10 Natural Remedies for UTI

If you frequently suffer from UTI pain, try these 10 home remedies to naturally heal and prevent further infections. As always, if you have any questions, you should check with your doctor.

Compiled by Taylor Shea from Kitchen Cabinet Cures (Reader's Digest Association Books)
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    Pure cranberry juice

    Medical researchers learned as early as the 1840s that the hippuric acid in cranberries inhibits the growth of E. coli bacteria, the most common cause of UTI. Hippuric acid also keeps E. coli from adhering to the urinary tract walls, and from spreading from the bladder to the kidneys. Pure cranberry juice contains antioxidants that remove the bond between bacteria and the urethra walls, and that weaken bacteria. For a natural remedy, drink three 8-ounce servings of pure cranberry juice—make sure it's not a juice "cocktail," which contains lots of sugar—or, eating 1/2 cup of dried cranberries might help, according to a small Harvard study.

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    Blueberry juice

    If cranberry juice is too bitter, pure blueberry juice also contains antioxidants that help fights UTIs in a similar way. As with cranberry juice, drink three 8-ounce glasses when you're experiencing symptoms or snack on 1/2 cup of blueberries.

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    Horseradish and garlic

    Horseradish has antiseptic and antibiotic properties and produces a diuretic effect, making it a popular treatment for UTIs. Garlic can also help clear up a UTI by working to fight bacteria; eat it fresh (and raw) to make sure you're getting all of its benefits.

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    Green tea

    Drink two or three cups of tea daily. Green tea contains certain antioxidants that one recent study found can reduce bladder inflammation.

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    Vitamin C

    Most bacteria hate acidic environments. Consuming vitamin C will create nitric acid, which is toxic to bad bacteria. Try 500-2,000 milligrams every two hours for two days, then 500-2,000 milligrams three times a day for as long as symptoms persist. After the infection is gone, try 500-1,000 milligrams per day to help prevent UTIs from coming back.

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    Water

    Drinking water can help flush out bacteria, so it’s important to stay hydrated with a UTI. Aim for half your body weight in ounces each day; keep a glass of water nearby and refill it whenever it gets low.

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    Avoid: Damp clothes

    A warm, damp environment is breeding grounds for harmful bacteria. Always change out of wet swimsuits or sweaty workout clothes as soon as possible. If you have frequent UTIs, stick to loose fitting, cotton underwear; they're more breathable than other materials.

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    Avoid: Baths

    The chemicals in bath salts and gels can irritate the urethra and make it prone to infections. Also avoid harsh chemicals found in feminine sprays, scented toilet paper and feminine products, douches, and deodorants. 

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    Avoid: Not using the bathroom after sex

    Not urinating after intercourse is one of the most common causes of urinary tract infections. Sex can push harmful bacteria up into the urethra, creating an ideal environment for infection to form. Urinating right after sex will flush away any bacteria that's made its way into the urethra.

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    Avoid: Caffeine and alcohol

    Caffeine and alcohol both irritate your bladder, which is already aggravated with infection. Besides the obvious sources, watch out for caffeine in sodas, energy drinks, coffee, and tea.

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