If you’ve ever had a urinary tract infection (UTI), you know how miserable it can be. The burning upon urination, the nonstop urge to urinate followed by little or no relief, and even pain or pressure in your lower abdomen—it’s downright miserable. You’re left counting the moments until it’s over, ready to try almost anything to get UTI symptom relief fast!
Believe it or not, 11 percent of women over the age of 18 in the U.S. experience at least one UTI each year. And UTIs tend to occur most commonly in women between ages 18 and 24. Perhaps the worst feature of UTIs is their tendency to recur, with the current recurrence rate at 24 percent.  And 5 percent of women actually experience multiple UTIs within a year. 
Now, if you’ve ever had a UTI, odds are pretty high that you were treated with an antibiotic to rid your urinary tract of the bacteria causing your symptoms. However, with the current trend of antibiotic resistance and increasing likelihood of having your normal gut bacteria affected via the use of antibiotics, it begs the question: Is there another way to find UTI symptom relief without all the side effects?
The answer here is yes! You just have to know where to start and what questions/requests to bring to your doctor. So, let’s discuss what a UTI is, the five best natural remedies for UTIs, and exactly how they work.
What Is a UTI?
A UTI occurs when microbes (both bacterial and fungal) enter into your urinary tract and cause an infection. Fungal UTIs are less common, though they do happen. The bacteria E. coli is actually responsible for most UTIs, causing approximately 90 percent of all occurrences. 
Interestingly, women are more at risk of developing UTIs and experiencing recurring UTIs due to the fact that a woman’s urethra is shorter than a man’s, which allows bacteria to access the bladder more easily. Other factors contributing to the development of a UTI include: not drinking enough water, holding urine for too long, kidney stones, sexual intercourse, diabetes, hormonal changes, and more. 
Luckily, there are many natural remedies that provide UTI symptom relief by targeting the root cause: bacterial overgrowth. Keep reading to learn more about my top five remedies.
UTI Symptom Relief: Top 5 Natural Remedies
Here are five of the top natural remedies for UTI symptom relief.
If you’ve never heard of D-mannose, you’ve likely heard of the main fruit that contains it—cranberries. D-mannose is a type of simple sugar found in several foods, but mainly in cranberries, and it’s actually the main component that makes cranberries effective in treating UTIs.
As the D-mannose passes through your urinary tract, it’s believed to latch on to the E. coli lurking in there and flush it out, preventing the bacteria from attaching to your cells and causing further infection. And because studies have shown that most UTIs are caused by E. coli, D-mannose is an incredibly effective remedy for UTI symptom relief.
In fact, multiple studies have found that D-mannose is comparable to antibiotics in terms of treatment and prevention of UTIs in women.  And one study on over 300 women found that D-mannose was as effective as an antibiotic in treating UTIs for six months. In addition, it was found to reduce related symptoms and was even more effective at preventing recurring infections than the antibiotic! 
If you’re looking to take D-mannose to prevent UTIs or for UTI symptom relief, make sure to follow the package directions under the guidance of your physician.
2. Vinegar sitz baths
In some studies, apple cider vinegar has been found to decrease bacterial pathogens by up to 90 percent.  Given this amazing benefit of fighting infections, I often recommend vinegar sitz baths to my female patients who’ve reached puberty, as vinegar water is actually a great match for the acidic level in the vagina.
You can start by filling your tub with 3 to 4 inches of warm water and then adding ¼ to ½ cup apple cider vinegar to the mix. Soak for 15 to 20 minutes and then dry off. You can repeat this daily as needed for UTI symptom relief until your symptoms are gone. I find that starting this routine right at the start of symptoms often eradicates it altogether. For those with chronic UTIs, I recommend practicing this routine regularly—a few times a week for prevention. As a bonus, it can help with yeast UTIs as well!
Interestingly, multiple studies have shown that probiotics, especially those containing Lactobacilli, are incredibly beneficial both for preventing recurrent UTIs in women and aiding in UTI symptom relief.  And these studies revealed that both oral and vaginal administration was proven to be helpful.
In addition, a meta-analysis covering almost 300 adult women showed that probiotics containing Latcobacillus inserted vaginally were also found to be effective in preventing recurrent UTIs.  Additional double-blind, placebo-controlled studies have confirmed these results as well. [12, 13]
If you’re not sure where to start, check out my article on how to choose the best probiotic for you.
4. Unsweetened cranberry juice or supplements
While I don’t find cranberry juice or supplements as effective as D-mannose, if you’re in a bind or want to ward off UTIs but don’t have access to D-mannose, unsweetened cranberry juice has been shown to help prevent them.
In fact, one study compared use of cranberry versus a placebo and revealed that the placebo group experienced over twice the amount of UTIs as the cranberry group.  Furthermore, another study that also compared the use of cranberry versus a placebo in women revealed that 32 percent of those who used the placebo experienced UTIs. Meanwhile, only 20 percent of those who drank cranberry juice and 18 percent of those who took cranberry tablets contracted UTIs. 
If you decide to try this natural remedy for UTI symptom relief, make sure you’re drinking unsweetened, unprocessed cranberry juice. Why? The sugar in many juices could hinder your body’s ability to heal, particularly when it comes to infections caused by yeast. Or you may choose to take the cranberry supplements by following the directions on the box. They’re readily available at most health food stores and your local pharmacy.
5. Uva ursi
This natural remedy has been used for UTI symptom relief for centuries. Also known as bearberry (due to the fact that bears enjoy eating these berries), uva ursi was commonly used to treat bladder infections before antibiotics were discovered.
Studies have shown that uva ursi contains the chemicals arbutin and hydroquinone along with tannins, which enable the berry to not only fight infections by reducing the bacteria in your urine but also help to lower inflammation.  In a study of 57 women with recurrent UTIs, researchers found that pairing uva ursi with dandelion roots significantly helped to prevent recurring UTIs in the women a year later. The scientists believed it worked due to the infection-fighting compounds in uva ursi and the diuretic effects of the dandelion. 
Because uva ursi can be toxic for some, you should discuss this natural remedy with your physician before proceeding.
[H3] Key Takeaways
- The conventional treatment for UTIs tends to be treatment with antibiotics. However, with the emerging trend of antibiotic resistance, many are seeking other treatments for UTI symptom relief.
- UTIs are more common in women due to their anatomy. Other risk factors for UTIs include: not drinking enough water, holding urine for too long, kidney stones, sexual intercourse, diabetes, hormonal changes, and more.
- Approximately 90 percent of all UTIs are caused by the bacteria E. coli, though some can be caused by an overgrowth of fungi.
- The top natural remedies that not only address the root cause of UTIs but also help provide UTI symptom relief include: D-mannose, vinegar sitz baths, probiotics, unsweetened cranberry juice or supplements, and uva ursi.