How to Treat Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) Naturally According to Science

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How to Treat Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) Naturally

Urinary tract infections (UTIs) happens when microbes or germs infect your bladder, kidneys, urethra, and other parts of your urinary system. UTIs usually cause a painful burning sensation when urinating and can affect both men and women. Depending on which part of your urinary system is affected, a UTI can cause fever, chills, abdominal pain, and abnormal discharge.

There are many effective home remedies that can help to alleviate the misery that urinary tract infections cause. For example, baking soda can help neutralize the acidity levels in urine and help to relieve pain. Also, taking probiotics, D-Mannose, and drinking cranberry juice can help to treat many of the symptoms of a mild urinary tract infection.

Even in cases where doctors prescribe antibiotics to treat complicated UTIs, many home remedies can help to get rid of your symptoms quicker.

In this article, I will look at scientific research on the effectiveness of treating urinary tract infections with natural home remedies. I will also answer the question when it is possible to treat UTIs without antibiotics.

What Is a Urinary Tract Infection?

A urinary tract infection occurs when bacteria, viruses, or fungi cause an infection or inflammation in your urinary system.

Doctors from the National Institutes of Health say that the most common cause of a UTI is bacteria in the urinary tract. Usually, your body’s defenses get rid of these germs without causing any uncomfortable symptoms. Different types of urinary tract infections are referred to as follows:1

  • Cystitis. Inflammation of the bladder.
  • Pyelonephritis. Infection of the kidneys that often causes back pain.
  • Urethritis. Infection and inflammation of the urethra – tubes that drain urine from the bladder.

Most home remedies for UTIs involve reducing inflammation and flushing out microbes from the urinary system.

The journal Primary Care reports that UTIs are the most common urinary system disorder that causes people to visit their doctor. Many women experience urinary tract infections, and UTI treatments for women are very common. However, people with diabetes, impaired immune systems, or incontinence are also at risk of recurring infections of the urinary tract.2

It is also not uncommon for men to have UTIs, and home remedies can also prove to be effective. For example, the International Journal of Clinical and Pharmacology and Therapeutics reports that around 60% of UTIs in men can be treated without antibiotics.3

What are the Signs and Symptoms of a UTI?

A burning sensation and pain while urinating are the most common signs of a urinary tract infection. However, the infection in your bladder, kidneys, or urinary system will usually cause other signs and symptoms.

Here are the most common symptoms of a urinary tract infection (UTI):

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Children and toddlers can also suffer from UTIs and these urinary infections can affect both boys and girls. Doctors from the National Health Service say that urinary tract infections in children can include the following symptoms:4

  • Holding in pee to avoid the painful stinging sensation when using the bathroom
  • A fever
  • Starting to wet themselves because they hold in urine too long

UTI Treatment Without Antibiotics – Is It Possible?

In some cases, it is possible to treat urinary tract infections without the use of antibiotics. However, natural home remedies to treat UTIs must be used at the first sign of an infection to prevent the infection from developing.

According to OB/GYN Dr. Nivin Todd, the majority of UTIs are easy to treat and rarely produce complications. However, if the infection becomes more serious or has other complications, a course of antibiotics may be needed. This could happen if you have recurring UTIs, suffer from diabetes or have some kind of kidney damage.5

Also, treatments for women who are pregnant usually include antibiotics to prevent long-term health risks.

Because of the increase in resistance to antibiotics, many doctors recommend preventative measures to treat UTIs. For example, the journal Open Forum Infectious Diseases published a study on how to lower the need for antibiotics when treating UTIs. It was found that women who increased daily fluid intake by 1.5 L had a 50% lower risk of developing another UTI.6

A report published in the journal Current Infectious Disease Reports found that treating uncomplicated UTIs without antibiotics is often the best course.

Increasing your fluid intake, using the bathroom regularly, and taking probiotics can all help to treat simple UTIs without antibiotics.

Researchers recommended that antibiotics should only be used if the urinary infection doesn’t clear up within 3 days.7

How to Get Rid of a UTI – The Best Home Remedies for Urinary Tract Infections

Let’s look at what scientifically-based research has revealed as to the best home remedies for UTIs.

D-Mannose

At the first sign of a urinary tract infection, you can take the supplement D-mannose to prevent your UTI symptoms getting worse. D-mannose is a type of sugar that occurs naturally in some fruits, including cranberries, blueberries, and apples. It helps to treat UTI symptoms naturally because it seems to help prevent bacteria from infecting the urinary tract and cause infection.

Is D-mannose really a natural cure for UTI? According to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Urology, D-mannose supplements can help to treat and prevent recurring urinary tract infections. In this randomized study, female patients in the D-mannose group consumed 1 g D-mannose 3 times a day, every 8 hours for 2 weeks, and subsequently 1 g twice a day for 22 weeks.

In fact, in the trial, D-mannose was even more effective than antibiotics such as trimethoprim and sulfamethoxazole for preventing subsequent infections.8

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Also, the World Journal of Urology reported that using D-mannose as a natural UTI treatment significantly reduces recurring urinary tract infections. D-mannose was as effective as nitrofurantoin which is antibiotic used to treat bladder infections.9

In the above study, 308 women with a history of recurrent UTIs, were treated with either two grams of D-mannose powder in 200 ml of water, 50 milligrams of an antibiotic, or no treatment daily for six months.

Only 15 percent of those taking the D-mannose had a recurrent UTI compared to 20 percent for the antibiotic group (both of which were significantly lower than the no-treatment group). However, the incidence of side effects was significantly lower in the D-mannose group than the antibiotics group.

You can buy D-mannose supplements at many online stores or health stores.

Baking soda and water

Another home remedy to help treat a UTI naturally is drinking baking soda and water. Baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) is a natural alkaline substance that can help to take the sting out of your pee.

Scientific research into using baking soda drinks for a UTI has found that it can help to reduce painful symptoms. The International Urogynecology Journal reported that baking soda can help to lower urinary tract symptoms. Consuming baking soda at the first sign of a UTI helped to reduce the frequency of urination, pain when peeing, and getting up in the night to use the bathroom.10

To help clear your UTI symptoms quickly, mix 1 teaspoon baking soda in an 8-oz. glass of water and drink. Use the baking soda remedy 2 or 3 times a day for 3 days to help reduce the burning sensation when urinating and help cure your UTI. If your symptoms aren’t better after 3 days, you should see your doctor.

Probiotics

Taking probiotics regularly may help to treat symptoms of recurring urinary tract infections and also improve your digestion at the same time.

The Indian Journal of Urology reports that probiotics may help to treat and prevent persistent complicated and uncomplicated UTIs. Some studies suggest that probiotics help to improve the body’s resistance to bacterial infections and can reduce the risk of urogenital infections. Also, probiotics may help to reduce digestive complications if you need to take antibiotics.11

Interestingly, the Iranian Journal of Pediatrics reports that probiotics in conjunction with antibiotics in treating UTIs can help to increase the effectiveness of UTI treatments. For example, when treating children for UTIs with antibiotics, consuming probiotics improved the recovery rate when compared to just using antibiotics alone.12

Yogurt

Raw, live yogurt also contains probiotics and can help to manage the symptoms of urinary tract infections in women.

According to research published in 2013, plain yogurt that contains Lactobacilli strains of bacteria can help to reduce internal bacterial infections. Trials into the effectiveness of Lactobacilli strains have found that they help to minimize the occurrence of urinary infections.13

There is no standard dose for using yogurt in treating a urinary tract infection. However, increasing your daily intake of yogurt along with using other natural UTI remedies can help to reduce your UTI symptoms quickly.

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Yogurt is one of the foods that can boost your vaginal health naturally. You can also use yogurt to help treat bacterial vaginosis and yeast infections of the genitals.

Cranberry and blueberry juice

Berries like cranberries and blueberries contain bioactive ingredients that may help to get rid of a UTI fast.

Cranberries are often mentioned as a remedy for treating recurring urinary tract infections. Does scientific research support the use of cranberry juice for UTIs?

The journal Advances in Nutrition reports that cranberries have unique properties with many health benefits. Various studies point to the fact that cranberry juice can help lower instances of UTIs by preventing bacteria from sticking to the urinary tract. It was found that women who consumed 300 mL cranberry juice daily had lower UTI infection rates.14

Other studies have shown that cranberry extract capsules could help to reduce occurrences of UTIs in some women by up to 70%. Some independent studies have shown that cranberry juice can help to treat recurring UTIs in children.14

However, some other studies have demonstrated mixed results. Therefore urologist Dr. Courtenay Moore says that taking cranberry juice for UTIs may help and can’t hurt. So, it may be worth trying to increase the amount of cranberry juice you consume if you battle against a UTI.15

If you consume cranberries in a juice form, make sure it has a high content of fruit and the minimum amount of sugar possible.

Pineapples

Pineapples could help to get rid of UTI symptoms because pineapples contain an antibacterial compound that helps reduce inflammation.

Research published in the journal Biomedical Reports found that the enzyme bromelain in pineapples has a therapeutic effect when treating urinary tract infections. For example, when taken in conjunction with antibiotics for UTIs and kidney infections, bromelain helped to boost the effectiveness of the antibiotic treatment.16

Apple cider vinegar

There are many health benefits to drinking raw apple cider vinegar and it can help to keep your digestive and urinary system healthy.

Although there have been no scientific studies into using apple cider vinegar as a natural home treatment for UTI, raw unprocessed apple cider vinegar can help to flush toxins from your kidneys. Try consuming 2-3 tablespoons a day mixed with a glass of water for the best results. Also, you could add a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar to a glass of cranberry juice to help try and get rid of your UTI faster.

Vitamin C

Scientific research from Scandinavia found that taking 100 mg of vitamin C can help to treat recurring urinary infections. This was cited as one reason for pregnant women to regularly take vitamin C for UTIs.17

The journal European Urology also found that a combination of cranberry juice, vitamin C, and probiotics can significantly increase the possibility of treating recurring UTIs without antibiotics.18

Other Herbal Remedies for UTIs

There are other very effective herbal treatments that can help to treat UTIs naturally and prevent them from recurring.

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Horseradish

Clinical research into using horseradish in helping to get rid of urinary tract infections has discovered promising results. Research from Germany found that a herbal combination containing horseradish and nasturtium was as effective as some antibiotics in treating acute urinary tract infections.19

Read my detailed article about horseradish including how to consume it to clear UTI.

Grapefruit seed extract (GSE)

You can use extracts from grapefruit seeds to help treat urinary tract infections at home.

According to medical research published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, grapefruit seeds have an antibacterial effect in the urinary system. Scientists found that consuming 5 or 6 grapefruit seeds every 8 hours was as effective as an antibacterial medication used to treat UTIs.20

UTI While Pregnant

Urinary tract infections can commonly affect pregnant women and result in varying degrees of complications.

The journal Malaysian Family Physician reported that some of the UTI complications in expecting mothers are symptoms of cystitis, pyelonephritis, and other signs of a UTI. If left untreated, urinary tract infections during pregnancy can lead to premature birth, low birth weight, and preeclampsia.21

Because of the risk to your health and the health of your baby, you should always see your gynecologist or doctor if you suspect a UTI while pregnant.

UTI in Toddlers

Babies, toddlers, and children can all suffer from urinary tract infections. Of course, diagnosing and treating a UTI in toddlers can be especially challenging.

Very often babies and toddlers show signs of a fever if they have a UTI and there may be an unusual smell from their urine. Dr. John Mersch who specializes in pediatric medicine says that there are no recommended herbal remedies for UTIs in toddlers. However, preventing UTIs in babies is the best way to prevent any complications.22

How to Prevent UTI Naturally

Preventing urinary tract infections naturally is the best way to avoid the pain, misery, and discomfort that a UTI causes. Many of the UTI remedies mentioned in this article are just as effective for treating UTIs as preventing them.

What else can you do to prevent UTIs naturally? Dr. John Brusch from Harvard Medical Schools recommends some of the following ways to prevent bladder infections and urinary tract infections:23

Drink plenty of water

Many studies have shown that drinking more fluids helps to prevent UTIs. Drinking fluids like water and unsweetened herbal tea can also reduce by up to 50% the need to treat UTIs with antibiotics.

Proper hygiene

Wiping from front to back can help avoid transferring bacteria from your anus to the vagina. You should always change tissues between wipes.

Don’t hold your pee in

Always use the bathroom when you feel the urge and avoid holding your pee in. Also urinate immediately after having intercourse.

Consume probiotics

Dr. Moore (quoted earlier) says that probiotics can help to prevent a buildup of bad bacteria in the vagina.15

When to See a Doctor

In many cases, if you use home remedies at the very first sign of a urinary tract infection, you may not have to visit your doctor. However, if your symptoms continue for a day or more, you need to get qualified medical attention.

Dr. John P. Cunha on eMedicineHealth recommends seeing a doctor for symptoms of a urinary infection in the following circumstances:

  • Your UTI symptoms last for more than 24 hours and don’t get better with home remedies
  • You have a fever and chills
  • Along with the burning sensation when you urinate, you have nausea and vomiting
  • You are pregnant, have diabetes, or are undergoing chemotherapy

Any toddler with a UTI, child or elderly person should always see a doctor if a bladder infection or other urinary infection is suspected.

A urine test that shows evidence of bacteria or germs usually is enough to confirm if treatment is needed for a UTI.

Related articles:

Medical Sources

  1. NCBI. Urinary tract infections.
  2. Prim Care.2010 Sep;37(3):491-507, viii.
  3. Int J Clin Pharmacol Ther.2004 Jul;42(7):360-6.
  4. NHS. Urinary tract infections.
  5. WebMD. When a UTI gets complicated.
  6. Open Forum Infect Dis. 2017 Oct; 4(1): S736.
  7. Curr Infect Dis Rep. 2013 Apr; 15(2): 124–129.
  8. J Clin Urol. 2014 Jan; 7(3): 208-213.
  9. World J Urol.2014 Feb;32(1):79-84.
  10. Int Urogynecol J.2018 Jul;29(7):1029-1033.
  11. Indian J Urol. 2008 Apr-Jun; 24(2): 139–144.
  12. Iran J Pediatr. 2013 Aug; 23(4): 430–438.
  13. Sultan Qaboos Univ Med J. 2013 Aug; 13(3): 359–367.
  14. Adv Nutr. 2013 Nov; 4(6): 618–632.
  15. ClevlenandClinic. Can cranberry juice stop your UTI?
  16. Biomed Rep. 2016 Sep; 5(3): 283–288.
  17. Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand.2007;86(7):783-7.
  18. Eur Urol.2016 Dec;70(6):912-915.
  19. Arzneimittelforschung.2006;56(3):249-57.
  20. J Altern Complement Med.2005 Apr;11(2):369-71.
  21. Malays Fam Physician. 2007; 2(2): 54–57.
  22. MedicineNet. Urinary tract infections in children.
  23. Medscape. Prevention of urinary tract infection in women.
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51 Responses to How to Treat Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) Naturally According to Science

  1. Ingrid Shapiro says:

    I have a close girlfriend, who has urinary infections a lot and now bladder infections. I am going to tell her about this. She doesn’t like to take medicine.
    Thanks for the information.

  2. Dawn Fox says:

    Most of the remedies i had forgotten. thank you for refreshing my memory.

  3. rahul says:

    my friends call me water tank as i drink a lot of water now this one is for them why drinking a lot of water is necessary…

  4. Tumi Ramogale says:

    This is the best remedy to think of . Our bodies really need a lot of water .

  5. Dottie says:

    Whenever I feel even a twinge, I start taking cranberry caps. morning & evening for 2 days, then once a day for a few days. Works for me

  6. Sarida van der Meer says:

    The best stuff I’ve ever had is D-mannose. Better this naturally sweet powder than baking soda….

  7. Rebecca Dunn says:

    Alka Seltzer also works. Prevention-eat or drink coconut oil. It’s a natural antibacterial.

  8. Fawzi Darwich says:

    I like this site Very helpfull…

  9. mahmood ahmad says:

    The best stuff I’ve ever had is D-mannose. Better this naturally sweet powder than baking soda…

    • mahmood ahmad says:

      I like this site Very helpfull…

    • Jerry says:

      Had a uti for over a year, was on antibiotics most of the time. Finally ended up with c-diff, from the antibiotics, which cost me two nights in the hospital. I finally cured myself with Alka seltzer. Started taking d-mannose the next day, and haven’t had a uti for eight years now. Also haven’t taken any antibiotics in eight years. Don’t believe everything the doc says, most of them don’t know anything about natural cures.

  10. mudassir asad says:

    Thanks…….this site is very helpful for everyone….

  11. Edilyn Sico says:

    thanks for the advice

  12. shahin says:

    Many many thanks….

  13. Anna Stewart says:

    It might also be helpful to mention a few things to avoid such as any dark colored soda drinks, artificial dyes and sweeteners.

  14. Elizabeth Morris says:

    Love this, much needed for my diabetic daughter, giod ideas!

  15. Janette Smith says:

    Parsley tea is very helpful too. When an infection occurs, start doing one of these things every hour. If in pain, start with alka seltzer, next hour vinegar water, then parsley tea,then vitamin C,later soda water, etc .
    Do these things for 2 or 3 days or longer.

  16. Teresita g. Domingo says:

    Thank you for the information. Please advice how to prevent varicose veins that is starting to show up. Thank you.

  17. Geneva Hampton says:

    Well I have suffered with repeated UTI for three decades and could not figure out why? I went on a super green diet for 6 months with things like olive leaf extract and super green foods and got it to go away…but it came back…every single time I eat chicken, I find this quite crazy. But here is an articule on it. You might try an elimination diet of no chicken, Might work for some like me.

    http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2012/07/research-linking-chicken-to-bladder-infections-gets-national-attention/#.U3TdcmdOXY8

    • Jenny says:

      Didn’t know about that, it really sounds crazy – thank you for sharing 🙂

    • B.Bailey says:

      Thank you for this information on chicken and UTIs – no more cheap store chicken for me (or my cat, who also has bladder/kidney issues!) – I’m going to share this info with my vet too.

  18. Sally camacho says:

    Yes!!!–I really interesting.how to treat urinary tract infection that you share with us & care our natural health,Thank you so much{***}

  19. marya says:

    Wonderful suggestions .really very helpful. Thanks

  20. dejene lemessa says:

    Thanks.it’s a good information.

  21. Joni says:

    Another preventive that I always do is to blow dry your ‘privates’ when you are done bathing/showering…your private areas do not always get as dry as you think they are just by toweling off…blow dry that area…it really does make a difference.

    • HK Jaye says:

      Now I have heard EVERYTHING! Blowing your private parts with a hairdryer! To each their own…but I am gonna PASS! My towels work just fine for me.

    • Lori says:

      I used to get really bad UTIs for years. Once I started blow drying everyday after my shower, I haven’t had one since and its been almost 5 years.

  22. Delta says:

    Taking kelp also helps.

  23. Susan says:

    Cream of tartar 1/2 tsp in 1/2cup of water 3times a day works and doesn’t taste quite as bad as baking soda. My grandmother used to give it to us as little girls when we complained of UTI symptoms, and I still use it along with the cranberry capsules.

  24. Mercedita G. Almerino says:

    Thnx for more information…,really interesting to know how to treat urinary infection in a way to use natural way.

  25. Bigdaddy Praise says:

    Please, i have a sister with fabroid, and i need a natural way to treat her from this infection,

    thank u

    • Jenny says:

      I am personally not familiar with treating fibroid naturally. I’ve seen in the web a number of references for natural treatments for fibroid, but I don’t know how trusted these websites are or how effective the treatments are, so I can’t really recommend any of them.

  26. Anastasia says:

    Hi everybody!

    I was suffering from UTIs myself. What helped me in a nutshell:
    -Drink probiotics if you are treated with antibiotics
    -Use Tea tree oil wash after sex
    -Use D-mannose with the first symptoms

  27. maggie bugden says:

    Interesting, where do u.get cranberrie capsules??

  28. olivia says:

    thanks for all your information they all educative

  29. olivia says:

    the information has helped many of us, stay bless

  30. Sara says:

    D- Mannose… Where do I get it?

  31. Anastasia says:

    You can buy d-mannose on Amazon and at a Wholefoods store or Sprouts.

  32. Amber says:

    So after chugging water over the weekend after first getting UTI symptoms, the doctor said that I was completely clear of an infection. HOWEVER, two days later, the initial ‘tell’ returned. Is it too late to try other remedies since this is technically day 7 of having a UTI?

    • Jenny says:

      Hi Amber, you may want to try other remedies for few more days, but if you see no improvement or the symptoms become worse, you will need to refer to your doctor again.

  33. Christine says:

    I rarely ever get a UTI but when I do it drives me insane. This website has been extremely helpful. Very informative to. I like to see what alternatives I have when it comes to natural things as apposed to going to the doctor all the time. Thank you!

  34. Jayeh Koyo Jallow says:

    very educative! thanks a lot

  35. Rachel says:

    I got utis constantly, especially after sex. I drink a lot of water before sex, urinate before sex and promptly after, but it still recurred repeatedly. The medicine that helped me get rid of the infection was a herbal medicine called diuretic and anti-inflammatory pill. It is effective in treating uti.

  36. Carolyn says:

    Where can you purchase D-Mannose?

  37. Hayden says:

    Really helpful post. Besides, i know herbal medicine diuretic and anti-inflammatory pill can be another natural treatment for UTI.

  38. Jann lee says:

    I use a product called uriclense which I take every day, it is ural plus cranberries and drink lots of water this has kept me free of Utes for years.

    Thanks for all the other info

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