Modern Day Doctor | Ancient Wisdom

What is UTI?

Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs) occur when bacteria, especially Escherichia coli, invade the urinary system, leading to symptoms like an urgent need to urinate and a burning sensation during urination. These infections target the urinary tract‘s components, including the bladder and urethra, and are more prevalent in women due to anatomical differences. Immediate and appropriate treatment of UTIs is vital to halt the progression of the infection to the kidneys, which can lead to serious complications.

The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases reports that bladder infections represent the most common type of UTI. Age, personal habits, or pre-existing health conditions can amplify the risk of UTIs, which can jeopardize the entire urinary system—urethra, bladder, ureters, and kidneys—emphasizing the importance of early symptom recognition.

Evidence underscores the significant roles of urinary tract anatomy, lifestyle, and certain health conditions in UTI development. Consistent urinary routines and adequate fluid intake are essential in reducing bladder infection risks. Additionally, those with conditions impairing bladder emptying or with weakened immune systems are identified as having an elevated risk for UTIs.


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UTIs are most often caused by harmful bacteria that come from fecal matter or surrounding skin. They adhere to the urethra and begin to multiply. 


It is challenging to completely eliminate a UTI within 24 hours; however, initiating treatment with natural remedies like increased water intake and vitamin C can alleviate symptoms rapidly and help prevent spread to areas deeper in the urinary tract like the kidneys. 


The strongest natural treatment for UTIs is D-mannose. This simple sugar, prevalent in fruits, especially cranberries,  and available as a supplement, is believed to thwart the attachment of E. Coli bacteria to the urinary tract, promoting their removal.  If you are using D-Mannose or unsweetened cranberry juice and it is not helping then you may have another bacteria that is immune to this effect. If you don’t see improvements within a couple of days it is important to reach out to your Naturopathic or Medical Doctor for additional care. 

Clinical scientific evidence suggests a considerable role for D-mannose in managing and preventing UTIs. A 2016 study noted a significant resolution of infections in 90% of women with UTIs after a 15-day D-mannose treatment, despite the study’s small cohort and absence of a control arm. These preliminary outcomes are promising for D-mannose’s utility in UTI treatment.

Comparative studies have posited that D-mannose’s efficacy parallels that of antibiotics in preventing recurring infections but with a reduced risk of side effects. A 2013 trial with 308 women substantiated this claim. Typically, D-mannose is tolerated well in doses ranging from 1.5 to 2 grams administered up to three times daily. Nonetheless, individual considerations, particularly for blood sugar management, are imperative when recommending D-mannose. Ongoing research aims to refine the optimal dosage and clarify how D-mannose may consistently aid those with UTIs.


Unsweetened cranberry juice has been studied for its potential to prevent UTIs by hindering bacterial adhesion to the urinary tract. In vitro studies support its anti-adherence effects, particularly against E. coli, which is often implicated in these infections. The safety of cranberry consumption has been established, with studies showing no adverse biochemical or hematological effects. Notably, research suggests unsweetened cranberry juice may reduce bacterial adhesion for up to 8 hours after consumption.


Herbs have therapeutic properties that can offer relief and aid in the prevention of UTIs.


Uva-Ursi converts to hydroquinone in the urine, exhibiting antimicrobial properties against UTI-causing pathogens. The active compound in uva-ursi, arbutin, is metabolized into hydroquinone, which has been reported to be extremely effective against Escherichia coli, eliminating the harmful bacteria that cause UTIs.


Goldenseal contains berberine, which demonstrates antibacterial activity against common urinary pathogens. Berberine, found in goldenseal, has been researched for its antimicrobial activity and is believed to help fight bacterial infections, including those in the urinary tract.


Garlic produces allicin, which is known to have antimicrobial effects that may help in combating urinary tract infections. Garlic has shown potential as an effective treatment for urinary tract infections, especially against multidrug-resistant bacterial strains. Research indicates that even crude extracts of garlic exhibit significant antibacterial activity. In cases where antibiotics were minimally effective or rendered useless due to antibiotic resistance, garlic extracts maintained their efficacy. Over half of the bacterial strains isolated from UTI patients were highly resistant to conventional antibiotics. Yet, 82% of these antibiotic-resistant bacteria were susceptible to garlic extract. This suggests garlic’s compounds have a unique ability to combat bacteria that have evolved antibiotic resistance to standard antibiotic treatments.



Dandelion is recognized for enhancing urine production, and facilitating the expulsion of bacteria from the urinary tract. Historically employed for its diuretic properties, dandelion assists in the prompt clearance of pathogens from the urinary system, serving as a measure to prevent bacteria that cause urinary tract infections.


Horsetail acts as a diuretic to increase urine flow and has antioxidant properties that may reduce inflammation. Its diuretic effect helps to increase urine production, potentially aiding in the elimination of bacteria from the urinary system, while its antioxidant effects may reduce inflammation associated with UTIs.


Parsley functions as a diuretic, which may help in flushing out UTI-causing bacteria. It is recognized for its diuretic properties and has been used in traditional medicine to promote the flushing of bacteria from the urinary tract.

Marshmallow Root 

Marshmallow Root forms a protective lining on the urinary tract tissues, potentially preventing bacterial attachment. Its mucilage content can coat the lining of the urinary tract and may act as a barrier, reducing the likelihood of infection.


Essential oils may offer potential benefits for urinary tract infections due to their antimicrobial and soothing properties. It is important to note that you should not take essential oils internally unless told to do so by your doctor.  They can be extremely potent and dangerous if used this way. 

Oregano Oil 

Oregano oil is beneficial for urinary tract infection treatment due to its potent antibacterial properties. Research suggests that a high concentration of carvacrol and thymol interrupts bacterial growth, including that of UTI-causing strains. Further studies indicate these compounds may disrupt bacterial cell walls, enhancing their antibacterial efficacy. Incorporating oregano oil into a urinary tract infection management plan could potentially reduce infection duration and severity.

Clove Oil 

Clove oil’s analgesic qualities, primarily due to eugenol, offer a natural option for pain relief during urinary tract infections. Research has demonstrated eugenol’s ability to ease discomfort, positioning clove oil as a supportive therapy for UTI symptoms. Additionally, its antibacterial potential contributes to its analgesic effects, providing a dual-action approach to symptom management. This dual effect could make clove oil a valuable adjunct to conventional urinary tract infection treatments.

Lavender Oil 

Lavender oil’s linalool and linalyl acetate content are associated with alleviating the distressing symptoms of UTIs. Its calming properties are well-supported by research, which shows significant symptomatic relief. The oil’s anti-inflammatory effects may further contribute to symptom management, offering a multi-faceted approach to comfort. Lavender oil’s gentle nature makes it suitable for regular use in managing UTI symptoms.

Eucalyptus Oil 

Eucalyptus oil, with cineole as its active ingredient, targets urinary tract pathogens. Studies on cineole suggest a reduction in bacterial load, aiding in symptom relief. The antimicrobial properties of eucalyptus oil not only manage symptoms from a urinary tract infection but may also prevent the progression of infections. Its role in a UTI treatment plan could enhance the body’s natural defense mechanisms.

Cumin Oil 

Cumin oil’s potential for UTI symptom management is bolstered by its anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. Research into cumin oil has uncovered benefits that extend to inhibiting bacterial growth, suggesting a preventive role in UTI recurrence. Its compounds are believed to interfere with bacterial communication, known as quorum sensing, which could reduce infection rates and support urinary health. Cumin oil’s comprehensive effects on UTI symptoms make it a promising natural remedy.

Risks of Using Essential Oils

The risks of using essential oils to treat urinary tract infections include:

  • Potential skin irritation
  • Allergic reactions
  • Interference with medications
  • Overdose


Probiotics can be used as a treatment for urinary tract infections. They promote the colonization of healthy bacteria, such as Lactobacillus, that inhibits the growth of uropathogenic E. coli. Research highlights their ability to adhere to the urinary tract‘s cells and suppress pathogen proliferation. Further, oral Lactobacillus therapy has been shown to effectively colonize the urinary tract, offering a non-antibiotic strategy for treating UTIs. This approach has the added benefit of potentially improving patient compliance due to the ease of oral administration compared to other methods. 

Vitamin C 

Vitamin C may serve as a beneficial adjunct in the treatment of urinary tract infections. Research indicates that a concentration of 1.25 mg/ml of vitamin C can inhibit the growth of 70% of bacterial isolates associated with UTIs. It has also demonstrated a synergistic effect with several antibiotics, enhancing their efficacy without any antagonistic interactions. Additionally, vitamin C has been found to down-regulate the expression levels of genes in E. coli that are often implicated in UTIs, further impeding bacterial survival. Vitamin C can have a rapid curative effect, similar to standard antibiotics.  

Drink Lots of Water 

Adequate hydration can aid in the management and prevention of urinary tract infections. Studies have shown that dehydration can lead to severe complications such as confusion, falls, acute kidney injury, and the need for hospital admission. With the implementation of scheduled drinking rounds, there was a 58% reduction in UTIs requiring antibiotics and a 36% reduction in UTIs necessitating hospital admissions. These findings show the importance of regular fluid consumption as a simple yet effective measure to reduce the incidence of UTIs. This suggests that maintaining proper hydration is a key factor in promoting urinary tract health and preventing infection.


Ensuring proper hygiene can help reduce the presence of harmful bacteria that cause UTIs and prevent their spread. Research underscores the effectiveness of hygiene in managing UTIs. For instance, wiping from front to back after using the toilet can significantly decrease the likelihood of bacteria from the bowels entering the urethra. Additionally, frequent urination and proper genital cleansing before and after sexual activity are important steps in preventing bacterial transfer and reducing the risk of infection. Hygiene serves as a primary defense mechanism, not only aiding in the treatment of active infections but also preventing future occurrences. 

Apply Heat 

Applying heat can significantly alleviate discomfort in urinary tract infections. A warm compress or heating pad targets the lower abdominal area, easing the severe pain and pressure characteristic of UTIs. Heat application works by relaxing the bladder muscles, which contributes to a reduction in discomfort caused by a urinary tract infection. While it doesn’t cure the UTI, the relief it provides from symptoms is notable.

Cut Bladder Irritants from Your Diet

Some food and drink choices can increase bladder irritation and lead to more noticeable discomfort. Reducing these dietary bladder irritants will assist in managing urinary tract infection symptoms. 

Consider eliminating the following foods and drinks from your diet:

  • Alcohol
  • Caffeinated beverages
  • Carbonated beverages
  • Citrus foods
  • High water-content foods, such as watermelon, cucumbers, and strawberries
  • Onions
  • Salsa
  • Spicy food
  • Tomatoes
  • Artificial sweeteners
  • Processed foods
  • Cheese
  • Sour Cream
  • Prunes
  • Chocolate

Antibiotics for UTI 

The most common treatment for urinary tract infections is antibiotics. They target the bacteria that cause the infection. Trimethoprim, sulfamethoxazole, amoxicillin, and ciprofloxacin are the most commonly prescribed antibiotic treatment options prescribed by doctors. Each of these is designed to flush harmful bacteria as quickly as possible, therefore alleviating symptoms and preventing the infection from spreading.

While antibiotic treatment is a common management technique for urinary tract infections, it also has drawbacks. The overuse of these antibiotics has led to an increase in bacterial resistance in patients and has made some strains of bacteria that commonly cause UTIs harder to treat. It is important that doctors always correctly prescribe antibiotics and that patients take them as directed to mitigate the issue.

Research shows how critical antibiotics are in treating UTIs. Studies have demonstrated that appropriate antibiotic therapy can lead to rapid symptom relief and a decrease in the risks of complications from UTIs, such as kidney infections. However, the emergence of antibiotic resistance when associated with urinary tract infection pathogens has become a growing concern for the medical community.

Side Effects of Antibiotics

The side effects of antibiotics depend on the type of medication and the patient taking them. Common side effects include:

  • Gastrointestinal issues (nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain)
  • Allergic reactions (mild rashes, anaphylaxis)
  • Dizziness
  • Headaches
  • Yeast infections 

Stop Recurring UTI 

To combat recurrent urinary tract infections, adopting a comprehensive naturopathic regimen can prove effective for recurrent UTI prevention. Consider the following evidence-based interventions:

  • Enhanced hydration promotes bacterial clearance from the urinary tract, thereby diminishing urinary tract infection risks.
  • Cranberry products, when used regularly, may stop bacterial binding within the urinary tract.
  • Probiotic-derived Lactobacillus, especially from fermented foods, supports a balanced bacterial environment in the body, preventing recurrent urinary tract infections.
  • Elevated Vitamin C intake may acidify urine, deterring the proliferation of pathogenic bacteria.
  • Natural herbs such as uva-ursi and dandelion offer antibacterial and diuretic benefits, bolstering urinary tract health.
  • The antimicrobial properties of garlic contribute to its role as a potent, natural agent against bacteria that cause recurrent urinary tract infections.
  • Adequate sleep fortifies the immune system‘s infection-fighting capabilities.
  • Techniques aimed at stress reduction, including meditation and yoga, can enhance immune defenses and stop the development of recurrent urinary tract infections.
  • Meticulous genital hygiene is crucial in preventing bacterial migration and recurrent UTIs.
  • Avoiding dietary irritants like caffeine and alcohol is key to preserving urinary tract integrity.

Adherence to these practices may lead to fewer recurrent urinary tract infections, fostering improved urinary tract wellness.

Dr. Susan Cucchiara’s Naturopathic Approach to UTI Prevention 

Dr. Susan Cucchiara, a respected naturopathic doctor, applies a comprehensive natural treatment protocol to support urinary tract health and prevent urinary tract infections from recurring. Her approach may include dietary guidance, herbal medicine, vitamin supplementation, and personalized natural remedies for UTIs designed to restore balance and enhance the body’s healing mechanisms. 

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