Can you treat a UTI without antibiotics?
Exploring other UTI treatment options
Antibiotics are an effective method for treating urinary tract infections (UTIs), however they aren’t the only option. In our current medical landscape antibiotics tend to be commonly over-prescribed which, in some cases, can lead to the body developing resistance to them. And aside from that, for a lot of folks with vaginas, antibiotics can also cause yeast infections. And let me tell you, ricocheting from a UTI to a yeast infection and back again…..It’s not fun and it's not sustainable.
For these reasons and many others, lots of folks who suffer from UTIs (and especially chronic UTIs) have sought out other methods for treating them. Ultimately, if the UTI is bad enough it does need to be treated with antibiotics to ensure that the infection doesn’t spread. But, for mild UTIs, there are lots of ways to combat and hopefully completely clear them up without having to turn to antibiotics.
A UTI is an infection in the urinary tract system, which can include infection in the urethra, bladder, kidneys, and uterus. Usually infections remain in the lower urinary tract (urethra and bladder), but if left untreated or if bad enough they can move upward to the uterus or kidneys. Once you notice UTI symptoms it's really important to get on top of treatment fast so that infection doesn’t spread and cause further health complications.
Infection in the urinary tract system is basically caused by bacteria making its way up there and sticking to the lining of the urethra and bladder. So your goal in treating it is to get all that bacteria to un-stick. Do-it-yourself UTI treatment is the deluxe car wash of the urinary tract, and you have to make sure you have the right tool for the job.
The most important part of this car wash is the water. Hydrate. We cannot stress this enough. Hydrate. Hydrate. Hydrate. Drinking a lot of water will help to flush your urinary tract and expedite scrubbing of that bacteria.
I’m sure that you’ve heard the age old recommendation to drink cranberry juice. It’s seemingly been passed down from generation to generation since the dawn of time, but somewhere along the way a key element of this equation was lost in translation. Cranberry juice isn’t going to do anything to help your UTI. Especially cranberry cocktails. That’s a huge myth. Yes, cranberry is extremely helpful for UTIs. It helps to keep bacteria from sticking to the lining of the urinary tract. But in order to be useful, it has to be consumed in the purest form possible. So either cranberry extract or something like Cheeky Bonsai’s UTI Drink Mix which contains pure cranberry extract as well as d-mannose, which also keeps bacteria from sticking. A double whammy.
Taking probiotics can also help prevent and potentially expedite UTI treatment. The goal there is making sure that you maintain the good bacteria and give bad bacteria less of a chance to stick around. Staying on a regiment of daily probiotics will also be helpful if you do end up having to go on antibiotics at some point. If you want to go above and beyond, try adding some probiotic rich foods to your diet too. Yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, and some types of cheese are excellent sources of probiotics and, like, they just taste good.
Making sure you’re getting enough vitamin C is also super important, not just for preventing and treating UTIs, but for overall health. Vitamin C strengthens your immune system and can lower the pH of urine, which may make it harder for bacteria to thrive and cause infection.
Even if you’re still sitting on the toilet waiting for your friend to drop off Drink Mix and vitamin C, there’s two simple actions you can take right out of the gate; completely emptying your bladder when you pee and wiping front to back. Yeah, it’s gonna burn, honey. But emptying your bladder completely will help to keep stripping the bacteria off your bladder wall and clear out your urethra. Additionally, wiping front to back will help to ensure that no more bacteria gets up in there and makes the infection worse.
Regardless of whether you treat your UTI with antibiotics or not, UTIs can be…hella painful, to say the very least. A burning sensation while peeing is a common symptom, and while you’re hydrating and loading up on cranberry extra, d-mannose, electrolytes, and vitamin C, I’m guessing you’ll want something to ease the pain. Luckily, there is over-the-counter pain treatment for UTIs that has nothing to do with antibiotics. The substance is called phenazopyridine hydrochloride and it numbs your urinary tract so you can continue to live your life while you heal. The worst thing it does is turn your pee orange (temporarily), and in a weird way, seeing the orange is kind of soothing because it’s an indicator that relief is on it’s way. Cheeky Bonsai’s UTI Pain Relief tablets will do the job.
The absolute best advice we can give when you find yourself at a UTI crossroads is to listen to your body. Look, if you’re peeing blood, burning like crazy, and not thinking straight, it’s time to go to the doctor. This is not a moment to step onto your high horse and avoid professional medical advice. But, if you are simply experiencing mild discomfort or are prone to chronic UTIs that you have successfully cleared without antibiotics in the past, you do not need to feel like antibiotics are your only option. While UTIs suck, antibiotic resistance and antibiotic symptoms and yeast infections also suck. Listen to your body and seek medical attention when it’s warranted.