If there is one infection that is well-known by all women and many men, it is the urinary tract infection. When urinating becomes painful, those infected search for any way to quickly relieve their symptoms and get rid of the infection quickly.
While antibiotics are fast, natural home remedies for UTIs help to speed the recovery up even more. Continue reading to see the best home remedies for UTIs and how to get rid of a UTI fast and supercharge your recovery.
Table of Contents
- What Is a UTI?
- UTI Treatment
- Can You Treat a UTI Without Antibiotics?
- Best Home Remedies for a UTI
- Is It Possible to Get Rid of a UTI In 24 Hours?
- What Is the Fastest Way to Get Rid of a UTI?
- Can You Get Rid of a UTI Without Treatment?
- When to See a Doctor?
- Key Takeaways
What Is a UTI?
A urinary tract infection (UTI) can result from any type of pathogen, including bacteria, viruses, or even fungi, and they can infect any part of the urinary tract (e.g., the urethra, ureters, bladder, kidneys). However, most cases of UTIs are due to bacterial infection of the bladder, and because of this, UTIs may also be referred to as bladder infections.
Most UTIs are caused by the bacteria E. coli, which is a bacteria that is common in and around the anus. Because of the close distance between the urethra and anus in women, and the shorter length of the urethra, women are more likely to get a UTI than men.
Besides the female gender, people at a higher risk of UTI include those who need a tube to drain their bladder, have diabetes, or have a spinal cord injury.
Additional risk factors for a UTI include:
- sexual intercourse
- kidney transplant
- antibiotic usage
- use of diaphragms and spermicides
Symptoms of a UTI can include:
- burning or pain when urinating
- an urge to urinate frequently
- urgently needing to urinate
- feeling unwell and achy
- feeling as though the bladder is not completely empty
- urine that smells bad
- bloody or cloudy urine
However, if the UTI spreads to the kidneys, symptoms can include:
- pain in the back and sides
- chills and shivering
- nausea and vomiting
Kidney infection is a very serious disease and requires immediate medical attention.
UTIs are treated with a short course of antibiotics, typically only a few days in duration.
The antibiotics fight the infection through two methods: killing the bacteria directly or making it so the bacteria cannot grow and reproduce. Both of these methods produce the same end result, the removal of the infection.
When taking antibiotics, it is always important to follow the doctor’s instructions for the duration. Taking the medication for too long or too short can increase the risk of repeat infections or antibiotic resistance. Even if the symptoms have gone away, it is crucial to continue the antibiotic.
For those with kidney infections, a severe type of UTI, treatment may need to be completed at a hospital to help monitor fluid levels and ensure that the medication is working.
Other individuals who may need to go to the hospital if they have a UTI include:
- older adults
- pregnant women
- those with kidney stones
- those with diabetes, cancer, spinal cord injury, or multiple sclerosis
- those recovering from recent urinary tract surgery
Can You Treat a UTI Without Antibiotics?
While it is impossible to cure a UTI without antibiotics, some treatments can be done at home to aid the body as the immune system attacks the infection.
Most of these home remedies help to flush the bacteria causing the infection from the body. While antibiotics are the only way to kill the bacteria or stop them from growing, natural remedies can still assist in removing them from the body.
In many cases, these natural remedies see the most success when paired with antibiotics, as they can help the antibiotics fight the infection and speed along the recovery.
Best Home Remedies for a UTI
The following are some of the best home remedies for treating and preventing UTIs.
Drink Plenty of Water
The key to preventing and treating UTIs is drinking enough water. This is because drinking enough water dilutes your urine and allows it to move through the urinary tract faster and more frequently. This makes it hard for bacteria to reach and infect cells in the urinary tract because there is not enough time before urine comes through and washes it away.
Water is also essential for allowing the urinary tract organs to properly remove waste from the body, all while retaining electrolytes and vital nutrients.
While water needs per person will vary based on weight, gender, and activity level, a general recommendation is to aim for 48-64 oz. of water a day.
While UTIs are typically caused by bacteria, the type of bacteria that causes them is referred to as “harmful” bacteria because of the way that it attacks the body.
Beneficial bacteria are able to combat harmful bacteria, and probiotics are a great source of this type.
The Lactobacillus group of probiotics has shown promising results in preventing and treating UTIs by:
- producing hydrogen peroxide, which is a potent antibacterial agent, in urine
- keeping harmful bacteria from attaching to cells in the urinary tract
- lowering the pH of urine to a level that is unfavorable for harmful bacteria
There are many ways to get probiotics, including through:
- cheese (some types)
Drink Cranberry Juice
Cranberry juice is one of the most common home remedies for a UTI, and there is some scientific evidence to back this up.
One review found that cranberry juice contains compounds that prevent E. coli, the bacteria that most often cause UTIs, from attaching to cells in the urinary tract. This helps to prevent UTIs and also aids the body as it fights the infection and removes the bacteria from the body.
Looking further into the compounds of cranberries, they also contain polyphenols, a type of antioxidant with anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties.
While cranberry juice contains these compounds, cranberry extract offers them in a much higher concentration, which some studies suggest may produce better results.
Get Vitamin C
Vitamin C is an antioxidant that plays an essential role in supporting the function of the immune system. This means that, by getting enough vitamin C, your immune system is better able to fight the infection.
Vitamin C also offers benefits much more specific to UTIs. This is because it reacts with the nitrates in urine to form nitrogen oxides, which kill bacteria by lowering the pH of urine to a level that bacteria are less likely to survive in.
While vitamin C can offer these benefits, research suggests combining it with other supplements may produce even better results. A 2016 study found that taking vitamin C, cranberry supplements, and probiotics can be an effective and safe way to treat frequent UTIs.
It is recommended that women over 19 aim for at least 75 mg of vitamin C daily, and men aim for 90 mg daily.
Urinate When You Need To
To further help the body remove the harmful bacteria causing the UTI, it is essential to urinate whenever the need arises and to not hold in your pee. Doing so increases the risk of the infection worsening since the bacteria have more time to grow and reproduce.
In addition to urinating whenever you feel a need, it is also crucial to fully empty the bladder when going to the bathroom because otherwise, bacteria can still linger (and continue reproducing) in the bladder.
One of the greatest challenges with UTIs is if the bacteria causing the infection is drug-resistant, making antibiotics ineffective against them. However, garlic has proven to be a powerful tool in this scenario.
Studies have shown that garlic may be effective against bacteria resistant to multiple types of antibiotics. Most of garlic’s healing abilities are due to its compound allicin, which has been shown to exhibit strong antibacterial effects, including against E. coli.
Avoid Alcohol and Caffeine
While we want to drink lots of water to dilute the urine, alcohol and caffeine have the opposite effect. Not only does this make your urine more concentrated, which can irritate the bladder, but this can then increase pain and discomfort when urinating.
Is It Possible to Get Rid of a UTI In 24 Hours?
While antibiotics are quick at treating UTIs, they cannot do it in 24 hours. In most cases, those on antibiotics will notice symptom improvement in just 2-3 days, and the complete course of antibiotics can take 5-7 days.
What Is the Fastest Way to Get Rid of a UTI?
While the above home remedies may help fight a UTI, an antibiotic is the fastest way to get rid of it and find relief from its symptoms.
Some of the most common antibiotics prescribed for UTIs include:
Once you get your prescription, it is crucial to have it filled immediately so you can start taking your medication. The sooner you do this, the sooner your symptoms will go away.
For those looking for the fastest way to receive an antibiotic prescription, DrHouse connects you with an online doctor in just 15 minutes who can review your symptoms and prescribe an antibiotic so that you can start feeling better in no time.
In addition to taking an antibiotic, a great way to speed up your recovery is by combining the antibiotic with the home remedies listed above. They are often very successful when combined with an antibiotic in supercharging the healing process.
Can You Get Rid of a UTI Without Treatment?
In some cases, the body may be able to clear up minor UTIs on its own. Research estimates that somewhere between 25-42% of minor UTIs resolve on their own, and home remedies can help speed up the recovery.
However, since all UTIs do not clear up on their own, when avoiding treatment there is always the risk of the UTI progressing into a kidney infection, which is a much more severe infection that can have dangerous complications. Because of this, it’s a gamble regarding what the outcome may be when foregoing treatment.
When to See a Doctor?
It is typically recommended to visit a doctor as soon as you suspect a UTI since, if left untreated, there is a risk of it progressing into a kidney infection.
For those who forego treatment and try home remedies, if at any point your UTI worsens, or you develop a fever, pain in the back or sides, confusion, or nausea and vomiting, it is recommended to see a doctor immediately as these symptoms may signify a kidney infection.
Get Help from an Online Doctor!
An online doctor is the answer for those looking for a quick and convenient way to obtain antibiotics. With DrHouse, you can meet with an online doctor in just 15 minutes who can review your symptoms and prescribe an antibiotic. Your doctor can also discuss how effective certain home remedies may be in speeding up your recovery.
A UTI is typically a bacterial infection of the bladder that most commonly causes a burning sensation when peeing and frequent urges to urinate. While unpleasant, UTIs are easily treatable with antibiotics that kill the bacteria or prevent them from reproducing.
There are home remedies that can be used to prevent and treat UTIs, but antibiotics are the only way to stop the bacteria themselves. However, home remedies can help make the urinary tract an unappealing environment for bacteria, and when used with antibiotics, this helps speed along recovery and addresses potential side effects of antibiotics.
When it comes to treating a UTI fast, an online doctor is your secret weapon. With DrHouse, you can meet with a doctor in just 15 minutes to receive an antibiotic prescription, start your medication quickly, and see improvements in just a few days.
- Treatment for Bladder Infection in Adults | NIDDK. (2022). https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/urologic-diseases/bladder-infection-uti-in-adults/treatment
- Urinary Tract Infection. Centers for Disease Cotnrol and Prevention ( CDC). Available from: https://www.cdc.gov/antibiotic-use/uti.html
- Gupta, V., Nag, D., & Garg, P. (2017). Recurrent Urinary Tract Infections in Women: How Promising is the Use of Probiotics?. Indian Journal Of Medical Microbiology, 35(3), 347-354. doi: https://www.doi.org/10.4103/ijmm.ijmm_16_292
- Hisano, M., Bruschini, H., Nicodemo, A., & Srougi, M. (2012). Cranberries and lower urinary tract infection prevention. Clinics, 67(6), 661-667. doi: https://www.doi.org/10.6061/clinics/2012(06)18
- Gbinigie, O., Allen, J., Williams, N., Moore, M., Hay, A., & Heneghan, C. et al. (2021). Does cranberry extract reduce antibiotic use for symptoms of acute uncomplicated urinary tract infections (CUTI)? A feasibility randomised trial. BMJ Open, 11(2), e046791. doi: https://www.doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2020-046791
- Office of Dietary Supplements – Vitamin C. (2022). https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminC-Consumer/
- Montorsi, F., Gandaglia, G., Salonia, A., Briganti, A., & Mirone, V. (2016). Effectiveness of a Combination of Cranberries, Lactobacillus rhamnosus , and Vitamin C for the Management of Recurrent Urinary Tract Infections in Women: Results of a Pilot Study. European Urology, 70(6), 912-915. doi: https://www.doi.org/10.1016/j.eururo.2016.05.042
- Mansour, A., Hariri, E., Shelh, S., Irani, R., & Mroueh, M. (2014). Efficient and Cost-Effective Alternative Treatment for Recurrent Urinary Tract Infections and Interstitial Cystitis in Women: A Two-Case Report. Case Reports In Medicine, 2014, 1-4. doi: https://www.doi.org/10.1155/2014/698758
- Bhatwalkar, S., Mondal, R., Krishna, S., Adam, J., Govender, P., & Anupam, R. (2021). Antibacterial Properties of Organosulfur Compounds of Garlic (Allium sativum). Frontiers In Microbiology, 12. doi: https://www.doi.org/10.3389/fmicb.2021.613077
- Bayan, L., Koulivand, P. H., & Gorji, A. (2014). Garlic: a review of potential therapeutic effects. Avicenna journal of phytomedicine, 4(1), 1–14. PMID: 25050296; PMCID: PMC4103721.