Can essential oils be used as a natural way to manage UTIs?
It seems like there’s an essential oil for everything these days. Are essential oils the next frontier for natural treatment of UTIs?
The benefits of essential oils are wide-ranging and more accessible than ever with companies like dōTERRA® (doTerra). Depending on who you ask, essential oils can be used to relieve stress, clear up acne, help with indigestion and nausea, reduce inflammation, and even kill bacteria. Although there is limited scientific data to support the validity of essential oils’ medical efficiency, plenty of anecdotes indicate that essential oils can improve wellbeing.
But what about treating the infection? Can essential oils help with UTI prevention, or be used as a home remedy for UTI treatment?
Unfortunately, it’s hard to say. Officially, we don’t think that you should use essential oils to treat UTIs naturally. If you feel like you have a urinary tract infection, you should seek medical advice. UTIs can escalate quickly into more severe infections, like kidney infections.
Can essential oils like tea tree oil and probiotics work as home remedies?
Oils and probiotics may help with prevention, but not treatment. There are some studies that assert that essential oils can help to eliminate bacterial infections. One study found that lemongrass oil can kill specific strains of bacteria like staphylococcus aureus, Bacillus cereus, Bacillus subtilis, Klebsiella pneumoniae, and Escherichia coli (AKA E.coli, the bacteria that causes more than 90% of UTIs).
To be upfront, there is limited data to support that anything except for antibiotics can completely cure urinary tract infections. While some people swear by natural remedies, there is risk associated with abstaining from antibiotics as infections may return if not treated correctly.
Advocates of essential oil would recommend eight oils, in particular, to help with UTI management: bergamot, juniper berry, myrrh, lemongrass, tea tree, oregano, clove, and frankincense. These oils are said to have antimicrobial and antifungal properties, boost immunity, limit inflammation, and speed up healing.
Supporters say that the best way to leverage the benefit of these oils is to add them to a hot bath or use them with a warm compress applied to the lower abdomen for pain relief. These oils are not meant to be ingested or applied directly to the genitals, as they can cause negative side effects and increase irritation.
Uva ursi (also known as bearberry) has long been credited with the ability to improve urinary tract health. The University Of Maryland Medical Center asserts that uva ursi helps fight infection and prevent recurring UTIs due to several chemicals it contains, such as arbutin and hydroquinone. Another common method of treatment is barberry, which contains the chemical berberine. Berberine can be used to decrease inflammation and inhibit the growth of bacteria, thus helping reduce the likelihood of infection. Although there’s a lot more research indicating that Uva ursi and barberry might help with urinary tract health than oils like lemongrass and tea tree oil, for example, research is still sparse.
So should I be using antibiotics to treat a UTI then?
Yes. Definitively, treating UTIs with antibiotics is the safest and universally recommended way to clear up an infection.
How else can you prevent UTIs naturally?
If you’re looking for a natural way to prevent UTIs, we recommend you try Uqora. All of Uqora’s active ingredients are natural, with scientific backing to confirm the preventive product’s ability to flush out UTI-causing bacteria. Uqora works in key three ways:
- Prevents bacteria from sticking to your urinary tract, keeping an infection from taking hold in the first place.
- Stimulates urine production so you can flush out bacteria during urination more easily.
- Bolsters your immune system function with vitamins and electrolytes to give your body the boost it needs to fend off infections.
All up, some natural remedies might be worth trying, but keep in mind that it’s key to consult your physician once you suspect you have a UTI. And if you’re looking for a natural prevention solution, stick to options with ample scientific grounding—like Uqora.