Urethritis is a painful condition that can make your daily life quite difficult, especially when you have to go to the bathroom.
While medication is available to cure this condition and avoid long-term complications, you may also want to try natural approaches to alleviate symptoms at home.
What is Urethritis?
Urethritis is the inflammation of the urethra, the tube that takes urine from the bladder to outside the body, can be caused by infection, trauma, or chemical irritants.
This is not to be confused with a urinary tract infection (UTI), which is an infection of the urinary tract. While they share similar symptoms, they require different methods of treatment.
Around 4 million Americans each year experience urethritis every year, according to a study by Antimicrobe, with non-gonococcal urethritis making up 80% of these cases.
Risk factors that can lead to urethritis include high-risk behavior such as sex with multiple partners, intercourse without protection, anal intercourse, and other similar activities.
Signs and Symptoms of Urethritis
The most common symptoms of urethritis are pain during urination and a frequent and/or lingering urge to pee.
There may also be blood in the urine or semen, cloudy and/or foul-smelling urine, pain and itchiness around the urethra, discharge from the urethra, enlarged groin lymph nodes, pain during sex or ejaculation, and pain in the pelvis and/or lower abdomen.
However, some people may experience no discernable symptoms at all. This is known as asymptomatic urethritis, which is more common in females.
Home Remedy for Urethritis
Along with undergoing medical treatment, you may also take the following home remedies to manage and alleviate symptoms of urethritis.
1. Drink lots of water
According to an article by American Family Physician, the very first thing you need to do when you realize you may have urethritis is to drink more water. On average, you should drink a minimum of a quart for every 50 pounds of body weight, but you may need to drink a bit more than that in the case of urethritis.
That may seem counterintuitive with your urination being painful, but you have to withstand it in order to have your body flush out as much of the bacteria as possible. You should aim to urinate once every 90 minutes to regularly flush out your urethra.
Whenever you have to urinate, immediately go. Don’t hold it in as that will allow for bacteria to accumulate in the bladder and urethra.
2. Take care with hygiene
Many cases of urethritis stem from poor genital hygiene. It may be from engaging in anal intercourse, which may result in bacterial like E. coli entering the urethra. Therefore, proper hygiene in the area is both a preventative measure and a treatment.
Wash the area daily with water and mild soap with no fragrance, then pat the area dry. Avoid scented soaps, body wash, and other similar products. You should also wear loose cotton underwear.
3. Adjust your sexual activity
Most cases of urethritis are caused by sexually transmitted infections, which can then be passed to other people. You will have to adjust your sexual habits in order to both relieve symptoms and prevent spreading the infection.
As a preventative measure, urinating right after sex can help flush out the bacteria before they ever manifest any infection in the urethra and surrounding areas.
4. Tweak your diet
While diet may not make an immediate impact on urethritis, it can help some people. According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, diet can affect people with similar urinary tract conditions like interstitial cystitis.
Drink only water for hydration and avoid caffeine, alcohol, tea, sweet drinks, and carbonated beverages. Also minimize high acid foods and drinks like tomato, cranberry, lemon, and other citrus. Avoid spicy foods, artificial sweeteners, and chocolate.
You can drink milk. You can eat low acid fruits and vegetables, meats, poultry, seafood, oats, and rice. If you are having gut problems from taking antibiotics, consult your healthcare provider.
5. Consider herbal remedies
Various natural remedies may help with urethritis symptoms. They can ease inflammation and other infection-related conditions.
Discuss them first with your physician as some of them can interact with medications.
We did mention that you may want to avoid cranberry due to its acidity. However, there are cranberry capsules that contain high levels of proanthocyanidins (PACs) to ease infection risk.
Buchu and Bearberry have been reported to be effective at fighting infection in the urinary tract. You may also combine buchu with couch grass and yarrow in infusions or capsules, as well as corn silk to ease burning.
Althaea officinalis leaves (marsh-mallow plant) can be used in infusions and tinctures along with buchu and yarrow for urethritis.
Uvaria afzalii and Anthocliesta djalonensis in whole-root hot water extract has been found to be effective in lab studies, killing many strains of bacteria known to cause non-gonococcal urethritis.
Goldenseal, Echinacea, and Horsetail can also be good as natural medicine research and traditional medical practice have found them effective at alleviating symptoms of urethritis.
Conventional treatment for urethritis tends to involve antibiotics or antivirals, depending on what’s causing the inflammation. Painkillers and anti-inflammatory medication may also be prescribed in order to manage symptoms.
If left untreated, urethritis can result in long-term complications such as fertility problems or more serious infections that can even be deadly.
When treated, symptoms of urethritis disappear within a week or two. You can make the process less arduous by taking precautionary and preventive measures, as well as using home remedies to relieve symptoms.