Marked by pelvic pain and frequent, painful urination, a urinary tract infection (UTI) can be either a bacterial or viral infection in the kidneys, bladder or urethra. Unfortunately, postmenopausal women are more prone to UTIs than any other population because declining estrogen causes tissue in the urethra to thin, making it more prone to infection.
Antibiotics can help, but they can also be pricey. Luckily, there are low-cost, natural UTI cures that you can try at home.
You’ve heard of cranberry juice as a UTI remedy, but bacteria can thrive on the refined sugar in the sweetened version. “I advise drinking 8 oz. of unsweetened cranberry juice three times daily at the first signs of urinary burning and urgency, which signal an infection,” says Laura Corio, M.D. Studies show the proanthocyanidins in cranberries help thwart UTIs by preventing bacteria from sticking to cells in the bladder and urethra.
Adding just one large clove of garlic to your daily diet (raw or cooked) can help banish bladder troubles for good in as little as two months. In fact, recent studies prove that the aromatic sulfur compounds in garlic effortlessly destroy 82 percent of bladder bacteria — including even the most aggressive germs, which have been found to be resistant to at least five of today’s prescription antibiotics!
At the first hint of trouble, start drinking 1 tsp. of baking soda mixed into 12 oz. of water twice daily until you feel better. Canadian scientists say baking soda stalls the growth of bladder bacteria, while keeping urine diluted helps flush germs 48 percent faster and eases that burning gotta-go feeling.
This herbal supplement (also called uva ursi) is one of the richest sources of arbutin, a plant compound that stops the growth of 70 different urinary bacteria when taken at the first signs of a UTI, say German scientists. Experts advise taking 500 mg. three times daily for three days to knock out an infection. One to try: Solaray Uva Ursi 500 mg., (Buy at VitaminShoppe, $11.99).
Shaking Your Hips
Holding in urine when you have a UTI can cause bacteria to build up, compounding the infection, but that constant gotta-go feeling makes it hard to know if you’ve really voided your bladder and urethra. To ensure you’ve flushed urine and harmful bacteria out of your system, doctors at New York City’s Mount Sinai Hospital recommend a simple Hula-Hoop move: Urinate as usual, then stand up and while hovering over the toilet, rotate your hips for 20 seconds as if using a Hula-Hoop (this stimulates the bladder to release any residual urine). Sit down to urinate again.
This article originally appeared in our print magazine, Save on Healthcare (Buy on Amazon, $12.99).