Urinary tract and bladder infections like cystitis can be horribly painful and the symptoms can be horribly hard to shift, can’t they?
And it’s not just the pain peeing and uncomfortable bloating that is the problem.
But unfortunately, it’s easy to get locked in a cycle where repeated antibiotics for UTI and bladder infections may make it more likely the infection will return and with worse symptoms.
Antibiotics are super powerful for getting rid of bacteria that cause UTI and bladder infections but also get rid of good bacteria in our gut that can fight off infections before they get serious.
We are all constantly exposed to eColi the main bacteria causing UTI so our gut needs to be able to fight it off itself. The more antibiotics we take, the weaker our gut at fighting back.
So what on earth should we do to relieve bladder infections?
Well, I am not a doctor so cannot give medical advice, but there are natural UTI & bladder infection remedies we can take early to tackle mild infections before we need antibiotics.
And there are simple things we can do to prevent the whole family, including children and elderly relatives, from getting urinary tract infections in the first place.
In this guide I’ll take you through :
- Common symptoms of UTI & bladder infections
- Quick natural remedies for minor UTI & bladder infections such as cystitis
- How to prevent repeated UTI infections
- Gut healthy recipes for UTI
- What to do if you need antibiotics
I do hope these natural remedies for UTI and bladder infections help you and your family treat minor symptoms and break the cycle of recurrent infections. Let me know how you get on.
PLEASE NOTE: I am not a doctor and this post does not provide qualified medical advice. Urinary tract infections can cause serious illness and you should always seek medical attention for persistent and recurrent UTI.
Common Symptoms Of UTI
Common symptoms of urinary tract infections include :
- Constant need to pee
- Difficulty peeing
- Pain peeing
- Cloudy pee
- Particularly pungent pee
- A feeling of inflammation in the urethra.
You should always seek immediate medical advice if you have any of the following symptoms :
- Blood in urine
- Pain around pelvis
- Back pain
- Pain during sex
Common symptoms of UTI and bladder infections in the elderly include :
- Sudden “strange” behaviour which may be verbally aggressive and even violent
- Voracious appetite
- Sleeping much more than usual.
Common Causes Of UTI
UTI are basically caused by bacteria like eColi getting into our urethra.
Our digestive system is naturally brilliant at keeping out unwanted bacteria and getting rid of them when they get in. But certain lifestyle habits can let bacteria sneak in and take hold and stop our digestive system from using its amazing powers to kick them out.
Peeing regularly helps wash out unwanted bacteria. So if we don’t drink enough and don’t pee enough sneaky eColi has more chance to attach itself to our urethra and replicate.
Dehydration can be a big problem for the elderly as they don’t drink so much for fear of incontinence and having to pee more frequently, especially at night.
It’s sad I know but sugar is a big baddy for urinary tract infections and we are more likely to get cystitis if we have diabetes. So if you keep getting cystitis do try to cut down on sugar.
Again sadly, sex is a common cause of UTI as it increases contact with bacteria from the anus and genitals. Staying hydrated and peeing pre and post sex can help as can bathing after sex.
Poor loo hygiene can cause UTI as not wiping properly lets bacteria from the anus get into the urethra. This is a challenge for the elderly so finding a way to help is essential. Frequent UTI in elderly relatives in care is a red flag that they are not receiving the help needed with washing.
Quick Natural Remedies For UTI & Bladder Infections
A wide range of natural remedies were used traditionally to relieve urinary tract infections and there is now scientific research explaining why these natural remedies help.
Different natural remedies work in different ways to :
- Attack bacteria
- Generate urine (they are natural diuretics)
- Help release urine
- And detach bacteria from the urethra when we pee.
So a mixture of remedies may be more helpful than one.
The natural remedies I have for you here can all give quick relief for UTI but they need to be taken at the first signs of infection to be most effective. Luckily most of them are common ingredients in our kitchen cupboards so they are easy to take as soon as symptoms appear.
But remember you should seek medical advice if symptoms persist for more than 3 days or recur or if you have pelvic pain, fever, vomiting or blood in the urine.
Green tea is a diuretic – it helps us pee – and has antimicrobial properties for UTI and other infections such as gastritis. Green tea is not – if honest – my favourite drink but I find it very helpful for digestive infections. Only let it stew for a couple of minutes else it is not nice!
It is also a handy remedy to have in as a natural athlete foot’s treatment.
Kefir is fermented milk and contains live bacteria that help our gut fight unwanted germs.
If it’s not your cup of tea on its own add it to one of the UTI smoothie recipes below.
I keep a jar of natural sugar free yoghurt in our fridge at all times as it looks after our gut and gives us instant access to a natural antimicrobial UTI remedy that can also ease stomach pain, acid reflux, heartburn, sore throats and even sunburn!!
How good is that?
But make sure your yoghurt has no additives. These are the ingredients in mine:
Whilst a well known “healthy” live yoghurt brand contains : Water, Skimmed Milk (Reconstituted), Glucose-Fructose Syrup, Sugar, Maltodextrin & Flavourings …
Yes it does have the live L. Casei Shirota bacteria but is otherwise full of sh*t!!!
It makes me so mad because all that stuff will do is feed the bacteria that gave us the infection in the first place. And to add insult to injury it costs more than mine.
So please, please, please read yoghurt labels!! Don’t be conned.
Celery juice also has diuretic & antiseptic properties and can be a refreshing alternative to fruit juice in the morning to help reduce sugar spikes that can feed cystitis infections.
Parsley was traditionally used as a natural remedy for all sorts of kidney related infections. You can make parsley water simply by simmering roughly 20g of parsley in a few of litres of water for 5 minutes and then leaving it to cool before straining. Drink it instead of plain water all day.
Parsley is super easy to grow in your kitchen so you always have some available.
Cucumber is a gentle diuretic that’s very easy to digest when you have a UTI. A simple cucumber smoothie blended with natural yoghurt, avocado, almonds and parsley can give relief as a natural remedy that both fights germs and helps us pee them away.
Pineapple can be quite acidic so if you are also struggling with acid reflux or heartburn, the cucumber smoothie may be a better bet.
If parsley water isn’t to your taste try cinnamon water instead. I think it’s delicious. You can make it with cinnamon powder but cinnamon bark may be more effective. It’s not an obvious thing to have in the house except at Christmas but I also use it in my natural cold remedy.
Ginger tea is a wonderful all round natural remedy for stomach pain of all sorts. Unlike the better known mint tea it is also usually tolerated by people with heartburn and acid reflux.
You don’t need to buy special ginger tea. Simply seep a teaspoon per cup of fresh or dried ginger in just boiled water for 3 or 4 minutes.
More Herbal Teas
Other herbal teas traditionally used as natural remedies for cystitis and bladder infections include :
- Peppermint – some people with acid reflux and heartburn find mint makes symptoms worse
- Fennel seed
- Goldenseal – popular in north America but less easily available in Europe
Cranberry juice is the best known natural remedy for cystitis but the evidence for whether cranberry juice can help treat UTI isn’t clear. Most cranberry juice also has added sugar which is the last thing we need with a UTI so, although some women swear by it, the other natural UTI remedies may be a better bet.
Cheddar, Parmesan & Gruyere Cheese
Cheese for cystitis, really?
It sounds strange I know but cheddar, parmesan and gruyere cheese all contain the bacteria Lactobacillus reuteri which can be useful in the prevention and treatment of recurrent UTIs.
Now eating cheese may not be an instant remedy for cystitis but increasing the amount of “from the farmer” cheese we eat – the mass produced stuff won’t help – may help stop infections coming back.
Other Traditional Remedies For UTI
A wide range of other herbs and plants were traditionally used in Chinese and Indian medicine for treating UTI and can now be bought as teas, tinctures and powder from health stores.
There is no clear evidence they work as a UTI remedy but with the rise of antibiotic resistance research is starting to see if they are a reliable alternative. If you want to try these traditional remedies purchase from a reliable health store and check with your doctor before taking :
- Bear berry – arctostaphylos uva-ursi
- Self heal – prunella vulgaris
- Common mallow – malva sylvestris
- Golden seal – hydrastis canadensis
- Chinese cinnamon – cinnamomum cassia
- Bindi – tribulus terrestris
- Haritaki – terminalia chebula
- Green chiretta – andrographis paniculata
- Purple cone flower – echinacea purpurea
- Butterfly pea flowers – clitoria ternatea
- Black jack daisy – bidens pilosa
- Black mustard – brassica nigra
- Chinese hibiscus – hibiscus rosa-sinensis
- Java or malabar plum – syzygium cumini
- Chinese date – ziziphus jujuba
- Gale of the wind – hyllanthus amarusNeem – azadirachta indica
- Holy basil / tulsi – ocimum sanctum
- Punarnava – boerhavia diffusa
- India mallow – abutilon indicum
How To Prevent Recurrent UTI
Prevention really is always better than a cure and luckily there are some simple healthy habits we can adopt to stop cystitis and bladder infections coming back over and over again including :
- Good toilet hygiene
- Good sex hygiene
- Staying hydrated
- Eating plenty of fibre as part of a balanced diet to avoid constipation
- & cutting down on added sugar.
But the single biggest thing we can do to prevent recurrent UTI is improve our gut health so our digestive system really can fight back against common bacteria.
Improving Gut Health
A healthy gut is rich in a wide range of good bacteria. These bacteria help us digest food easily and effectively and fight off bad bacteria.
There are 5 easy ways to increase good bacteria :
- Enjoy loads of different vegetables & fruit
- Munch on a good range of nuts, seeds & pulses
- Savour proper cheese from farmers
- Eat natural yoghurt
- Guzzle plenty of the 4 Ks : kefir, kombucha, sauerkraut & kimchi which are all fermented food rich in great bacteria.
One additional tip is to try and buy meat and dairy from lower intensity farms.
Low Intensity Meat & Dairy
Antibiotics make a huge difference to farm animal health. But animals on high intensity farms depend on them more and more. Like us they are stuck in a vicious circle of poor gut health causing infections that need antibiotics that reduce gut health. This cycle contributes to antibiotic resistance.
Meat and dairy from lower intensity farms is more expensive.
But we all end up paying so much in physical health, mental wellbeing, time and money for the pain of recurrent UTI and gut infections that it really can be worth spending a bit more on better food to break the infection cycle and to help keep ourselves and our family healthier.
Gut Healthy Recipes For UTI
Eating a wide range of different gut healthy food is key to healing and preventing urinary tract infections. But for some added healing punch try these recipes that all use traditional ingredients for healing cystitis …
Healing Mung Bean Soup
Mung bean soup has been used as a traditional remedy in Chinese medicine to ease bladder infections. Use this simple recipe to quickly make your own …
Chicory & Blue Cheese Salad
This deliciously healing salad combines chicory, a traditional diuretic remedy, with blue cheese, rich in good gut bacteria …
Healthy Okra Stew
Okra is pack full of mineral and vitamins and is believed to have anti-microbial & anti-inflammatory powers that can help heal digestive infections …
Tasty Pomegranate Recipes
Pomegranate has been used as an anti-microbial remedy for thousands of year and some research suggests it does work as a treatment for UTI. To give it a go try some of these tasty pomegranate recipes …
Fennel is a gentle diuretic that is great roasted with garlic and served with lots of gut healthy parmesan …
What To Do If You Need Antibiotics
You should always seek medical advice if your UTI persists for more than 3 days and if symptoms include fever, pelvic or back pain, vomiting, bleeding or discharge and you may need antibiotics.
As antibiotics can knock out good gut bacteria as well as the baddies we do need to replace the goodies once the antibiotics have done their work. Probiotic supplements are sometimes recommended but the most effective way seems to be actually enjoying them in our food via :
- Natural yoghurt & cheese
- Fermented foods
- And loads of different fruit and veg
And there you go loads of natural UTI and bladder infection remedies plus simple ways to prevent recurrent UTI. I really hope they help you as much as they have. Do let me know what works best for you.
And if you have other related digestive problems check out my other natural remedies for gut health including
- Quick Constipation Relief Naturally
- Quick Natural Bloating Remedies
- Instant Heartburn Relief Naturally
- Natural Gastritis Treatments
- Restoring Gut Health
- Stomach Pain