A urinary tract infection, or UTI, is a bacterial imbalance located in any part of the urinary system, including the kidneys, ureters, bladder and urethra.

Urinary tract infections have become so common that most people tend to believe they’re not a big deal and that they’re simple to resolve.

But due to the rise in multi-drug-resistant bacterial strains, UTI’s have steadily come to be viewed as a severe public health issue and are a significant cause of morbidity in male infants, older men and females of any age.1

If caught early-on, UTIs can be naturally remedied quite easily, even if symptoms are painfully acute. However, if left untreated or allowed to linger in a sub-clinical state, the infection can travel up the ureters and potentially lead to a more serious kidney infection.

This is why it is important to learn how to recognize common urinary tract infection symptoms, take steps to protect kidney and urinary tract health, and know which everyday products are effective tools in combatting infections in their infancy. The less often one needs to turn to antibiotics, the better.

What Causes a Urinary Tract Infection:

There are multiple reasons why bacterial imbalances occur in the urinary tract.

For starters, urinary tract infections occur more commonly in women than in men. This is due to several factors, including differences in anatomy, the use of birth control and menopause.

Women are also more prone to developing a UTI with increased sexual activity, something that does not typically affect men.

Other risk factors for UTI’s can include physical abnormalities, kidney stones, a compromised immune system, the use of a catheter, and urinary procedures such as exams or surgery.2

Typical UTI Symptoms:

A lower urinary tract infection will show starkly different symptoms compared to an upper urinary tract infection. It’s important to know these differences because certain symptoms can indicate a more severe health crisis is happening.

7-powerful-urinary-tract-infections-uti-remedies-you-have-in-your-pantry-conners-clinic

Anatomy of the male and female urinary tract

The majority of infections involve the bladder and urethra which make up the lower portion of the UT. Common symptoms include:

  • Strong, persistent urge to urinate
  • Burning sensation when urinating
  • Passing frequent, small amounts of urine
  • Urine that appears cloudy
  • Discharge
  • Urine that appears red, bright pink or cola-colored — a sign of blood in the urine
  • Strong-smelling urine
  • Lower abdominal discomfort
  • Pelvic pain or pressure, in women — especially in the center of the pelvis and around the area of the pubic bone

If the infection travels up into the kidneys, symptoms will either change or compound upon each other. Upper urinary tract infection symptoms include:

  • Upper back and side {flank} pain
  • Shaking and chills
  • High fever
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

Now that we have a general understanding around UTI’s, let’s dig into the kitchen pantry for some solutions.

1. Water

UT infections can happen just because a person is chronically dehydrated.

When people are dehydrated the toxic load in the bladder becomes concentrated. Without the urge to regularly urinate, bacterial imbalances are allowed to persist for longer periods of time. Then, when they finally do use the bathroom, the bladder likely can’t flush itself thoroughly of the highly concentrated toxins.

And the downward spiral begins.

Drinking more water might seem counterintuitive because urination can often become very uncomfortable. But the urgency and burning is directly related to highly concentrated, opportunistic bacteria and diluting that bacteria through water consumption can go a long way to decreasing symptoms.

The purer the water, the better, aim for reverse osmosis or steam distilled. The less potential toxic ppm will reduce additional strain on the kidneys and bladder.

Dosage:

There isn’t a specific dosage for drinking water, but it’s good to aim for having a full bladder within 45-60 minutes.

Continue this pattern for 8-12 hours to fully flush the urinary tract, after which you should be able to return to more normal water consumption levels without issue.

2. Yogurt

Yogurt naturally contains multiple strains of beneficial bacteria that can either be consumed orally or, for women, inserted vaginally to help resolve urinary tract infections.

The best yogurt to use is organic, plain, grass fed and – if legal in your state – raw/unprocessed. Flavored yogurt contains higher quantities of sugar, coloring, additives and is more highly processed.

** For an added probiotic boost: Open a probiotic capsule, pour the contents into the container and blend. Set the yogurt onto the counter for 30-60 minutes to activate. The enlivened bacteria will be more effective.

Oral Dosage:

Consume 1/2-1 cup of yogurt 2-3x/day on an empty stomach to continually infuse the gastrointestinal and urinary tract with beneficial bacteria.

Topical Vaginal Application:

Using yogurt vaginally can be accomplished either by placing yogurt directly within the inner labia, or inserting/douching the yogurt directly into the vaginal canal. Both of these options are best done at night while sleeping, though if symptoms are bad enough this can be done during the day as well, with limited physical activity.

For for former option, a more viscous Greek Yogurt is better as it’s less likely to leak. Simply take a clean spoon and scoop about a tablespoon of yogurt out of the container. Use the spoon to spread the yogurt within the inner labia (which will likely be sore and sensitive due to the infection.

Once the yogurt has been placed, use a pad or liner to prevent yogurt from leaking through your underwear. You can replenish the yogurt as often as desired and it’s up to you whether you want to wash yourself clean between applications {the yogurt has good bacteria in it, so it’s not absolutely necessary to wash each time you apply}.

Intra-Vaginal Application:

Douching yogurt is best accomplished if the yogurt has been activated {see “for an added probiotic boost” re. yogurt activation instructions}. When exogenous probiotics are added to a container of yogurt, the yogurt becomes less viscous, making it easier to add to a douching apparatus.

Pick up a washable douching kit from your local pharmacy or online store. Here is an example of a basic silicone kit available online. They cost less than $20 and, if maintained properly, will keep for years.

The most important feature is the ability to thoroughly wash the kit’s interior so leftover yogurt remnants don’t spoil.

Suction approximately 2 tablespoons of yogurt into the douche. Insert the douche just inside the vaginal canal and release the yogurt. Once the kit is emptied of yogurt, use a pad or liner to help prevent yogurt from leaking through your underwear.

3. Probiotics

One of the least effective ways to resolve a urinary tract infection long-term is to take antibiotics. Antibiotics don’t just demolish the “unhealthy” bacteria contributing to the imbalance, but all forms of bacteria and can lead to the development of antibiotic resistance.

The destruction of the microbiome through antibiotic medication use can be very damaging to our immune systems. If all of our healthy bacteria is consistently wiped-out, opportunistic organisms easily repopulate and create even worse UTI’s in the future.

But there is a better option available: probiotics!

It’s easiest to purchase multiple varieties of probiotics from a local health food store. Unless a specific manufacture has specially patented their probiotics to be shelf-stable, most probiotics are best found in a refrigerator, otherwise the bacteria is likely dead.

Make sure to check on the back of the bottle for as many different strains of bacteria as possible. The greater the variety, the stronger your internal microbiome becomes.

You can take the probiotics orally, you can add it to a container of yogurt to activate, or you can open a capsule into a bottle of water and set it on a warm counter to activate and create water kefir.

Other sources of probiotics are kombucha {make sure to find kombucha with very low quantities of sugar, many popular brands have as much sugar as a glass of juice}, kefir, and fermented foods like sauerkraut, kimchi, pickles and other pickled vegetables.

Dosage:

At the start of symptoms, take 2-3 capsules of different probiotic varieties throughout the day. Continue dosage for about one week following symptom alleviation.

Consuming higher-than-recommended quantities of water kefir, kombucha and fermented foods won’t hurt you, though it might cause slight digestive upset in some people. This is not harmful, it’s just your current gut microbiome adjusting to the change in flora.

Once the UTI is resolved, return to recommended daily serving quantities.

4. Cranberries

Clinical and epidemiological evidence suggests that cranberry juice and other cranberry products are effective in maintaining urinary tract health and preventing the recurrence of a urinary tract infection.3

Cranberries contain four different classes of nutrient-dense plant chemicals called flavonoids {flavonols, anthocyanins, catechins, and proanthocyanidins)}. Anthocyanins are absorbed into our circulatory system, 5% of which can be found intact in the urine within three-six hours after ingestion.

One study found that urine from subjects regularly drinking cranberry juice demonstrated a lower presence of overall bacteria in the urine.4

Options for accessing cranberries include drinking organic unsweetened cranberry juice {either store bought or homemade}, raw or cooked cranberries and cranberry supplements. Some probiotic manufacturers will include cranberry extract in their probiotic capsules, which is another great source of anthocyanin.

I do not recommend consuming dried cranberries, as this concentrates the sugar and most dried cranberries have added sweeteners.

Dosage:

For cranberry juice, raw cranberries or cooked cranberry compote, consume around 1/2 cup every few hours.

5. Ginger

Ginger has strong antibacterial and anti-fungal properties, showing an ability to reduce bacterial strains such as E Coli and Candida albicans, both common bacterial strains found in urinary tract infections.5 6

Ginger tea, ginger extracts/oils and capsulized ginger powder can all be used to help knock down bacteria in the colon and in UTI’s.

Personally, I have had the greatest success with using capsulized ginger powder because the concentration of ginger is higher and the vegetable capsule offers a slightly delayed release.

Dosage:

As urinary tract infection symptoms begin to appear, take 1-3 capsules of powdered ginger every hour, depending upon symptom intensity.

Continue at this dosage until symptoms have leveled-off for several hours or have noticeably dissipated. These capsules can be combined with Tumeric & Cayenne Pepper {listed below}.

Once UTI symptoms alleviate, continue with 1-3 capsules/day for a few days to ensure the bacterial imbalance has been taken care-of.

6. Turmeric

Turmeric, also known as curcumin, offers powerful anti-inflammatory, bacteria-regulating and immune-promoting effects.

One study showed Curcumin helps regulate gut microbiota, alleviates intestinal inflammation, increases intestinal immune function, and diminishes the presence of gastrointestinal E. Coli.7

A second study demonstrated the effectiveness off high curcumin concentrations against antibiotic-susceptible and antibiotic-resistant bacterial (XDR) strains, which urinary tract infection sufferers desperately need.8

Turmeric/curcumin are easily found in teas, curry sauces, capsules, liquids and powders. The same as with ginger, I have found success using capsulized powdered tumeric.

Since turmeric is most bioavailable when emulsified in a fat, Conners Clinic carries a fantastic option called Curcu Clear, which contains the best curcuminoid on the market today. Another perk is that you won’t have to capsulize your own turmeric powder, or try emulsifying it into a fat source.

Dosage:

As urinary tract infection symptoms begin to appear, take 1-3 capsules every hour, depending upon symptom intensity.

Continue at this dosage until symptoms have leveled-off for several hours or have noticeably dissipated. These capsules can be combined with Ginger & Cayenne Pepper {see Pantry items 5 & 7}.

Once UTI symptoms alleviate, continue with 1-3 capsules/day for a few days to ensure the bacterial imbalance has been taken care-of.

7. Cayenne Pepper

This might come as a surprise, but cayenne pepper has natural antibacterial properties. In a study using cayenne pepper leaf, researchers found that chili peppers were effective against the highly infectious bacterial strain Staphylococccus aureus.9

One aspect of cayenne pepper which I have found especially useful during a urinary tract infection is the internal warming of my lower abdomen. As one consumes cayenne pepper, the heat from the chilis will warm the GI/urinary tract, which is very soothing on a sore pelvic region.

You are welcome to make your own chili powder by using a pestle & mortar to grind chilis into a fine particulate. However I’ve found it’s easiest to purchase powdered cayenne pepper directly from the bulk section at a health food store.

Dosage:

As urinary tract infection symptoms begin to appear, take 1-3 capsules every hour, depending upon symptom intensity.

Continue at this dosage until symptoms have leveled-off for several hours or have noticeably dissipated. These capsules can be combined with Ginger & Turmeric {see Pantry items 5 & 6}.

Once UTI symptoms alleviate, continue with 1-3 capsules/day for a few days to ensure the bacterial imbalance has been taken care-of.

Supplement Options:

We understand that it can be much easier to keep a supplement on-hand for urinary tract infections rather than making your own pantry remedies. However, the above article is intended to provide “emergency” options to use if access to pre-manufactured supplements isn’t an immediate option.

Conners Clinic carries several urinary tract support supplements, which are available on our webstore at Shop.ConnersClinic.com.

As of February, 2021, these supplements include Barosma Complex, CranXYM, CystaClear, Mimosa, UT Defense & UT Synergy.

Footnotes

  1. https://www.nature.com/articles/nrmicro3432
  2. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/urinary-tract-infection/symptoms-causes/syc-20353447
  3. http://jmscr.igmpublication.org/v7-i4/172%20jmscr.pdf
  4. https://www.semanticscholar.org/paper/RE%3A-Retrospective-Study-of-Cranberry’s-Clinical-in-Garner-Wizard-Henson/dddc48673e8c5258ba55b65b4fbf4af9e5cea0bc
  5. https://www.semanticscholar.org/paper/ANTIBACTERIAL-ACTIVITY-OF-GINGER-AGAINST-E.COLI-THE-Vinodhkumar-Kaviyarasan/3055351842d96a59f59fc2721cf9da007bd27662
  6. https://www.semanticscholar.org/paper/Antifungal-Activity-of-Ginger-Extract-on-Candida-An-Supreetha-Sharadadevi/81dcad243bf5c4b93baa626530fd98a900e5e23b
  7. https://www.semanticscholar.org/paper/Curcumin-and-Resveratrol-Regulate-Intestinal-and-in-Gan-Wei/923e9f1d6f849c2a7fdabdec8f16e5b1ae2287c9
  8. https://www.semanticscholar.org/paper/In-vitro-antibacterial-activity-of-combination-from-Sharahi-Ahovan/710a5885784345337b670717fa4d4b7d5f1750ee
  9. https://www.semanticscholar.org/paper/ANTIBACTERIAL-ACTIVITY-TEST-OF-ETHANOLIC-EXTRACT-OF-Astutik/64bb29f1680b83f4f37f7fa1602c8f24bce905a6