Simple practices like taking plenty of fluids, changing underwear daily, avoiding feminine products, and eating a healthy diet can keep UTI away. These are just some of the effective home remedies for UTI in women.
Burning sensation while urinating, foul-smelling urine, pelvic pain, and frequent urination are signs of UTI. These symptoms can take a toll on you when you are pregnant.
Failing to treat a UTI during pregnancy can harm you and your unborn baby. Therefore, medical attention is vital, whether you have symptomatic or asymptomatic UTI.
Ordinarily, doctors will give you antibiotics for your UTI. That’s fine, but home remedies are equally effective, safe, and do not need a doctor’s prescription.
In this write-up, I’ll tell you effective home remedies for UTI. Beyond that, I’ll give you a brief overview of UTI, causes, and symptoms.
What is UTI?
A UTI is an infection in the urinary tract. The disease can occur at one or multiple parts of the urinary tract – urethra, bladder, ureters, and kidneys.
But most UTIs affect your bladder or urethra. In severe cases, though, the infection moves to the kidney, and this is fatal.
UTI and Pregnancy: Why Pregnant Women Are Prone To UTI
Physiological and anatomical changes such as urethral dilation increased bladder volume, and decreased bladder tone resulting in urinary stasis, which promotes bacteria multiplication
Growing fetus exerts pressure on the bladder causing urine leakage, which offers medium for bacteria
Poor personal hygiene
Are you and your baby in danger if you don’t treat your UTI?
Common complications include:
Intrauterine growth restriction
Other complications include:
Kidney damage due to pyelonephritis
So early diagnosis, proper management, and preventive and curative measures are essential.
Your doctor will take your urine sample and take it to the laboratory for analysis. Specifically, the doctor checks for purse, blood, white blood cells, and bacteria in your urine.
Besides, your doctor may conduct a urine culture to determine the type of bacteria and rule out a yeast infection.
Urinary tract infection Signs and symptoms of UTI
Not all infections of the urinary tract always show signs. However, when they do, they include:
A persistent, strong urge to urinate
Pain (burning sensation) while urinating
Passing small amounts of urine
Cloudy (blood-tinged) urine
Pelvic or lower back pain
Nausea and vomiting
Types of urinary tract infection
Types of UTI depend on the location of the infection. They include:
Acute pyelonephritis: the infection occurs in the kidney. Common symptoms are upper back and side pain and shaking and chills
Cystitis: the infection occurs in the bladder. Common signs are frequent, painful urination, and pelvic pressure.
Urethritis: the infection occurs in the urethra. Common signs are discharge and burning feeling when urinating.
Effective Home Remedies To Prevent UTI During Pregnancy
You can apply the below tips to avoid getting a UTI during pregnancy:
1. Practice good hygiene
Bathing thoroughly daily can keep UTI away during pregnancy. Pay attention to your genital area. Clean your genitalia with warm water.
And after using toilets, you should wipe from front to back to avoid contaminating the genitalia.
2. Wear cotton underwear
Cotton underwear keeps the vagina dry, and they are comfortable. Synthetic underwear causes friction, which leads to fluid discharge hence irritability.
3. Change underwear daily
If possible, change undergarment twice a day. This minimizes the chances of E. coli getting to the urethra.
4. Eat healthy foods
A balanced diet boosts immunity. Thus, your body can wade away harmful bacteria. Foods like cranberries, broccoli, oranges, dark chocolate, blueberries, and unsweetened probiotic yogurt prevent UTI.
5. Avoid feminine products
According to Medical News Today, feminine products increase the risk of bacterial infections 3.5 times and UTI risk by 2.5 times higher. The product alters the vaginal environment to encourage the growth of bad bacteria. So, avoid products like intimate washes, douches, perfumes, or sprays
Home remedies for UTI in women during Pregnancy
1. Drink plenty of fluids
Regular urination helps to flush bacteria from the urinary tract; thus, preventing an infection. One study shows that low urine output can increase the risk of developing a UTI.
Low fluid intake and infrequent urination have a strong link to recurrent urinary tract infections.
When you take a lot of fluids, you pee many times. As a result, you flush bacteria from your urinary system.
You can take plain water – 8 glasses a day is normal. But because of UTI, you can take more.
2. Urinate when immediately the urge comes
Emptying your bladder often is one of the home remedies for UTI that many people overlook.
How often do you empty your bladder in a day?
Don’t hold urine in that bladder. Holding urine creates a favorable environment for bacteria to flourish.
When you pee, you remove the bacteria.
3. Increase vitamin C intake
Vitamin C increases urine acidity, which kills bacteria responsible for urinary tract infections. Besides, it is a potent antioxidant that powers your body defenses.
So, it offers a protective effect, which cuts the risk of getting UTI while pregnant.
Eat foods rich in vitamin C or take a vitamin C supplement at a concentration of 85 mg per day.
4. Take a probiotic
Probiotics called Lactobacilli are beneficial in treating as well as preventing UTIs. It promotes a healthy balance of microbiota in your gut.
The probiotics work in two way:
Prevent harmful bacteria from attaching to cells of the urinary tract
They produce hydrogen peroxide (strong antibacterial) in the urine.
Remember, Lactobacillus binds to the cells lining the urinary tract. Thus, it prevents pathogens from attaching to these cells.
So probiotics are one of the best UTI treatment without antibiotics
5. Try clove oil
The antibacterial effects of clove oils have shown promising results against UTIs. A 2016 study shows that clove oil kills E. coli, especially antibiotic-resistant E. coli.
Take the clove internally for 2 weeks. But, you should do it under the guidance of a nutritionist or doctor.
6. Drink unsweetened/pure cranberry juice
Cranberry juice is a well-known home remedy for UTI. The juice prevents E. coli bacteria from attaching to the urinary tract. Hence, limiting bacteria colonization and growth.
Pure cranberry juice/extract can reduce the number of infections in people with recurrent UTI. This makes them an excellent preventive strategy.
Take 120-300 mL of cranberry juice 3 times daily or take capsule 1(20-800 mg) of dried cranberries 1-2 times a day.
7. Avoid harsh soaps
Using harsh soaps/cleansers to clean the genitalia can result in the inflammation of the urethra. Inflammation increases susceptibility to infection.
Besides, harsh soap causes drying of vaginal tissues, which results in tears. Tears let in harmful bacteria, encouraging infection.
Therefore, clean your genitalia using warm water and plain mild soap.
8. Wash the area around the anus daily
Use warm, clean water to clean this area, and then wipe with a clean, dry towel or tissue.
9. Wipe front to back after visiting the toilet
Gently wipe from front to back after every bowel movement. Wiping back to front brings pathogenic bacteria close to the urethra opening.
Wipe once, and throw the tissue. Pick a new tissue and wipe the second time. Using the tissue twice only spreads fecal matter to other areas.
After urinating, wipe from the front of your vagina towards the back using a clean tissue. When done, use a separate tissue to clean your anus beginning from the perineum and wiping backward.
10. Pee after sexual intercourse
UTI has a close association with sex since sexual intercourse can lead to cystitis.
Usually, The penis puts pressure on the urethra, which pushes the bacteria towards the bladder.
And since the urethra is short, the bacteria reached the bladder easily, causing infection.
So when you urinate after sex, you flush the bacteria out of the urinary system.
11. Empty the bladder completely
When you retain urine in your bladder, you give bacteria a chance to grow. Therefore, ensure that you empty your bladders while peeing.
Again, do not hold urine for long. Holding urine for 3 to 4 hours is enough time for bacteria to grow. Empty your bladder soon has the urge to urge to urinate hits you.
12. Treat Vaginal Infections
A bacteria called Gardnerella vaginalis can trigger E. coli from a previous infection to begin growing. Thus, causing UTI to recur.
Therefore, early treatment for your vaginal infection can limit the risks of getting a UTI.
13. Pain relief medication
Urinary tract infections can be painful and uncomfortable.
Phenazopyridine is effective in relieving urinary tract pain, burning, irritation, and discomfort. Additionally, the drug eliminates urgent and frequent urination caused by UTI.
Phenazopyridine can be OTC or prescription medication.
14. Apply heat at the pelvic region
One effect of a urinary tract infection is pelvic pain. Beyond using pain killers, you can manage the discomfort by applying heat around the area. Heat improves blood flow, in turn reducing pain.
You can sit in a tub filled with warm water. Alternatively, you can use a warm compress or a heating pad on your belly.
15. Avoid Food that irritates the bladder
Irritation to the bladder can escalate your UTI. You can improve the performance of your bladders by making some lifestyle adjustments.
Certain foods and beverages are known bladder irritants. They include:
Coffee and tea
Acidic fruits like oranges, grapefruits, lemons, and limes
Tomato products – pasta, ketchup, pizza sauce
16. Use Lubricants during sex
Pregnant and sexually active women should use a lubricant to prevent excessive friction. Excessive friction causes micro-trauma to the urethral mucosa, which enhances the entry of bacteria.
When to see a doctor
It is good practice to see a doctor soon as you notice UTI symptoms. A mild form of urinary tract infection might subside on their own.
A family doctor, an internal medicine physician or a nurse practitioner can diagnose as well as treat a UTI. However, if you have frequent UTIs, then you may be referred to a urologist. If the infection reaches the kidney, then nephrologist will attend to you.
The sad part is, asymptomatic UTI may go unnoticed, and therefore untreated. This might lead to severe complications later on.