Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are caused by bacterial infection. UTI sufferers are usually prescribed by doctors with antibiotics — but is it possible to prevent chronic UTIs and treat a UTI without antibiotics?
Antibiotics are an effective treatment for UTIs. However, the body can often resolve minor, uncomplicated UTIs on its own without the help of antibiotics. If the kidneys are infected, then antibiotics are often prescribed, followed with prophylactic antibiotics for a period of time.
By some estimates, 25–42 percent of uncomplicated UTI infections clear on their own. In these cases, people can try a range of home remedies to speed up recovery.
While antibiotics can usually treat UTIs quickly and effectively, people can be allergic to them, and their use can carry certain risks and side effects. Over time, some species of bacteria have become resistant to traditional antibiotics and some bacteria mutate into stronger bacteria. There are several species of E. coli that are showing increasing drug resistance, and these are the primary cause of UTIs. Every time people use an antibiotic, there is an increased risk of the bacteria developing resistance to it.
These are some of the ways on how to prevent UTIs naturally without antibiotics:
- Drink lots of plain water
One of the first things to do when you have a urinary tract infection is drink plenty of clear and unsweetened fluids. That’s because drinking water can help flush away the bacteria that’s causing your infection.
- Cut Bladder Irritants From Your Diet
When you have a UTI, caffeine, alcohol, spicy food, nicotine, carbonated drinks, and artificial sweeteners can irritate your bladder further, making it harder for your body to heal. Focus on healthy foods such as oatmeal, plenty of fresh vegetables, cranberries, blueberries, oranges, unsweetened dark chocolate, unsweetened probiotic yogurt, and tomatoes. Smart drink choices are decaf coffee; cranberry, blueberry, or pomegranate juices; and black and green tea.
- Keep Emptying Your Bladder
Every time you empty your bladder — even if it’s just a small amount — you rid it of some of the bacteria causing the infection. Keep making those bathroom runs, even if it’s a torture to pee when you have a UTI. Never resists the urge to pee.
- Consider Herbal Remedies
You may find some relief from taking the herb uva ursi (bearberry leaf), which is sometimes used as an herbal remedy for lower urinary tract infections. But this should be taken only for short periods of time — five days or less — as it could cause liver damage. In addition, the herb goldenseal may be used as a remedy for UTIs, according to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health.
Other natural remedies for recurrent UTI prevention include taking D-Mannose, coconut water and barley water.
It would help if you wear loose cotton clothing and underwear, wipe yourself clean from front to back and choose only fragrance-free personal hygiene products that contain no harsh chemicals.