in nutritious enzymes and potassium, hence, apple cider vinegar can be used as a natural antibiotic to flush out the infection.
- For the cure and prevention, it is strongly recommended to have foods rich in fiber content along with water. This will help in naturally flushing the impurities along with bacteria, from the body.
- Drinking a glass of water with ½ a teaspoon of baking soda causes the infection to subside.
- Include blueberries in your breakfast as they have the ability to fight bacteria.
- Including pineapples is yet another way to fight this infection. Pineapples consist of an enzyme called bromelain that helps in alleviating the infection symptoms.
Urinary tract infection can be treated with oral antibiotics or antibacterial drugs. The type of drug and the treatment duration depends upon the patient's history and the urine tests that identify the bacteria. Oral antibiotics include trimethoprim, cephalosporins, tetracycline or amoxicillin, or nitrofurantoin can be given to the patient, but only if advised by a medical expert.
Intake of pain-relieving medication also relieves the patient from the pain and discomfort. Urinary tract infection, if not treated in time, may spread to the kidneys. The remedial measures mentioned above do help reduce the symptoms of UTI but expert medical advice is a must.