UTI Treatment Without Antibiotics: My Natural Protocol
A Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) sucks. They are uncomfortable, painful and make it hard to keep up with everyday life. BUT, they are beatable and the good news is you can successfully get rid of a UTI without the gut-destroying antibiotics I once thought were my only option. And, I am going to share with you my approach to UTI treatment without antibiotics that actually works. It’s an all natural protocol that I use with myself and my clients with great results.
What we will cover:
> How antibiotics can destroy your gut and your health.
> The rise of antibiotic resistance and why you should be concerned.
> The connection between UTIs, antibiotics, thrush and IBS and how to escape the vicious cycle.
> A UTI treatment without antibiotics that works.
> What to do if you must take antibiotics to minimise their negative effects.
How antibiotics destroy your guts
I was a frequent UTI sufferer for many years. I know they aren’t the nicest things to admit to but given that they affect almost 50% of all women, chances are many of you have struggled as well (1). The burning pain “down there” and the need to pee every 2 seconds had me ready to pop an antibiotic almost immediately. I mean, it was just another pesky UTI getting in the way of life that was fixed so easily by a “quick course of 7”. Little did I know the impact that tiny, toxic, antibiotic pill was having on my gut.
I have written a blog post that has lots of detail on how antibiotics destroy your gut, but to save time, here is a 1 minute summary:
The antibiotics enter into your gut, fight all the bad bacteria that is causing the UTI and during the process also kill off a lot of the good bacteria that your body needs to protect itself against other infections. This means that we lose lots of the good guys that support our immune system and leave ourselves susceptible to more infections by bad bacteria in the future. This course of events are often the beginning of what is commonly referred to as “antibiotic-induced IBS” (2, 3), where the dysbiosis in your gut can lead to gastrointestinal symptoms like diarrhoea, gas and bloating. And so the cycle of infection (or UTI), and IBS continues… If only I’d known how to get rid of a UTI without antibiotics.
So, why are many practitioners so quick to prescribe antibiotics?
The current treatment approach for a UTI and why it may lead to eventual antibiotic resistance
Because they can be extremely effective at providing short-term relief. Pop a few pills, drink lots of water and within hours/days your ‘hoo-ha’ doesn’t burn every time you go to the loo. Also, if left untreated, UTIs can lead to kidney disease or fatal blood poisoning, something that, thanks to antibiotics, doesn’t cause as many deaths as it once might have.
But antibiotic resistance is on the rise, including resistant strains of E. coli, the bacteria that cause more than 70% of UTIs (4, 5). And it isn’t necessarily anything to do with you and your choices, but rather the choices of the general population to a) use the wrong type of antibiotic, and b) not finish the full course of antibiotics prescribed. Both of which have led to morphed strains of bacteria that no longer respond to available antibiotic treatments (6).
As a result, practitioners are increasingly using two, three or even four antibiotics to kill resistant UTIs. These third and fourth-line antibiotics are often ‘broad spectrum’, resulting in an even wider destruction of good gut bacteria along the way – like using a grenade to kill a weed in your veggie patch. Now the immune system in your gut is destroyed, and yes, you might have killed this infection, but there is a huge body of research demonstrating that a lack of diversity in gut-friendly bacteria is linked with conditions like allergies, leaky gut, IBD, asthma, obesity, depression, autoimmunity and countless others (7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12). So, it might not be all smooth sailing once the UTI is gone.
Not to mention the failure to address the root cause of the recurrent UTI in the first place. A blog post for another day.
For me and many others, it was a cycle of; UTI >> treated with antibiotics >> then thrush as a result of the antibiotics >> treated with antifungals >> UTI, and so on and so on. Following the conventional model, I could never understand what was causing the horrid cycle I was now in, or figure out how to deal with the consequences of IBS from my destroyed gut from antibiotic abuse.
Enter one very desperate human with antibiotic-induced IBS and a UTI who was equally scared of aggravating her IBS and becoming antibiotic-resistant. Fast forward two years and with extra study, lots of research, and some unfortunately necessary trial and error, I finally found a natural solution to break that vicious cycle.
UTI treatment without antibiotics: current, chronic and prevention options
Here are some protocols that I have created and used on myself and my clients for removing symptoms within an hour, and the infection within 5 days for really chronic cases. Natural protocols do take longer to work than quick-fix antibiotics, however they will not damage the good bacteria in your gut in the same way that antibiotics do, meaning you are less likely to develop another UTI, or other associated conditions, in the future.
Two key things you need to consider before starting a natural protocol for UTI treatment without antibiotics:
1. You really need to have the products on hand and ready to go once you feel symptoms or receive a diagnosis. Many of the products aren’t available at a pharmacy or health food store and need to be ordered online from somewhere like iHerb. By the time they arrive in a few days, you’ll be well and truly over it and probably have reached for the antibiotics in desperation.
2. It is hard work in that you need to be taking products frequently. Natural supplements are not as strong as antibiotics so consistency is key. This is about breaking the cycle of antibiotic use and its negative effects.
UTI Treatment Without Antibiotics – Protocol for current infection
D-Mannose by Source Naturals
> Capsule or powder that prevents bacterial build up in the bladder and urinary tract.
> Take one 500mg capsule every 3 hours, with or away from food, for a minimum of 5 days if you have an infection. This time-period will ensure the whole infection is eradicated and won’t come back. If you have a particularly bad infection and wake from burning pain or the need to use the toilet, you may continue taking capsules throughout the night at 3-5 hourly intervals.
Oil of Oregano by Natural Factors
> Liquid antimicrobial that is cheap and a proven pathogen killer (13). Make sure you use a brand that has at least 60% carvacrol, the active ingredient.
> Take 5 drops either straight into your mouth or diluted in a glass of water 3 times a day with meals.
Probiotics, at least 50 billion units daily, will help increase good bacteria in the gut and bladder and reduce the growth of infection-causing bacteria in the future.
Bicarbonate Soda, drink ½ teaspoon in a glass of water upon waking in the morning and before you go to bed at night to help with alkalising your urine.
Apple Cider Vinegar, 1 tablespoon diluted in 500ml of water as a wash for the vagina can be used throughout the day following going to the toilet to remove bacteria from that region.
Diet: avoid all sugar, alcohol and starchy carbs as this will feed the infection. Add healthy fats into each meal, especially coconut oil due to its antimicrobial properties – aim for 1 tablespoon per day.
For more details on the use of D-Mannose with UTI’s, please refer to Chris Kresser’s article: https://chriskresser.com/treat-and-prevent-utis-without-drugs/
UTI Treatment Without Antibiotics – Options for chronic infection cases
In addition to the above recommendations, here are some extra natural supplements you could consider:
Biofilm Defense by Kirkman Labs
> Can be used to help breakdown the “spider-web” style homes the bad bacteria build inside your gut and bladder, so you have a better chance of flushing them out and getting rid of a chronic infection.
> Take 1-2 capsules daily between meals.
Monolaurin by Ecological Formulas
> An antimicrobial compound from coconut oil that may be useful for UTI’s that are NOT caused by an E.Coli overgrowth.
> Take 1-2 capsules up to 3 times per day.
UTI Prevention Protocol
D-Mannose, by Source Naturals
> 500mg capsule daily, with or away from food, or following high risk activities such as intercourse or during a prolonged course of antibiotics.
What to do if you must take antibiotics to minimise their negative effects
Following a natural protocol does take more time, effort and products so in some cases you might not be in a position to get it done. Like, you might be in the middle of the Inca Trail with a raging infection and no access to D-Mannose. In these cases, you take the antibiotics and you do everything you can to minimise their harmful effects. Lucky for you, I’ve written a blog that covers 5 steps to save your gut after antibiotics.
If you are a UTI sufferer, I urge you to give the natural options for UTI treatment without antibiotics a go. If you would like more information on how to get to the root cause of your UTIs, so that they stop being a regular issue, please schedule in a free 15 minute pre-consultation call so we can have a chat about how I can support you with this:
Note: Affiliate links for iHerb have been included within this blog post.
UTI Treatment Without Antibiotics – References:
- Foxman, B. (2003). Epidemiology of urinary tract infections: incidence, morbidity, and economic costs. Dis Mon, 49(2), 53-70
- Maxwell P., et al. (2002). Antibiotics increase functional abdominal symptoms. Am J Gastroenterol, 97(1), 104-8
- McFarland, L. (2008). Antibiotic-associated diarrhea: epidemiology, trends and treatment. Future Microbiol, 3(5), 563-78
- Nickel, J. C. (2007). Urinary Tract Infections and Resistant Bacteria: Highlights of a Symposium at the Combined Meeting of the 25th International Congress of Chemotherapy (ICC) and the 17th European Congress of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (ECCMID), March 31–April 3, 2007, Munich, Germany. Reviews in Urology, 9(2), 78–80
- Sanchez, G., et al. (2012). In vitro antimicrobial resistance of urinary Escherichia coli isolates among U.S. outpatients from 2000 to 2010. Antimicrob Agents Chemother, 56(4), 2181-3
- Ventola, C. L. (2015). The Antibiotic Resistance Crisis: Part 1: Causes and Threats. Pharmacy and Therapeutics, 40(4), 277–283
- Fasano, A., Shea-Donohue, T. (2005). Mechanisms of disease: the role of intestinal barrier function in the pathogenesis of gastrointestinal autoimmune diseases. Nat Clin Pract Gastroenterol Hepatol, 2(9), 416-22
- Kostic, A., Xavier, R., Gevers D. (2014). The microbiome in inflammatory bowel disease: current status and the future ahead. Gastroenterology, 146(6):1489-99
- Russell, S., et al. (2013). Perinatal antibiotic treatment affects murine microbiota, immune responses and allergic asthma. Gut Microbes, 4(2), 158-64
- Ley, R., et al. (2006). Microbial ecology: Human gut microbes associated with obesity. Nature, 444, 1022-1023
- Dash, S., et al. (2015). The gut microbiome and diet in psychiatry: focus on depression. Curr Opin Psychiatry, 28(1), 1-6
- Tlaskalová-Hogenová, H., et al. (2004). Commensal bacteria (normal microflora), mucosal immunity and chronic inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. Immunol Lett, 93(2-3), 97-108
- Nazzaro, F., Fratianni, F., De Martino, L., Coppola, R., & De Feo, V. (2013). Effect of Essential Oils on Pathogenic Bacteria. Pharmaceuticals, 6(12), 1451–1474