Written by Divinity Nutra, Updated on March 21, 2022
There’s nothing worse than an urgent, unpleasant feeling of needing to run to the bathroom constantly. And if it burns or hurts while trying to urinate, chances are you have an infection. A persistent bladder infection, or urinary tract infection (UTI), can ruin your whole day, and getting back to your regular washroom routine is likely all you’ll have on your mind.
In this article, we are going to go over the basics of what causes a UTI, its signs and symptoms, and finally, we will discuss the merits of apple cider vinegar for UTI relief. If you are currently suffering from a urinary tract infection, or find yourself frequently coming down with bladder infections, you’ll want to know about the benefits of apple cider vinegar.
Apple Cider Vinegar for UTI
Many readers are already familiar with apple cider vinegar and its many health benefits. This trendy product has been used in both traditional and non-traditional medicine for decades.
You’ve likely heard the claims of ACV’s ability to detox and cleanse the body, to help with heartburn and GERD, as well as its many benefits for skincare. However, ACV is perhaps best known as a diet and weight loss aid and as a means to lower blood sugar.
Many people swear by this product, and several companies are now offering supplements, making daily intake easy. But, does ACV help with urinary tract infections? Let’s explore UTIs in more detail and see what the research says.
What Is a Urinary Tract Infection?
An infection in any part of the urinary tract is called a urinary tract infection, or a UTI for short. Do not confuse UTIs with cystitis. Cystitis is the medical name for bladder inflammation caused by noninfectious or infectious reasons, though, it’s most often caused by UTIs.
The most common type of UTI is a bladder infection. Roughly 10 in 25 women and 3 in 25 men will experience UTI symptoms at least once in their lifetime. (1)
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What Are the Main Causes of UTI?
These infections are caused by the introduction of bacteria, fungi, or sometimes even viruses, into the urinary tract. Bacteria Escherichia coli, or E. coli, causes about 90% of urinary tract infections.
The microbes are typically introduced from the bowel and are responsible for the uncomfortable symptoms associated with a UTI. For this reason, personal hygiene and environmental cleanliness are important to consider if trying to prevent an infection.
Women are more susceptible to UTIs, however, men can also suffer from this type of infection. Typically, these types of infections involve the lower portion of the urinary tract, such as the urethra or bladder. (2)
However, if an infection is more severe, it can travel to the upper portion of the urinary tract, and infect both the kidneys and ureters. An upper urinary tract infection can result in more serious symptoms and should be treated promptly to avoid complications. In such cases, medical professionals often prescribe antibiotics to cure a UTI quickly. (3)
Signs and Symptoms of a UTI
The symptoms of a UTI can vary slightly depending on the location of the infection, the severity, and the gender of the sufferer.
Symptoms of a lower-urinary-tract infection:
- Discomfort when urinating (i.e., burning sensation)
- Frequent urge to urinate, despite not needing too
- Sudden, urgent feeling of needing to relieve yourself
- Minimal to no output when attempting to urinate
- Visible blood in your urine
- Cloudy or foul-smelling urine
Symptoms of an upper-urinary-tract infection:
- Back and side pain or sensitivity
- Pelvic or rectal pain
- Nausea or vomiting
- Fever or chills
If you experience any of the above-mentioned symptoms, speak to your healthcare provider immediately. While some home remedies may help relieve symptoms, they are best used for prevention. A serious infection will persist without antibiotic treatment. (4)
Is Apple Cider Vinegar Good For UTI?
While most at-home remedies will not cure a UTI completely, there is evidence that they can play an important role in preventing a urinary tract infection. Apple cider vinegar is one of the most trusted and well-known natural remedies, but does it work for UTIs?
In response to the global problem of antibiotic resistance, researchers are constantly trying to find new solutions to common medical problems. One preliminary study found that daily ACV for bladder infection prevention may have some promising effects.
As discussed above, about 90% of UTIs result from the bacteria, E. coli. Multiple studies have identified the powerful antimicrobial and antifungal effects of apple cider vinegar and its ability to target E. coli specifically.
The research suggests that ACV can significantly inhibit the growth rate of E. coli which typically thrives in a neutral pH environment between 6-8. The pH of apple cider vinegar is between 2-3, which is considered acidic.
Does Apple Cider Vinegar Irritate the Bladder?
Some people may find that their bladder is prone to irritation after eating certain foods. Apple cider vinegar (and many other common foods) may act as a bladder irritant for some people who have a history of bladder problems. (7)
Apple cider vinegar is generally safe to consume in moderate amounts without side effects. For example, mixing a small dosage of ACV into a drink recipe, or taking daily ACV supplements are not likely to cause bladder irritation in otherwise healthy individuals.
Apple cider vinegar may not cure your UTI, but it isn’t like to cause harm either. There is plenty of anecdotal and preliminary scientific evidence suggesting that regular ACV intake, before bed or in the morning, can help to prevent reoccurring bladder infections.
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How to Get More ACV in Your Diet
Apple cider vinegar is a simple ingredient that is commonly available, inexpensive to purchase, and easily incorporated into your diet or daily routine.
Simple ways to get more apple cider vinegar in your diet include:
- Make a salad dressing using ACV, oils, and herbs such as turmeric
- Add a few tablespoons to a marinade or condiment recipe
- Drink ACV by mixing it with water, your morning smoothie, or your favorite drink recipe
- Mix it in with your favorite sweet tea
- Incorporate delicious apple cider vinegar gummies into your supplement routine
Final Thoughts on Apple Cider Vinegar and UTI
While it may not cure a current UTI that is already causing problems, ACV for UTI prevention may be beneficial for frequent sufferers. Like cranberry juice, this all-natural, safe, and commonly consumed ingredient might be a great natural remedy to prevent frequent urinary tract infections.
Remember: It is important to seek medical attention if you are experiencing any signs or symptoms of a UTI. An untreated UTI can lead to a more serious infection, affecting the upper urinary tract, and potentially your blood.
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With the many possible benefits attributed to apple cider vinegar, and the limited side effects, why not give it a try? If it can help put your UTI problems behind you, you’ll be glad you tried this simple, yet effective home remedy.
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