Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are not life-threatening and are relatively easy to treat. Despite that, they are very common and have the tendency to come back often. This creates a lot of trouble and discomfort. Luckily, you can use a few good essential oils for UTI relief.
In this post, you’ll read about:
- The components of your urinary system, so you can better understand why they get infected.
- The way essential oils for urinary tract infection work.
- What are your best options in terms of aromatic oils for UTI relief? With pros and cons so you can choose safely.
- How to use these therapeutic essences for safe results and a good outcome.
- Some practical essential oil recipes to soothe and/or prevent your UTIs.
- The causes and symptoms of different urinary tract infections.
- Tips to make your symptoms go away faster and to prevent a recurrent infection.
Best Essential Oils for UTI (Urinary Tract Infections), Pros & Cons, Tips, and Recipes
The urinary system plays its own important role in the human body. There are several organs that make up the urinary system:
- The kidneys. They filter the blood for toxins, waste, and excess liquids non-stop. The result of their filtering activity is the urine.
- The bladder. Is an inflatable balloon-like muscular organ that holds the urine.
- The urethra. This is a tube at the bottom of the bladder through which the urine flows out of the body.
- The ureters. They are tubes that connect the kidneys with the bladder. Their purpose is to collect and carry the urine from the kidneys to the bladder.
You can’t control the activity of the kidneys. You can only control when you empty your bladder. The process of urine production and elimination needs all the organs to work properly.
When one of them becomes infected and swollen, it affects the whole system. The body’s drainage will continue, but it can become very uncomfortable and painful.
Infections of the urinary tract are caused by specific bacteria. I will tell you more about the causes and symptoms of a UTI in the last part of the article.
Until then, know that there are things you can do to make it all better. Unfortunately, UTIs tend to come back very often.
For instance, it is thought that a person’s risk of another UTI after the first one is about 24% in the first 6 months.
Why Not Use Antibiotics for UTIs?
Antibiotics are the standard treatment for bacterial infections. However, they destroy not only the bad bacteria, but the good ones too.
This results in a flora imbalance in the gut, which leads to digestive problems. But it can also ruin the balance of the vaginal flora, which leads to yeast infections.
Plus, some E. coli strains can resist antibiotics, which makes them useless. There are quite a few studies that show how some essential oils can destroy bacteria.
They don’t attack the good ones, only the bad ones, which prevents any other type of infection.
How Can Essential Oils Help with Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs)
One of the best preventive and soothing methods for UTIs is Aromatherapy.
Why essential oils? What are they and how can they help to bring UTI relief? First, essential oils are concentrated plant liquids.
These oils are stored in special plant chambers or glands. Their purpose is to protect the plant and help it regenerate. They can also help the plant reproduce and ensure the survival of their species.
These oils are volatile, meaning they can emit a powerful scent. The steam distillation process extracts these volatile compounds into concentrated essences.
A small 10 ml bottle of essential oil may contain the essence of hundreds of kilos of plants.
Depending on the soil, weather, and harvest time, some essential oils have certain effects. They can be more powerful than others.
For example, peppermint leaves that grow in more sun produce more menthol. Thus, the essential oil will also have a higher concentration of menthol.
Essential oils for UTI or urinary tract infection have the following benefits. They can be:
- Anti-inflammatory. A good anti-inflammatory essential oil is ideal for a urinary tract infection. Inflammation causes pain and makes healing very slow and difficult.
- Analgesic. Analgesic is a substance that can relieve pain. You can use analgesic essential oils for UTI pain and other cramps, and spasms.
- Antibacterial and antiviral. A very important property of many aromatic oils. This makes them great at killing viruses and bacteria. This decreases the risk of an infection. This is why Aromatherapy is a good preventive measure.
- Diuretic. To stimulate the kidneys to produce more urine. This helps to drain and expel all toxins and bacteria, and speed up the healing.
- Astringent. A property able to promote blood vessel and tissue contraction. It can help to better expel the toxins and decrease the inflammation.
Above all these physical benefits, Aromatherapy can also help you relax. They can help you sleep better and chase away some of that anxiety.
The only downside to Aromatherapy is that there isn’t enough research done. Only a few studies prove the potential of essential oils as CAM for UTIs. CAM stands for complementary and alternative medicine.
There are still many doctors that don’t consider the use of essential oils a good therapeutic option. They are indeed not as potent and specific as pharmaceuticals. But in some cases, they do work and are even more effective.
Studies also show that certain aromatic oils can kill bacteria resistant to antibiotics. This is yet again one very good reason to add essential oils to your UTI treatment.
When people ask “how do I get rid of my UTI without antibiotics?”, the answer could be essential oils.
They are natural potent substances. They work with your body and can enhance its well-being. However, you should use them with great care, especially if you’re a beginner. More safety tips soon.
How do you treat or prevent a UTI at home? With a few proven essential oils that I’ve chosen to talk about next.
Check out the pros and cons of these next essential oils for urinary tract infection. They will help you make informed decisions.
1) Tea Tree Essential Oil
Botanical name: Melaleuca alternifolia.
- Tea Tree essential oil is a very strong antibacterial and antiseptic. The latter means it can prevent infections on the skin or mucous membranes. Tea Tree oil was found effective at causing the cell death of bacteria like E.coli. This is the cause of most urinary tract infections.
- The oil is also a great anti-inflammatory, which helps to relieve pain.
- It is also immunomodulatory, meaning it can strengthen your immune system. Tea Tree oil boosts the production of white blood cells.
- Tea Tree is also antioxidant and mildly analgesic. Thus, it can improve the blood circulation to the affected area. More blood means more nutrients and oxygen, which help to speed up the recovery process.
- Tea Tree essential oil for UTI can trigger seizures, epileptic, and asthma attacks.
- It is considered to have cortisone-like effects. This means it can interact with hormone-based treatments.
- If ingested, especially in high dose, it can cause confusion and loss of coordination.
Why I like it:
Using Tea Tree oil for urinary tract infections can decrease the time necessary for healing. It’s very good against yeast and other infections. Plus, it makes the skin look clean and bright again.
2) Clove Bud Essential Oil
Botanical name: Syzygium aromaticum/ Eugenia caryophyllata.
- Clove oil was shown to have strong antibacterial attributes. It has a very high concentration of eugenol. That makes it a great oil for bladder infections and UTIs. Eugenol is a very well-known potent antibacterial that can kill E.coli.
- The pain you feel in your urinary system is because of the inflammation and swelling. Clove oil for UTI can decrease that inflammation and reduce the pain. The oil is a powerful anti-inflammatory.
- It’s also a strong analgesic. It’s often compared to lidocaine. The anti-inflammatory plus the analgesic effects make Clove oil a strong painkiller.
- The oil is also antispasmodic, which helps to calm down the smooth muscle spasms.
- Clove oil is dermo-caustic. This means it can burn the skin if it’s applied pure (undiluted).
- It can irritate the respiratory system and can also interact with anticoagulant medications.
- Clove oil can also raise the blood pressure.
Why I like it:
On top of its great health benefits, Clove oil for UTI can also improve your skin appearance. It’s antioxidant and antibacterial, which keeps the skin clear and smooth. You can use it for oral health as well.
3) Oregano Essential Oil
Botanical name: Origanum vulgare/heracleoticum.
- You can use Oregano oil for UTI without a worry. Tests show that it can kill as much as 20 E.coli strains, but also Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Researchers concluded that the oil can make a great alternative to antibiotics. It’s great to use as a preventive measure but also to speed up the healing process.
- Besides being a strong antibacterial, Oregano is also a great antiviral. Thus, it can also protect against viral infections.
- Oregano oil can also strengthen the immune system, helping your body to fight a UTI better.
- If you are asthmatic or epileptic, seek your doctor’s consent before using Oregano oil for UTI.
- The oil can trigger seizures.
- High amounts of Oregano essential oil can raise the heart rate. Also, it can be toxic to the liver.
- It may also interact with hormone-based treatments.
Why I like it:
Oregano essential oil is a general tonic. This means it can stimulate all the organs and help the body function at full capacity. The oil can also relieve mucus and improve breathing. Yeasts and fungal infections can also be soothed with Oregano.
Peppermint is another good essential oil for UTI. It’s a very good painkiller and stimulant. Peppermint also has good antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral effects.
The oil is anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic. Peppermint oil is great for digestion, which may prevent bladder or kidney infections. How? The oil can kill E.coli in the gut and prevent it from spreading to the urinary system.
Other good essential oils for UTI
- Green Myrtle
- Roman Chamomile
- Eucalyptus radiata
What about doTERRA oils for UTI?
I receive lots of questions about what doTERRA essential oils to use for UTI. Because there are so many fans of the company out there, I decided to write my answer here. I hope this will help anyone who wants to know the answer.
The fact is that doTERRA doesn’t make special essential oils for UTI. They’re just one of the many companies that sell essential oils.
All aromatic oils are extracted in the same way, more or less. At best, their oils can be just pure and high-quality.
How can you tell that? By asking for the GC/MS report of the oils you want to buy. Any reputable company should give you this documentation for free.
How to Use Essential Oils for UTI
There are several easy ways to use these aromatic oils to get relief from a UTI.
Mix 3 – 10 drops of essential oils for urinary tract infection with an ounce of carrier first. You can apply this mixture all over the abdomen and its lower area.
Apply some heat on the area to help the oils reach the blood and tissue faster. An Aromatherapy blend can be used 4 – 5 times a day, especially during the first couple of days.
Don’t apply undiluted oils on the sensitive genital areas or the belly button! They can burn the sensitive skin there and cause more pain. It’s best to apply the treatment externally.
Also, the dose of EOs you use must consider:
- Any other health problems or medications.
- The age and gender.
- Family medical history.
Do not use essential oil blends for UTIs for more than a week. If your symptoms don’t go away within 3 – 5 days, it’s time to see your doctor.
You can also apply essential oil compresses on the lower abdomen area and keep it warm for as long as you can.
Again, dilute the oils well before moistening the cloth. Any area around the urethra is good for application too.
The best way to get high amounts of active oil molecules inside your body is through inhalation.
This way they will act faster than skin applications. However, the action will not be localized and you might need to inhale more oils.
The amount of drops used in a diffuser depends on the device and space. You can use 3 – 4 drops for smaller spaces. Choose a high-quality essential oil diffuser to enjoy the best therapeutic effects of the oils.
At the moment, the best ones are nebulizers and ultrasonic diffusers. As with everything else, each device comes with its own pros and cons. You can read more about them here:
Diffuse only for 20 – 30 minutes, every 2+ hours. Do it in well-ventilated rooms and, if you have pets around, let the doors open.
All these are necessary to avoid air saturation. This might lead to nausea and headaches, poisoning, etc. For the same reasons, it’s not wise to sleep with a diffuser on either.
For more safety, check out the details in this post:
If you’re looking for more ways to feel the beneficial effects of Aromatherapy on UTIs, you could also try a bath. Mix your essential oils for UTI with some salt first, so that they can disperse in the water.
You can also use some shower gel, honey or milk. Baking soda can also be used for UTI relief. It’s great to mix the essential oils with. A UTI essential oil bath should contain no more than 15 drops of essence.
I would not recommend using apple cider vinegar for UTI though. Why? Because it’s very acidic and if it’s not well diluted, it can burn the skin.
Safety Tips and Concerns
Aromatic oils are indeed natural, but they’re not completely safe. That is especially true if they’re not used in a correct manner. Before using any essential oils for urinary tract infection:
- Always test your essences for allergic reactions. If you’re not very sensitive, it’s less likely to have an allergy. However, allergies and sensitivities can develop over time. That’s why you must always dilute your essential oils before applying them topically.
- Don’t take them internally, especially without the doctor’s consent. Don’t take them with water or in a capsule either. Otherwise, they can cause much GI discomfort. Only a medic can tell you whether you can ingest aromatic oils or not, how much, for how long, etc.
- Don’t apply them on or inside your urethra. They can burn the mucous membrane and cause more pain and discomfort.
- If you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, check with your doctor first.
- Also, if you suffer from diabetes or other health problems, you should check with a doctor first.
- Avoid using essential oils for UTI on children. If you’d like to do it, talk to a doctor first. Many of the recommended oils have the potential to harm the child.
Essential Oil Recipes for Urinary Tract Infections
It’s time to get practical! Get mixing and use your newly created oil blends to relieve your UTI symptoms. You can use up to 5 different oils in a blend. More than that may overwhelm your immune system.
Citrus Urinary Tract Infection Aromatic Recipe
- Grapefruit essential oil: 2 drops
- Lemon essential oil: 2 drops
- Bergamot essential oil: 2 drops
- Jojoba oil: 1 Oz (30ml)
UTI Sitz Bath with Essential Oils
- Warm to hot water
- Salt: 1 tablespoon
- Oregano essential oil: 2 drops
Mix the salt with the oil first, then add it to the water in the basin. Make sure the salt is melted before using the basin. You can repeat 3 – 5 times a day. You can alternate between blends and diffusion sessions or you can use them all in parallel.
Essential Oils Diffuser Recipe for UTIs
- Tea Tree essential oil: 5 drops
- Clove essential oil: 5 drops
- Grapefruit essential oil: 10 drops
Use 2 – 3 drops per diffusion session. You can use more, but only if the room is large enough.
Types of UTI Infections, Causes & Symptoms, plus Prevention Tips
As you’ve noticed so far, UTI stands for urinary tract infection. This is a general term describing any infection of the organs that make the urinary system.
When you’re having one for the first time, it can be pretty overwhelming. At its peak, the stinging pain when you urinate can be very intense.
Although one may say there are many causes for a UTI, in reality, there’s only one. That is a bacterial infection caused by E. coli.
Almost 80% of the cases are caused by this bacterium. It can enter the urinary system either through the gut or from outside, through the urethra.
This is where the other “causes” step in. Thus, a urinary infection may be triggered by a rapid growth of E. coli, because of several reasons.
UTI Causes or Risk Factors
- Sexual intercourse. The E.coli live in the urinary tract, but also in the vagina and anal opening. During intercourse, it gets pushed into the urethra and the bladder and causes an infection.
- Birth control (spermicide and diaphragm).
- Menopause and postmenopause.
- Weak or suppressed immune system.
- Burning and/or stinging sensation when urinating.
- A very strong and very frequent urge to pee. Most of the times there’s almost nothing coming out.
- Red-colored urine.
- A strong smell.
- Pain in the abdominal area.
- Weakness and tiredness.
In some people, especially the elderly, delirium can occur too. The first three symptoms are pretty much all you need to think about a urinary tract infection.
If you’re not sure, have your urine checked. This is the surest way to eliminate any other possible causes.
Also, this way, the treatment can be more appropriately recommended. Left untreated, a UTI can develop into septicemia and sepsis. This is a serious life-threatening blood poisoning that needs to be treated immediately.
UTI infections can affect the urethra, the kidneys, and the bladder. The infection may spread to all of them but usually, it affects only one or two organs.
Each infection type bears different names. For example, the infection of the bladder is called cystitis. Among the best essential oils for bladder health, we have Oregano and Clove.
Of course, there are others too, and I’ll be talking about this subject, in more detail, in another article.
If you’re looking for good essential oils for a kidney infection, you can always count on Clove oil.
Tips to Prevent and Improve UTIs
Sadly, urinary tract infections tend to come back quite often. Women must take special care as they are most prone to such problems. It’s their anatomy that makes a UTI more possible.
However, there are a few good practices you can follow to prevent new infections.
You can also use these tips to soothe an existing one. These are common sense things to do, so you’ll find them in many other articles too.
- First, it’s very important to simply go to the toilet when you feel the need. It’s not wise to hold it in too often and for too long. Urine is the perfect environment for bacteria growth. The longer it sits there in the bladder, the higher your chance to develop an infection.
- Keep your immune system strong so it can prevent these infections.
- Use and diffuse essential oils for UTIs often, more for prevention.
- Drink plenty of water daily. The more you go to the toilet, the lower the risk of allowing bacteria to grow. That’s because they won’t get the time.
- Maintain a good personal hygiene. Ideally, you would wash before and after sexual activity. Otherwise, make a habit out of peeing after sex, to flush out the bacteria. Also, always wipe from front to back. If you’re using panty liners, try to replace them often and maintain the area clean and dry.
- Use cotton or cotton-lined panties, to absorb moisture and reduce the infection risk.
- Consume cranberry juice or bearberries (Uva Ursi) extract. They’re known to help to reduce the symptoms of UTIs.
- Eat probiotics daily (yogurt, pickles, kefir, etc.)
As you can see, and probably already knew, antibiotics are not the go-to anymore. Doctors are encouraged to avoid prescribing them so often. This makes essential oils for UTI a very good and natural option.
Essential oils for urinary tract infection are not miracle cures, though. They can also do damage if they’re not used properly. So, make sure you talk to a doctor about your intention of using them. He should be able to guide you toward a good treatment.
How do you manage your UTIs? Do you have a favorite blend that works every time? If you do, I’d very much like to know more about it.