A bladder infection will affect more than 50% of women at least once in their lifetime. (source) These infections can be very painful and irritating. There are many cures on the market, but a lot of them are chemicals and synthetics. I am always in search of more natural treatment options.
(Not sure if you have a bladder infection? Read about signs, symptoms, and causes here.)
Home Remedies for UTI and Bladder Infections
There are many natural remedies to aid in the healing of a bladder infection, also known as a urinary tract infection, or UTI. Some are quick and simple, while others may take more time.
- Cranberry Juice can help to heal a bladder infection fast. It’s not a myth or an old wives’ tale, it really works. Cranberries have a substance that won’t allow bacteria, primarily E. coli, to stick to the bladder walls. If it can’t stick, it gets washed away and infections can be healed easier. You can take the straight juice or capsules. Cranberry juice cocktail should be avoided because the sugar it contains will actually help the bacteria to grow.
- Uva Ursi can be taken for bladder infections. It contains tannins which help to fight the infection and arbutin which acts as an antiseptic in the bladder. It should not be taken by those with kidney disease or by women who are pregnant.
- Cornsilk will help mild bladder infections. It is a diuretic and helps to eliminate toxins in the body.
- Marshmallow root is a demulcent, which creates a slimy coating inside the bladder. It can help to ease symptoms. Slippery elm and plantain may help in the same way. (Plantain the herb, not the banana!)
- Horsetail can also help to ease the symptoms. It contains diuretics which help increase urine production and flavinoids which can help protect the body against damage.
- Goldenseal and echinecea can help my boosting the bodies immune system, therefor increasing the healing ability for healing infections. Goldenseal should not be taken by women who are pregnant or nursing.
- Baking soda will help increase the pH of the urine, killing the bacteria. Mix a heaping teaspoon of baking soda in 12 ounces of water and drink. I add powdered orange juice (not the sugared kind, but straight powdered OJ) to cover the taste of the baking soda.
- Put good bacteria to work. Foods high in probiotics and good bacteria include yogurt (without sugar), kefir, and other fermented foods like sauerkraut, kimchee, and miso. You can also take probiotics as a capsule or tablet.
- Limit your intake of irritants like alcohol, spicy foods, soda, caffeine, and nicotine. Smoking alone can decrease circulation and cause an infection to last longer. It also inhibits the absorption of vitamins which could delay the cure of an infection.
- Water is perhaps the single most important cure for a bladder infection. It helps to dissolve and transport nutrients, wash away bacteria, and hydrate the body. Be sure to drink plenty of water, especially in warmer weather.
NOTE: Betsy has added the following items and has had great results in treating bladder infections when using them.
- D-Mannose is a naturally occurring sugar that is very effective in the treatment of UTIs. It has been shown in clinical trials to be effective in treating and preventing UTIs caused by E. coli. It attracts and coats the E. coli, effectively flushing it out of the urinary tract so it cannot attach to the bladder. It can be found in capsule or powdered form and taken daily for prevention, or at the first signs of an infection.
- Grapefruit seed extract (GSE) is a very strong acidic liquid that has been found to be effective in treating many infections, including bladder infections. Read more about it in this article.
- Homeopathic remedies can be very helpful in treating bladder infections. Since homeopathy works best when a remedy is chosen based on your particular symptoms, it is recommended that you work with a professional to find the best one. See all the possible homeopathic remedies for UTIs here.
NOTE: Bladder infections, if left untreated, can become very serious. Keep in mind we are not doctors, and this information is not intended to be a substitute for medical advice from your health care provider. If you are pregnant or nursing, please do your homework and consult with your doctor or midwife to ask about the safety of any natural treatment.
Preventing Bladder Infections
Sometimes an infection will occur no matter what you do, but many bladder infections can be prevented. Here are some tips on how to avoid getting a UTI:
- Drink plenty of water. This alone is the one thing that may help more than anything else.
- Urinate frequently. This will help flush out toxins. Voiding only once or twice a day is not good for the urinary tract.
- Keep the area clean. In warm weather sweat can increase the chances of getting an infection.
- Wear loose clothing, cotton if possible. Tight clothing, especially synthetic, causes a warm dark environment. Bacteria love that!
- A preventative dose of D-Mannose can be taken daily for those who suffer from chronic infections. (Find more information here.)
- Eat yogurt and drink cranberry juice as preventatives.
- Stop smoking as this will decrease circulation.
- Keep your immune system strong.
- Get a good night’s sleep. Being tired will only help to run down your immune system.
Have you treated a bladder infection naturally? What has worked for you?