How to treat urinary tract infections

If you're prescribed antibiotics, be sure to finish the course. Meanwhile, drink cranberry juice—it really works—and follow the following advice to shorten the infection and ease the pain.

Natural remedies

  • When the urine is alkaline, as happens in strict vegetarians, the herb uva ursi is particularly recommended. Others can also use the remedy, but should, temporarily, follow a strict diet that includes plenty of fruit and vegetables and very little meat.
  • Ease the sting with a sitz bath. The warmth of the water helps to reduce pelvic discomfort. Add a few drops of sandalwood essential oil; this herb is used in Ayurvedic medicine to combat urinary tract infections.

Healing teas

  • Make a tea of lovage (a member of the carrot family) by pouring a cup of boiling water over 2 teaspoons of minced, dried lovage root. Steep for 10 minutes, then strain and drink. This garden herb contains components with anti-inflammatory and bacteria-killing powers. It's also a diuretic, which helps to flush out the system.
  • Parsley has natural diuretic properties and so helps flush the bladder of problem-causing bacteria. Simmer 2 tablespoons of chopped fresh parsley in 1 litre of water, steep for 15 minutes and strain. Drink the liquid over a period of an hour to give your bladder a good flushing out.

Cold drinks

  • Avoid citrus drinks, tomato juice, coffee and alcohol. All of these drinks may make urination more painful.

Severe infections

See a doctor if you have any symptoms of cystitis—running to the toilet every 10 minutes and an excruciating burning sensation when you urinate—that persist after 24 to 36 hours of home treatment.

You also need to see the doctor if the burning sensation is accompanied by a vaginal or penile discharge; if the symptoms are accompanied by back pain, shivering or a temperature; or if there is blood in your urine.

Also see a doctor if you get recurrent attacks of cystitis even after taking preventive measures, or if you are pregnant.

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