Bladder Infection Remedy

I received a bladder infection remedy request yesterday from a friend, and so I wrote back several things she could try to ease her discomfort.  I realized that I had promised long ago to write up some remedies for bladder infections, so I thought I’d take care of that today.

Causes of a Urinary Tract Infection
There are two possible causes that I know of for bladder infections.  The first, and probably most common is the bacterial bladder infection.  It will culture positive at the Dr’s office, and an antibiotic may work to cure it.

The problem with bladder infections is that, since the bladder is the last stop before leaving the body, most meds are already broken down to the point where they don’t do much good by the time they land in the bladder.  This is why there are limited antibiotics for UTI’s…and it’s pretty common to have recurrence after a round of antibiotics, unfortunately.  Antibiotics also hinder all the bacteria throughout your digestive system, including the beneficial ones that aid in digestion.

The other type of bladder infection will not show up on the cultures…they are caused by yeast.  Some may experience yeast bladder infections after taking an antibiotic.  This type of bladder infection is difficult to treat, and staying away from sugar, processed foods, and carbohydrates is critical to weed it out of your system.

Fortunately, there are natural bladder infection remedies that help with both types of infections.

My Favorite Bladder Infection Remedy

My favorite natural remedy for bladder infections is called D-Mannose.  It’s my silver-bullet for bacterial bladder infections.  D-Mannose is a naturally occurring sugar that is found in minute amounts in cranberries and a few other foods.  It’s also available in ‘pure’ form in either powder or capsules, so you can *just* get the benefits of it without having to drink gallons of unsweetened cranberry juice.

Unlike most other forms of sugar, D-Mannose is *not* metabolized or broken down by our digestive tracts, so it leaves the body intact, and does not affect the blood sugar levels.  When it passes through the bladder, the bacteria are highly attracted to it, and will attach to it, and are carried out in the urine.  It is available in health food stores, and online.  I buy my D-Mannose 500 mg – 120 Caps here at Amazon (and I get free shipping with a $25 order!)

I will *never* be without D-Mannose in my medicine cabinet.  Ever.  I even have a little handful of capsules in my first aid kit in the car.  Just in case.

This is another WONDERFUL article on using D-Mannose for UTI Prevention Validated in a Clinical Trial.

When I feel the first inkling of a bladder infection coming on, I will take about 4 capsules, and just drink a *normal* amount of water, to allow the mannose build up in the bladder.  The bacteria just adore the stuff, and will release from the bladder tissue and ride away on the beloved mannose molecules.  I will usually feel completely better, but will take another 4 a couple more times that day just to be sure.

Natural Remedies for Bladder Infections

Since my friend is out of the country, and is unable to get her hands on D-Mannose quickly, here is what I wrote to her about other natural bladder infection remedies.  This is also what I would do for yeast based infections, besides the ‘normal’ routine of lots of water and unsweetened cranberry juice.

“I had a bladder infection two years ago, I woke up with blood in my urine. All I knew to do at that time was the French Onion soup, and oral raw garlic (blech!)…I didn’t do any of the other things I will list for you below, and almost all the symptoms went away.

I finally went in to see the doctor a few days later, because I still ‘felt it’ a little after I would pee…I still had a little inflammation. My doctor did the culture and said “You must have just come down with this, because you’re urine isn’t even throwing nitrates yet.” Meaning, that the bacteria start creating nitrates as the infection sets in. She was stunned that I’d had it for several days, but was keeping it under control with garlic and french onion soup! :)
I’m almost positive that I could have kicked it if I had known about using garlic externally, and onion presses as an anti-inflammatory.

Here are the things I would do now, if I couldn’t get my hands on any D-Mannose:

1. take a bath and use baking soda in the water. Swish into the general area. (this changes the ph to be unfriendly to bacteria)

2. Use an onion press on the area…this is how you make on onion press.
I’d also probably throw in some garlic cloves to your press for extra anti-biotic boost. Learn more about using garlic remedies here. 

3. Eat as many onions and garlic as you can in everyday foods…in ways that you *enjoy* eating them. I made a BIG pot of french onion soup when I had my bladder infection, and ate it several times a day. Salsa, fresh garlic butter toast, or fresh garlic ground in hummus would also be great ways…however you can think to get it into your diet in good quantities will help.

4. NO sugar. No dairy. No processed foods, or wheat products…meaning breads, or anything made with flour or pasta.   The carbs from these foods are natural sugars that wind up in the bloodstream and feed the bacteria.  Many people find that they recover faster if they avoid meat.  Meat is hard to digest, thus using up the body’s energy and resources.  Dairy can also cause excess mucous production, so it’s best to skip it when you’re not feeling well.  Cultured, unsweetened diary is fine, and homemade bone/meat broths are excellent…very easy to digest and nutritious.

5. Up your vitamin C intake.  Products like Emergen-C are excellent for getting big doses of ascorbic acid, but a whole food vitamin C supplement is an even better choice.  The Singing Canary recipe (here) is my very favorite way to get a great boost of vitamin C using low-glycemic lemons, and the power of turmeric as a natural anti-inflammatory.

Anything you can do to boost your immune system, and get natural anti-inflammatory properties of onion and the awesome natural antibiotic (and anti-fungal) properties of garlic into your blood stream are going to be really beneficial for you.”

The MOST Important Thing About Treating a UTI

The best time to treat for any infection or illness is *as soon as* you
begin to notice the first symptoms.  Allowing yeast or bacteria to
multiply overnight, or even for a few hours can make a big difference in
how quickly you can bounce back.  Home remedies work best if you begin
treating at the first signs of a problem.

Bladder infections can be really serious, so start preventative treatment early, and aggressively, until you have no more symptoms, and then treat a wee bit
longer just to be sure.  If you are not seeing good results using home
remedies to prevent a UTI, then please see your doctor.

Here are some additional ideas from my naturally minded friends to chase off a bladder infection:

“When I can feel a UTI coming on (Slight burning  while urinating), I drink at least a gallon of water with lemon in it through out the day. You spend a lot of time on the potty but it flushes the infection out. I also take cranberry and marshmallow
root caps ever hour. Usually by the time I go to bed, there is no more burning. I follow the same protocol the next day just to make sure.

If I missed the “beginning signs” I break out the D’mannose and take a
dose every hour with the about water and supplements. Again, it is
usually gone by the end of the day.

And if I really wait too long, I get an Rx b/c UTIs are painful and can be serious.”~Jessica Y.

My friend Joan K. suggests:

  • Peeing after ‘relations’.
  • Water.
  • Cranberry juice.
  • Garlic.
  • D Mannose.

“Plain cranberry pills haven’t failed me yet.”  ~Jennifer J.

“BEER! When I was a kid I got them all the time and the doctor finally told my mom to give me a beer and chase it with several large glasses of water right when I start to feel one coming on and it would take care of it. She didn’t do it for
a long time, but finally gave in after I had a month where we’d been to
the doctor 3X for UTI’s and voila! No more bladder infection. It was
my #1 go to remedy until I found out about D-Mannose. 
When I was a kid I only drank about half, after a full meal.   Now I just hold my nose and down one.” ~Delois M.  [Note: this is probably due to the yeast in beer competing with the bacteria, as well as the diuretic properties of beer.]

Have you had good results treating a UTI with a home remedy?  What works for you?


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  1. heatherma says

    my midwife suggested alternating baking soda water with plain water every 30 min. for a UTI.
    2 c. water 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
    1 c water plain
    1 c water 1 tsp b. soda
    1 c water plain
    1 c water 1 tsp b. soda
    drink to thirst remainder of day with a pinch of baking soda mixed in. May repeat the next day. (beyond that, I have no experience as it was always resolved after round 1 or 2.) LOVE this remedy, effective and almost free!

    • Its_Gwen says

      I’ve not heard of that one, but I know baking soda can help neutralize the ph. Interesting take on it!

  2. Donny Darkoh says

    I think the ‘natural remedy’ world needs to meet the hard-science world. Treating a UTI has everything to do with which microbe you’re trying to kick.

    If you have an e-coli infection, D-Mannose, cranberry pills, and tons of water work great. Cystex tablets also help.

    However, if you’re working with a gram positive bacteria like staph saprophyticus, it’s a whole different ball game. You can’t just wash saprophyticus out. You must actively kill it. You can do this by taking curcumin or forskolin which raise the cAMP levels in your immune system. cAMP kills gram positive bacteria by creating pores in bacteria cell membrane walls. Substances that directly hurt staph are onions, raw garlic and paprika. So eating raw onions, garlic and ‘shoving it up there’ may help. You can keep gram positive bacteria infections from getting worse by keeping the pH of your urine high by drinking baking soda water. This inhibits the bacteria from creating slimy biofilms, but doesn’t completely kill bacteria cultures.

    A lot of times women get reinfected with the same bacteria, so simply diagnosing which strain goes a long way towards treating it for years.

    • Its_Gwen says

      Thank you for those insights, Danny! :) I’m pro-natural remedy AND pro-science and research, so this is great to know. Thanks for sharing!

    • Lee says

      Thank you sooo much for putting this article together. I have been suffering from intermittent bouts of bladder infections for years, and all the doctors have done is thrown antibiotics at it. As I’ve gotten older, the frequency has increased. After reading your article, I was able to deduce the trouble starts after I have ‘overdosed’ on sugar, i.e. chocolate – a LOT of it, given to me on mother’s day. I found a D-Mannose compound at my local GNC store, since I didn’t want to wait for Amazon to deliver it the next day, took four of the capsules in the morning and tada!, I was much better in the evening. Woke up pain free this morning. Absolutely incredible. Thank you!!!

  3. becca says

    If you had a few drinks of beer could that help it too. I know it will make your body numb so I’m just wondering if that would at least stop the sensation of constantly haveig to pee.

  4. amy says

    Oregano is a natural antibiodic and works great!! I take oregano capsules and this last time drank Doterra oregano…one drop per shot of water twice a day. I use cranberry pills with uva ursi in it also. I end up with UTIs that I pee blood without knowing it is stirring in there. Dr. antibiodics were NOT working after two rounds(4 weeks) With these fighters…I hardly ever have a full blown case.

  5. Jane says

    Hello Gwen

    I too have been someone who has had recurring urinary tract infections and after consulting a medical herbalist, it appears that it may be due partly to my age (post menopausal) and also because my body may be too acidic so I am working on that. I also have found something that really helps and although it may seem strange, definitely works. When you first feel that you may have an infection, that evening insert a garlic clove into the vagina and in the morning hopefully you will feel very much better.

    Take one medium sized clove of garlic, then lightly peel it so as to leave a thin ‘skin’ on the garlic. Insert into the vagina and leave overnight (that’s where the funny looks come in). ‘Yes you can fish it out in the morning’ (says Nicky) and apparently she’s right. I’ve had another herbalist, my dear friend and colleague Mary Allan, tell me that she tells her patients to tie some dental floss around the clove, a bit like a tampon, and take it out that way. Another method Mary recommends if she is concerned that her patient might find the treatment too strong is to place the peeled garlic clove in a small piece of muslin cloth before inserting.

    ~ The next night you have to take an actual tampon, slightly wet it so that it absorbs lots of powder, then roll it in a probiotic (healthy bacteria) powder and also insert and leave overnight.

    ~ On the third night you repeat the garlic process a second time exactly as you did the first.

    ~ On the fourth night you repeat the probiotic on the tampon just as you did the first time.

    A third round is often not necessary but may be used if a problem has been long standing and very difficult to shift. Take a break from the treatment now for at least a few days and see how things go. Most women respond very quickly to this treatment although they may still need to repeat it periodically from time to time if the symptoms start to return.

    The last few paragraphs have come from a wonderful medical herbalist Richard Whelan who has an excellent website. I hope this will be useful to many women as UTI’s are not pleasant so anything that can be done to alleviate the symptoms is good.

    Best wishes

      • Lisa says

        It is the best and closest way to get the garlic to the bladder… they are only separated by a thin layer of tissue. the volatile oils in the garlic are easily able to pass through to the bladder from the vagina.

  6. Gail gallanger says

    I have used cranberry juice but for whatever reason it doesn’t work, the same with D mannose.
    However liquid grapefruit seed extract works wonders. The minute I feel one coming on I take 5 a 10
    drops in a glass of water or juice and it’s gone. If I don’t catch it early I take it several times a day or until
    I don’t feel it anymore.

    • says

      Hi Gail,
      I choose not to use Grapefruit Seed extract, as it seems to be a product that relies on contaminants to provide the strong antimicrobial action. The D Mannose doesn’t work for every case of bladder infection for sure, but it’s usually very effective when you’re dealing with a bacterial case.

      • Gretchen says

        Please clarify your comment that grapefruit seed extract seems to rely on contaminants for its anti microbial effects. I have never heard that before.

        • says

          Sure, Gretchen! This article by herbalist Jim McDonald pretty much says it all.

          Here’s a great summary, with emphasis added by me:
          “Tests conducted in multiple laboratories over almost 20 years indicated that all commercial GFSE preparations that exhibited antimicrobial activity contained one or more synthetic microbicides/disinfectants, while freshly-prepared extracts of grapefruit seeds made with a variety of extraction solvents neither exhibited antimicrobial activity nor contained the antimicrobial synthetic compounds found in the commercial ingredient materials. Furthermore, over the course of the 18 years covered by the various analyses, the actual antimicrobial compounds found in the putative grapefruit seed extracts changed from triclosan and methyl p-hydroxybenzoate in early samples to benzethonium chloride in the middle years to mixtures of benzalkonium and/or alkonium chlorides in more recent years.”

  7. Em says

    This is a remedy that I have only recently found(it will be a year in a month) and I swear it works very well for me– Corn Silk Tea- it can be bought but I just dry it from the sweet corn I get from the organic farm a nice little bunch(probably a tablespoon full) dried and simmered in about 3 cups of water and then I add some mint and chamomile for taste, and I must say it does not taste bad to me at all!, I simmer it for about an hour and then drink it hot in the winter and over ice in the summer. and of course as much water as you can stand to drink. it even lowers your blood pressure so monitor your pressure if you take meds for BP.
    it is said to work for children with bed wetting issues if given earlier in the day and for prostate issues but make sure to do your own reading about it there is plenty of good info online now. I haven’t had to take any antibiotics for UTI in almost a year.

  8. Joanna says

    I suffer from digestion problems, and I believe that that is where the yeast infection comes from, so if I don’t eat well enough, live foods, I get an “infection”. This used to happen often, until I found a quick and simple remedy. At the first sign, I blend up several Tbsp of my homemade fermented veggies, with water, and drink that throughout the day, if I still feel anything, I drink more the next day. It has never failed. Just did it again yesterday
    Kefir (homemade) and yogurt don’t really work, so I’m assuming it’s a certain culture that’s needed.

  9. Grandpere says

    Hi Gwen; the Grandmere extraordinare is fighting infection, maybe kidney problem. I am trying to explore garlic use for uti. Would garlic presses with tea tree oil applied to the abdomen be helpful? Just wondering about how to apply without burning or injury.

    • says

      I’ve had the most success with D Mannose. I’d love to hear of your outcome if you work with garlic. I think external application is going to be a little tricky for an infection that’s inside of an organ, but I’m interested to see if that give you good results. :)