Apple Cider Vinegar for UTI: Does It Help and Best Alternatives
It’s probably safe to say that when you have a dreaded urinary tract infection -- or UTI -- you want it to go away, like, yesterday. So we totally get wanting to try literally everything and anything to stop the burning -- and resorting to DIY remedies to find a quick “cure.”
Apple cider vinegar -- or ACV as your fave wellness influencers call it -- is one of those, uh, “remedies” -- but does it really work, and should you try it?
Before We Get To All of That, Here’s a UTI Refresher
A UTI is a painful infection caused by pesky bacteria in any part of your delicate urinary system -- including your kidneys, urethra, and bladder. These dreaded infections are crazy-common, with at least forty to sixty percent of women developing them at least once in their lifetime -- most of which are bladder infections, the most common type of UTI.
Urinary tract infections cause all kinds of terrible and crummy symptoms like a constant urge to pee, a relentless burning sensation when you actually do go, only being able to pee a little bit at a time, bloody or pinkish urine, and pelvic pain. UTIs can hurt so much, we wouldn’t wish them on our greatest enemy.
If a UTI is caught immediately, treatment can typically clear it up without complications but left untreated, it can lead to an even more painful kidney infection, which can lead to further health issues.
So, what’s this about using apple cider vinegar to cure a urinary tract infection?
Just to be crystal-clear, here: Ladies are not squirting apple cider vinegar directly up their hoo-ha’s to deal with a UTI -- that could be incredibly painful and not to mention dangerous. Instead, they are drinking it straight or diluting it with something else, like good ol’ water or a tasty glass of juice.
The concept behind using AVC isn’t entirely flawed -- apple cider vinegar contains a powerful ingredient called acetic acid, which is thought to reduce infection-causing bacteria. Essentially, people are drinking it, hoping that, when they urinate, their pee is more acidic and ultimately will clear out any lingering infection.
But the truth is this is definitely NOT backed by science, and per the experts: You can’t cure a UTI with apple cider vinegar. Plain and simple.
A recent study found that apple cider vinegar may help inhibit the growth of E.coli, which is one of the main bacteria that cause urinary tract infections. Still, those findings were preliminary -- and, well, you know, done in a tiny Petri dish instead of on actual humans. And what’s more is that the study most definitely did not say that apple cider vinegar could cure a UTI.
Okay, so what should I do about my UTI? What are the best alternatives?
Regardless of what your favorite colorful influencers tell you on Instagram, skip the AVC when you have a UTI. Sure, it won’t hurt, but it definitely won’t help -- and if you’ve ever taken a shot of apple cider vinegar, you know firsthand how unpleasantly bitter the taste is. Save your tastebuds and try these alternatives instead:
The microbiome is a fancy word that simply refers to the vast colony of bacteria, parasites, and viruses that live inside our bodies. Although the idea of so many microorganisms co-existing inside of us may sound a bit scary -- a healthy microbiome is essential to great health. More and more research is beginning to uncover how good bacteria -- commonly referred to as probiotics -- can positively affect the immune system and intestinal and brain health.
Urinary tract infections are no exception. Many studies have found that the Lactobacilli species of probiotics are particularly important in combating UTI-causing bacteria as they produce ingredients that adhere to the bad bacteria and remove them from the body. Daily oral intake of a powerful probiotic was shown to positively modify vaginal flora. In fact, taking probiotics can normalize the flora, which suggests that this treatment would be a good long-term alternative to those susceptible to painful urinary tract infections.
There are a ton of probiotics on the market, but we can’t get enough of Good Girl Probiotics’ from Love Wellness. This powerful supplement works to maintain a balanced vaginal pH and healthy levels of vaginal yeast and bacteria.
And the best part? It's made with eight healthy strains of good bacteria for vaginal health, whereas most probiotics on the market these days only contain one. Love Wellness’s unique probiotic supports three key areas: reproductive health organs, the gut, and the immune system.
Another apple cider vinegar alternative is garlic. Why garlic, you ask? Well, believe it or not, the main component of garlic -- allicin -- has documented for many years antibacterial activity, specifically for E.Coli and Staphylococcus aureus. Ajoene, a powerful derivative of allicin, is found in garlic oil, which can cause broad-spectrum microbial growth inhibition. In simpler terms, it can guard against bacteria continuing to grow.
At the first sign of a UTI, you can eat lots of garlic, take garlic oil, or take it in the form of a pill.
Not really a garlic fan? Never fear! You can drink cranberry juice instead -- or simply take a quality cranberry supplement, like UTI Don’t Think So from Love Wellness.
Designed for women who want to feel confident, comfortable, and protected on a daily basis, this UTI fighting supplement is made of 36mg of PACs (proanthocyanidins), which is a strong cranberry fruit extract clinically proven to maintain urinary tract health.
But can’t I just drink cranberry juice?
Not exactly. Cranberry juice is often full of sugar, which can add fuel to the fire, providing a breeding ground for the bad bacteria to thrive. Whenever a UTI strikes, stay away from sugar and stick with UTI I Don’t Think So by Love Wellness instead.
Oregano oil extracted from the leaves of O. Vulgare, which has been noted to contain broad antibacterial activity. Additionally, research has also found it to have antifungal, antiviral, antioxidant, and anticancer properties. Sounds pretty amazing, right?
In terms of what this powerful oil can do for an unwanted urinary tract infection, it can greatly alleviate the symptoms associated with a UTI. Why? Because it actively kills E.coli, which by now we know is one of the main bacteria responsible for urinary tract infections.
Our last ACV alternative on the list is simply chugging some H2O. You see, water helps to flush out the bacteria in your bladder, which helps to get rid of the infection much faster. It also dilutes your pee, so urinating may be less painful.
Your urine is made of waste products in your body. Concentrated, dark urine may be more irritating and painful to pass, especially when you have a UTI. Diluted pee is much lighter in color and usually doesn’t irritate as much. So when you feel an impending UTI coming, try to drink at least eight glasses of water per day.
While you up your water intake, be sure to limit your caffeinated drink consumption, including tea, java, and soda pop. Caffeine can irritate your bladder, even more, so skip the morning Starbucks run and drink lots of agua instead.
Are there any tips and tricks to prevent future urinary tract infections?
Yes! The following lifestyle changes may help reduce the occurrence of UTIs:
- Drink six to eight glasses of H2O per day
- Pee as soon as you feel the urge
- Skip the bath and take showers instead
- Wear cotton undies, changing them daily
- Pee before and after sexual activity
- Stay far away from douches or vaginal sprays
- Always wipe front to back after urinating
- Avoid using spermicide and change to an alternative form of birth control
So, does apple cider vinegar work against urinary tract infections?
Not exactly. While some small studies suggest ACV can reduce UTI-causing bacteria, much more research is still needed. Rather than using apple cider vinegar to combat a UTI, there are better alternatives, like taking Good Girl Probiotics or UTI I Don’t Think So.
To keep your lady bits healthy and happy, check out Love Wellness today!
Antimicrobial activity of apple cider vinegar against Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus and Candida albicans; downregulating cytokine and microbial protein expression | NCBI
Inhibition of microbial growth by ajoene, a sulfur-containing compound derived from garlic | NCBI
Synergistic and Additive Effect of Oregano Essential Oil and Biological Silver Nanoparticles against Multidrug-Resistant Bacterial Strains NCBI
Antibacterial effect of oregano essential oil alone and in combination with antibiotics against extended-spectrum beta-lactamase-producing Escherichia coli | NCBI
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