Home Remedies for UTI: Tips from Family Caregivers


Urinary tract infections (UTIs) can significantly impact an older adult's physical and mental health. If left untreated, UTIs can even cause dementia symptoms and a host of other issues.

Here are some tips from family caregivers and for family caregivers on how to stop a UTI:

Supplements and Recipes

"I have been using AZO tablets on mom for several months now. They promote cleanliness in the urinary tract and are equal to one glass of cranberry juice per tablet. Mom has not had a UTI since. They can be found in the women's section of most stores." —JeanetteB

"I get my mother-in-law D-Mannose tablets and she has not had a UTI since she starting taking it over nine months ago." —dnolen

"A home and natural remedy for UTI is two cups of yogurt mixed with one-half cup of apple cider vinegar, add fresh fruit for taste and a glass of 100 percent cranberry juice. To get rid of a UTI, eat this once a day for seven days. To keep a bladder healthy on an ongoing basis, do this at least three days a week." —homecare1

"Try high potency cranberry supplements. Went through this with my mom, who refuses to drink water. After finding her unconscious from what turned out to be a UTI, I realized I had to take matters into my own hands. (Knock on wood) Mom hasn't had a UTI in a year. Also try limiting sweets, especially fruit juices, which are full of sugar. I do give Mom sweets, but I monitor her sugar (she's diabetic). All things in moderation." —Oyveyreally

"I do keep D-Mannose capsules on hand, as well as using a daily women's probiotic with cranberry extract for mom. (D-Mannose works well on the most common bacteria in UTIs, but there are specific other treatments, depending on the circumstances and whether other bacteria are involved.)" —mary4th

"Most juices have a great deal of sugar, which is going to contribute to UTIs. Try the cranberry pill (so says Dr. Oz) and get yogurt with live cultures (not sugary Yoplait or Dannon varieties). I get Stonyfield or Mountain High and add real fruit. Pineapple juice is great for females, but you could try it for males. My 89-year-old husband doesn't like water, but I add ice cubes to things or offer coffee, which is mostly water. Don't forget vegetables, which contain a lot of water. I don't like Ensure because it is mostly sugar and has milk and soy in it. Dairy can contribute to UTIs." —ferris1

"It was suggested to me to give my aunt fruit with a high water content and to make smoothies with lots of ice. Just put frozen fruit, yogurt and ice in blender and have at it." —beenthere60

Toileting Tips

"I read that regular cranberry juice isn't as helpful as we've been lead to believe because of all the sugar in it. But have you ever tasted straight cranberry juice? Yuck! Also, a senior could be having problems emptying their bladder. If possible, when they urinate in the toilet, count to thirty once they have finished and then encourage him to give it another push. In potty-training my disabled son, an autism specialist told me that after the initial urge is gone, the brain can stop/reduce the message that they still needed to go. I know I've tried it myself and I am always amazed at how much I'll go again after the count. Sorry if that's TMI! Lastly, if they are wearing adult diapers, you may need to be changing them more frequently since they are bacteria sponges." —Rainmom

"Encourage/help older folks get to the toilet at least every 2 hours. Sometimes, older folks don't feel thirsty, sometimes they forget to drink, but sometimes, they are afraid of urinary accidents and avoid drinking enough fluids. It's very important to keep going to the bathroom to empty that bladder." —MomDaughterRN

Hygiene Tips

"Having experience with both parents and trying everything that would provide them privacy and better bathroom hygiene, I found a "portable bidet." Before sitting on the toilet, one fills the bidet with warm water. Before using toilet paper, one sprays the water and gets the area much cleaner than just toilet paper would. I imagine it makes them feel fresher and prevents leakage on their pull-ups, also. It causes a bit of water cleanup around the toilet, but it was worth it for me. Sometimes elderly people have aches and pains that prevent them from maintaining good hygiene." —ProfeChari

"This worked for our elderly mother at the care center:

  • Do not use soap or wipes to clean
  • Use Cetaphil with warm water
  • Rinse and dry thoroughly
  • Always put Aquaphor on the underwear pad and on the patient

After a bath or shower, once or twice or a week, let the patient lie in bed with no pad on and let the air be on the patient." —caregivermarin

"Cleanliness is the key; change early and often. Besides the bidet, you can get a perineal bottle which would allow you to rinse the area well." —glasshalffull

Fluid Intake Tips

"It seems that the elderly really do not enjoy drinking water, but water seems to help clear out the bacteria. It is suggested that drinking half your weight in ounces of water can help a UTI. Let's say a man weighs 160 pounds, that would be 80 ounces of water a day. That's a lot. Maybe a better tasting water (e.g., Dasani brand in a bottle) would be easier for your loved one, and try to give it to them at room temperature. My board certified nutritionist would tell you that it is better to drink water at room temperature." —20Eagle16

"Find ways to increase their fluid intake that don't involve drinking. It's hard to get most elderly folks to up their fluid intake. Does your loved one like popsicles? There are brands that have 100% fruit juice in them. If they are diabetic, perhaps you can make your own. Italian ices are another method." —NurseRatched

"Water intake is critical and a difficult battle, I know. I keep a glass of water by mom at all times, but left to her own volition—even with constant reminders to drink—she will consume all of a few ounces during a day. (Micro sips!) Which is why I have a set of tall, colored 'shot' glasses that hold 2 oz. each and periodically throughout the day, I will have her drink a 'shot' of water. (I stand there while she downs it.) I also give her one of these with any pills she takes, doling out one pill at a time so she gets at least that much water with any medication." —mary4th

Prevention Tips

"Here are some suggestions I was given at discharge to prevent/delay future UTIs:

  1. Drink plenty of water instead of just liquids (use the old eight 8oz glasses rule if nothing else, but the more the better). Drink water and water-based fluids (tea, etc.) instead of anything else, all day long. That alone will facilitate urination.
  2. Encourage (remind) the person to urinate as necessary. A good rule of thumb, in the absence of infection, is every 1-2 hours.
  3. Be sure the gential area is kept clean, especially if the person is not circumcised (natural breeding ground for bacteria). This may require trimming some pubic hair in order to be thorough.
  4. If briefs or pads are used, check frequently and change them if they are damp or wet. Clean the genital area with each change.
  5. In cases of dementia, the brain may 'forget' or ignore signals of the need to urinate. It may be beneficial to schedule train the person, if possible." —mrranch2

Caregivers should be on the lookout for symptoms such as bloody or cloudy urine, a frequent urge to urinate, pain or burning during urination, low-grade fever, and strong-smelling urine. These can all be indicators of a urinary tract infection in the elderly. If your loved one is experiencing any of these symptoms, seek medical attention right away in order to avoid unnecessary complications.

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A number of years ago I battled frequent UTI episodes. I was and still am suspect of antibiotics, over-prescribed and too many negative side effects if used frequently and/or longterm. I used home remedies to treat UTI's successfully. Then there came a UTI episode which I couldn't shake after weeks of using my usual home remedies. I was so miserable that I started to seriously consider using antibiotics until my daughter suggested that I try D-Mannose, a simple sugar. I went online to find more information regarding D-Mannose. It took a lot of searching to find information which wasn't coming from a manufacturer or a "sales person". I wanted legitmate study results. Because Big Pharma has such a chokehold on the U.S. medical industry I found no studies of D-Mannose in the U.S. I did find an eye-opener study from the UK. This study was to find a safe treatment for UTI's for people with spinal injuries who more than frequently have to deal with UTI's. Antibiotics were being used so often that the UK doctors were seriously concerned about long term use of antibiotics. D-Mannose was used in the study and came out on top as a successful and safe alternate treatment for UTI's. People confined to wheelchairs and beds, as well as women in general, self-infect when it comes to UTI's. This Care2 article covered well options to minimize self-infections yet there are times when those microscopic
germs/bacteria are missed. After reading the UK study and being desperate I purchased D-Mannose. Four times a day, the first day, I added a heaping teaspoon of D-Mannose to 8 oz of water and drank it down. By the time to go to bed that first day I felt dramatically better. The second day, I took the D-Mannose solutions 3 times. By late afternoon I felt even better. On the third day and to be on the safe side, I took the D-Mannose 3 times again. The fourth and fifth day there were no UTI symptoms but I took 2 doses of the D-Mannose solution to make sure the Bug was gone. After weeks of UTI misery, the success of the D-Mannose felt like I had received a miracle.

Self-infected UTI's are caused by E-coli found in our own feces which invades our urinary tract. D-Mannose targets the E-coli. I still use my other UTI home remedies along with the D-Mannose just in case the UTI is caused by something other than E-coli. I now rarely have to deal with UTI's. I have also discovered that D-Mannose helps those 24 Hour flu episodes (food poisoning instead of influenza?) as well as intestinal gas.
It is very helpful. All home remedies are useful, I have been on antibiotics for 3 months and it took forever for them to work. My doctor suggested Cranberry softgels, all natural and really helping with a UTI... N. Steen
After years of antibiotics and uti every couple weeks, my doctor suggested TheraCran, cranberry supplement, with 240g mg cranberry extract, twice a day. It's been 5 months now with no sign of a uti. I had to buy it through my urologist on line, but it's not a prescription. So far it works like a miracle!