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Six ways to treat a UTI without prescription meds

2nd April 2020 Print

Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are one of the most common health conditions worldwide. According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, up to 60 percent of adult women will have at least one UTI during their lifetime. An estimated 10 to 20 percent of men will experience at least one UTI, with risk increasing with age.

Since several different types of bacteria can cause UTIs, treating these infections with medication can be challenging. UTIs are painful and it’s hard to wait on test results to get relief.

Luckily, you have other options besides medication for treating a urinary tract infection. Here are six UTI treatment methods that don’t require prescription medications.

What causes UTIs?

As the Mayo Clinic explains, urinary tract infections are caused when bacteria finds its way inside the body and into the urinary system. The urinary system includes the bladder, the urethra, the ureters, the prostate (in men) and the kidneys.

For women, this can sometimes happen during the monthly menstrual cycle. Other causes include intimacy, use of catheters, menopause, some birth control methods, urinary surgery, and inadequate hygiene.

Six non-prescription UTI treatment methods

Prescription antibiotics are the standard treatment for UTIs. But not everyone wants to take antibiotics. Side effects, interactions with other medications, risk of developing a tolerance and other factors can make antibiotics a less-than-ideal treatment. If you’d like a different treatment method instead, try one of these.

Take oil of oregano

Numerous research studies highlight the powerful natural antibiotic and antimicrobial properties of oil of oregano (yes, the same delicious herb used for cooking).

As Medical News Today explains, oil of oregano may even be able to kill microbes and bacteria that have become resistant to prescription antibiotics.

There are a variety of ways to use oil of oregano to treat your UTI:

- Add two drops to six ounces of water and drink it

- Add six drops to a gel capsule and take it with water

- Rub three drops (for each foot) on your soles

Drink unsweetened cranberry juice

Cranberries and cranberry juice contain a natural chemical compound that may fight a common UTI-causing bacteria: E. coli.

Researchers are studying how cranberries can prevent bacteria from attaching to tissues and causing infection. In one research study, cranberries showed positive results for preventing recurring UTIs.

There is no single guideline for adding cranberries to your diet to treat a UTI. You can start with drinking 400 mL (13.5 ounces) of juice that contains at least 25% cranberry each day. Be sure not to add any sugar or sweeteners to the juice.

If you prefer, there are also supplement pills you can take that contain concentrated cranberry extract.

Begin taking probiotics

A lot of confusion exists about the role of probiotics in a balanced diet. Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that help to keep the right balance in your gut and gastrointestinal system.

You can take probiotics by eating fermented foods such as yogurt made from any type of milk, as long as the label lists "active and live cultures" as a part of the ingredients.

Another easy way to take probiotics for UTI treatment is in capsule form. Be sure you’re taking a probiotic that’s formulated for urinary and bladder health. Look for probiotics that contain "lactobacilli."

Drink lots of fresh water

Drinking water helps to flush your urinary tract and entire urinary system, moving bacteria and infection out of your body.

It’s important to drink at least the minimum recommended daily amount of water for your age and gender. For healthy adults, Harvard Health recommends drinking at least four to six cups of water every day.

However, if you’re recovering from a UTI, you may want to temporarily increase the amount of water you are drinking.

Increase your intake of Vitamin C

Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant — a naturally-occurring chemical compound that can fight cell damage. The normal daily recommendation for healthy adults is around 75 mg per day. But if you have a UTI, you may want to temporarily take more.

One research study showed that taking 750mg of Vitamin C per day, together with probiotics and unsweetened cranberry juice, can have a beneficial effect to naturally treat UTIs.

Eat the right foods

Steer clear of things that will irritate your bladder, like caffeine, alcohol, spices, sweeteners, and nicotine. Instead, choose fresh produce with high water content and fibrous foods with plenty of prebiotics (insoluble dietary fiber).

Eating the right foods is one of the best ways to treat a UTI without using any prescription meds.