Ugh. The dreaded burn while you pee. There are worse things happening in the world, but when you're suffering with a UTI, the pain and burn can distract you from your job, your studies and your life!
My experience with a UTI can be summed up as such: painful, expensive, and exploiting my gut health in the sake of treating an infection that could have been treated naturally. Here's my experience with treating a UTI with antibiotics and what I use now that I've done my research into natural remedies for a UTI.
When I first experienced the burn, I remember asking my dorm roommate what to do. She was older, more sophisticated, and showed up on move-in day with a bottle of vodka. She'd always seemed purposeful and experienced (vodka and all), so I felt like she'd know what to do.
Her response? 100% Cranberry juice.
"Chug it and you'll be fine." (She'd done this before).
But, I didn't trust myself. I didn't trust her, either. I'd never experienced a UTI before and the worst came to mind: if I didn't seek professional medical help, it would worsen. I made an assumption that the doctor knew better and that there was no way a natural remedy like cranberry juice could cure this: it hurt too much and I wanted it gone, now!
So, what did I do?
I went over to the walk-in clinic in our college town, even though, deep down, I felt like giving cranberry juice a go: it was cheaper and tasted better, which were two very important factors as a young college student.
After peeing in a cup at the walk-in clinic, they determined it was a UTI (duh) and gave me a prescription for antibiotics. I was to consume antibiotics over the next week; if I had continued trouble, I could come back in for more.
Yes, I ended up taking the full dose of antibiotics. And, yes, it cured my UTI.
Gasp! Yes, antibiotics can work; however, had I trusted my gut, I would have saved money and my immune system & gut health from the havoc the antibiotics wreaked on it. For two more years, I suffered from additional bacterial infections from the antibiotics killing my gut flora and lowered immunity.
This is why opting for natural remedies when possible (and there isn't a life-threatening situation) is beneficial: not only for your wallet but also for your long-term health.
So, should I be chugging cranberry juice for my UTI?
Before you run to the store to buy cranberry juice for your UTI, let's back it up a bit.
The evidence for cranberries is a bit conflicting: WebMD says cranberries may, or may not, have any real affect on UTIs, depending on which study you read. And, they might be right. Why? Because, cranberry juice these days has so many added flavors, coloring, and artificial ingredients, while the marketing causes even more confusion for consumers.
It's important to note that if you want to treat your body with a natural remedy that you're purchasing 100% pure products. It's no wonder these studies show varying accounts of the effectiveness of cranberries!
For example, the Ocean Spray 100% Juice Cranberry includes not only cranberry but:
Cranberry Juice from Concentrate (Water, Juice Concentrate), Grape Juice from Concentrate (Water, Juice Concentrate), Apple Juice from Concentrate (Water, Juice Concentrate), Pear Juice from Concentrate (Water, Juice Concentrate), Natural Flavors, Pectin, Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C)
As you can see from the above ingredient list, the Ocean Spray Cranberry juice is indeed made from 100% juice, but it is not 100% cranberry juice, which is a huge distinction. If you want to give cranberry juice a go for your UTI, make sure to purchase cranberry juice that is legit 100% pure cranberry juice with no additives. You'll know when you've found a pure cranberry juice as it's generally very deep red and more expensive due to the purity. This is a brand I like.
As you can see, the ingredients of the Lakewood Cranberry Juice is:
Juice and puree (fiber) pressed from certified organic cranberries.
Yep. Totally different than Ocean Spray! Plus, potentially more effective, depending on your body.
If you have recurring UTIs, consuming pure cranberry juice daily is not a bad idea, especially if you like the taste. Living a holistic lifestyle means that you are aware of what your individual body needs and integrate the foods and supplements your body needs to thrive.
"women who drank 1.7 ounces of cranberry-lingonberry juice concentrate every day for six months lowered their risk of getting a UTI by 20% compared to women who didn't use any intervention."
It's also important for me to share that with UTI's I've experience since that first one, I've tried the 100% pure cranberry juice and it didn't work for me. I personally found it a bit slow going and didn't seem to do much for me, although it might work for you. Please give different remedies a try to figure out what works for you.
What I've Used (With Success!) For Recurrent UTIs
Although cranberry juice can prove effective for some people depending on the type of cranberry juice being consumed, my recommendation is D-Mannose Powder, which is a simple sugar that occurs within plants, including cranberries. Simply mix a teaspoon of the powder in water and drink up to two times a day for a week.
Additionally, EarthClinic has lots of user testimonials about the effeciveness of D-Mannose, which are worth reading through if you have time. Personally, D-Mannose Powder was prescribed to me by my naturopath and is something I always suggest to friends and family suffering from UTIs.
A bottle of D-Mannose costs anywhere from $12-16 bucks, depending on where you purchase and how much you buy. I've keep a bottle on hand in our bathroom for preventative measures, or when I feel a UTI might be coming on. Turning to D-Mannose saves me money and preserves my gut health in the long run, too, which is majorly important to me.
Is there anything else I can do to prevent a UTI naturally?
Another worthwhile remedy for UTIs is apple cider vinegar (ACV): just take a look a the 90+ reviews of ACV as a remedy for a UTI on EarthClinic.
Additionally, ACV is known for it's curative power for most any ailment. I use Bragg's ACV or Spectrum depending on what's available at the store and recommend both. As an overall preventative for high blood pressure, obesity, colds & boosting immunity, it's a worthwhile supplement to have in your kitchen and take consistently.
Other benefits of ACV include:
- Rich in enzymes & potassium
- Support a healthy immune system
- Helps control weight
- Promotes digestion & ph Balance
- Helps soothe dry throats
- Helps remove body sludge toxins
- Helps maintain healthy skin
- Helps promote youthful, healthy bodies
- Soothes irritated skin
- Relieves muscle pain from exercise
My Suggested Protocol For Treating A UTI Naturally
As you can see, there are no clear-cut answers about what works for any individual body: the studies show that cranberry juice works for some people while it doesn't work for others: myself included.
My suggestion is to alleviate your UTI using this protocall:
- D-Mannose Powder first, drinking 1 teaspoon mixed in water 2x a day for a week
- Supplement with ACV, drinking 2 tablespoons in 8 oz of water & honey to taste daily for a week (or longer!)
- 2 ounces of 100% pure, organic cranberry juice every day for a week
Listen to your body: it tells you everything you need to know. If one of these remedies doesn't work for you, keep pushing for your own individual answer. What works for me may not work for you and vice versa: this is a wellness revolution and all about finding what works for each of us on an individual level.
Explore your options, research the possibilities and take action to see what works best for you. Have you ever had a UTI? What did you use to cure it?
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