Urinary tract infection is one of the most common bacterial infections that occurs in women.
It is said to account for nearly 25% of all infections. Reports claim around 50–60% of women will experience a UTI in their lifetime.
While UTI is not a life-threatening condition, severe infection can cause a wide range of discomforting symptoms, including a strong persistent urge to urinate, a burning sensation while urinating, cloudy and strong-smelling urine and abdominal pain.
In most cases, doctors prescribe antibiotics to treat the condition. Antibiotics are medicines that inhibit the growth of microorganisms.
How do antibiotics help in treating UTI?
Antibiotic courses for UTI in women usually last for five days and can stretch if the infection is not cleared. For men, antibiotics are prescribed for a longer period of time.
These medications attack and kill the bacteria causing the infection. The kind of antibiotic you’re prescribed depends on the type of bacteria detected in your urine, your current health situation, and whether your UTI is uncomplicated or complicated.
‘Uncomplicated’ UTI means that your urinary tract is normal, whereas ‘complicated’ UTI means that you have a disease or problem with your urinary tract. This could need further intervention.
Why you should resort to home remedies
Antibiotics are the best treatment option for those who have a severe urinary tract infection. However, if your symptoms are mild, consult with your doctor and ask whether you can get it treated at home, without any antibiotics.
Although antibiotics help treat the bacterial infection, they can cause side effects, as per the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Side effects can include rash, dizziness, nausea, diarrhea, and yeast infections, notes the health agency.
Furthermore, there is always the risk of antibiotic resistant UTI, a type of infection that does not respond to most – or any – of the most common treatments.
That said, resort to these at-home treatments for UTI.
1. Drink plenty of water
Water is the key solution to all health problems, including UTI. Staying hydrated can not only prevent, but also treat UTI.
Drinking water dilutes the urine, making you pee more and flushing out all the bacteria that’s triggering the infection.
2. Cranberries may help prevent UTIs
Although there is no conclusive research to suggest cranberries can treat or prevent UTI, some studies have indicated that unsweetened cranberry juice, cranberry supplements, or dried cranberries can reduce the risk of UTIs.
This is because cranberries contain proanthocyanidins (PACs), which may stop bacteria from sticking to your urinary tract lining.
3. Take probiotics
Probiotics are microorganisms that help regulate digestive health and immunity.
Given that probiotics help eliminate and replace “bad” bacteria, such as E. coli, with ‘good’ bacteria, they can also be effective in treating and preventing UTIs.
UTIs, as we know, cause the bad bacteria to replace good bacteria in the urogenital system, especially those of one group called Lactobacillus. That said, probiotics can restore the balance.
4. Eat vitamin C-rich foods
Vitamin C has many health benefits ranging from preventing chronic illnesses, managing blood pressure levels and reducing blood uric acid levels in the body.
As far as UTIs are concerned, increasing your vitamin C-intake can raise the acidity of your urine, helping in eliminating the bacteria causing the UTI.
Oranges, grapefruit, kiwi and red bell peppers are very rich in vitamin C.
5. Do not hold your pee
One thing you should always keep in mind while suffering from and undergoing treatment for UTI is that you should never hold your pee. No matter how uncomfortable it is, urinate when you feel the urge. Holding the pee even when you have to urinate can promote bacterial growth, which is why it is important to empty your bladder!