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If you’ve ever had a urinary tract infection (UTI), then you are well aware how uncomfortable and even painful they can be. In this article, we’ll cover what UTIs are, how to prevent them and how to use natural remedies including essential oils for UTIs.
UTIs can also be difficult to treat, particularly for women, many of which have problems with recurring UTIs. As a result, doctors may prescribe multiple doses of antibiotics to get rid of the infection.
Antibiotics will treat the infections in most cases, but people who use them frequently may find that they cause unpleasant side effects, such as yeast infections or become resistant to the antibiotics.
While women tend to be more apt to get urinary tract infection, men can also get them. Urinary tract infections happen fairly frequently and account for almost 25% of all infections.
What Causes Urinary Tract Infections?
A urinary tract infection occurs when bacteria typically found around the anus migrates into the sterile urethra (the tube where urine comes out) or bladder and starts to multiply.
Symptoms include a burning sensation (especially while urinating), the need to urinate frequently, the urge to go even if you’ve just emptied your bladder, cloudy or bloody urine, and pain or pressure in your lower abdomen.
There are many ways in which you can get a urinary tract infection. Lifestyle and overall health are contributing factors for sure, but even the type of personal products you use or clothing you wear can make you more susceptible. Here are some of the most common factors that can contribute to urinary tract infections:
- Sexual activity
- Poor hygiene
- Antibiotic use
- Not completely emptying the bladder
- Using tampons or spermicides
- Wearing tight-fitting or wet clothing for extended periods of time
You can help to prevent UTIs by staying well-hydrated, using the restroom before and after sex and women should always wipe from front to back.
People prone to recurrent UTIs can try to prevent them by applying a blend of essential oils for UTIs to the skin of their lower abdomen and lower back.
Here is a blend of essential oils for UTIs (to help prevent them, at least. We’ll look at active UTIs in a bit).
Use, in equal parts, Cypress essential oil, Juniper essential oil and Cedarwood essential oil. Mix with a carrier oil with a 1:4 ratio. The Cypress and Juniper oils help to move fluid through your system, while the Cedarwood oil helps kill germs.
Rub a small amount of the blend onto your lower abdomen and lower back twice each day, in the morning when you wake up and two hours before bed. (You don’t want fluid moving through you to close to bedtime making you need to get up at night to urinate.)
While my doctor tells me that it’s ok to use essential oils for UTIs as it may help and won’t hurt, you should check with your doctor before using.
What the Research Says About Essential Oils for UTIs
Some studies show that essential oils can actually help fight bacterial infections. For example, Lemongrass essential oil can be effective against drug-resistant microorganisms. (more on Lemongrass below)
A 2016 study looked at the effects of essential oils on antimicrobial activity of drug resistant bacteria. Some essential oils are able to disrupt the cell membrane of some strains of bacteria, thus reducing the number of bacteria.
UTIs develop when a person has an overgrowth of bacteria in their urinary tract, usually the bacteria Escherichia coli (E. coli).
To heal a UTI, an essential oil has to kill this type of bacteria.
Best Essential Oils for UTIs
There are a number of essential oils for UTIs that may help when you have an active infection. As mentioned above, most UTIs are caused by the E. coli bacteria, so it is important to choose essential oils that are antibacterial, especially against E. coli, as well as other types of bacteria. It’s also a good idea to choose essential oils that may be beneficial when dealing with pain or overall feelings of illness.
- Lemongrass Essential Oil
Lemongrass essential oil has been shown to be effective against drug-resistant microorganisms.
One study looked at how well Lemongrass essential oil worked against common harmful pathogens, including Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus), Bacillus cereus (B. cereus), Bacillus subtilis (B. subtilis), Escherichia coli (E. coli), and Klebsiella pneumoniae (K. pneumoniae). The study found that lemongrass oil was effective in killing off these harmful pathogens.
2. Clove Essential Oil
Clove is another essential oil that has potent antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal properties. It’s often used for fighting off illness and in fact, it’s a key ingredient in many germ-fighting blends.
A study performed in 2016 found that Clove essential oil showed strong inhibiting and killing properties against antibiotic-resistant E. coli isolates making it a promising choice of essential oils for UTIs.
Clove essential oil also contains pain-relieving properties and is frequently used in formulations for muscle or joint pain. Due to its potency, clove should not be used around young children. And like oregano, clove is a skin sensitizer and should be appropriately diluted before topical use.
Early research studies of Clove essential oil’s antibacterial effects are promising. A 2016 study points to the effectiveness of Clove essential on destroying E. coli, particularly when the bacteria have become resistant to antibiotics.
3. Oregano Essential Oil
Oregano essential oil is one of the best essential oils for UTIs. It has strong antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal properties. It is a wonderful essential oil to have on hand if you’re dealing with nearly any infection or illness but is especially beneficial when dealing with a urinary tract infection caused by E. coli.
A study conducted in 2012 found that oregano essential oil was active against and inhibited the growth of the E. coli bacteria including antibiotic-resistant strains.
A 2015 study that compared the effectiveness of oregano and lavender oils found that oregano had higher antimicrobial properties, again making it a useful essential oil for UTIs.
As mentioned above, Oregano essential also contains analgesic (pain-relieving) properties.
4. Cinnamon Bark Essential Oil
Cinnamaldehyde, the chemical that gives Cinnamon its flavor, may stop the growth of E. coli bacteria. Cinnamon Bark essential oil may also help to prevent UTIs from recurring.
Like both Oregano and Clove essential oils, Cinnamon essential oil is antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal. It is often used as a main ingredient in germ-fighting blends, so Cinnamon Bark is one of the best essential oils for UITs.
Cinnamon, like Oregano and Clove contains pain-relieving properties and can be useful with a wide variety of illnesses and infections.
5. Lavender Essential Oil
Lavender is a great essential oil for UTIs that you will want to have on hand when one of those irritating infections finds its way to you. Not only does Lavender contain calming properties, but it also has antibacterial properties as well. This can be really helpful if you are having discomfort or are having trouble sleeping due to the infection.
This makes it a terrific choice for essential oil blends for UTIs.
Research also suggests that Lavender essential oil is effective at killing bacteria, fungi, viruses, and other sources of infections. It may also act as an antioxidant.
Research conducted in 2015, for example, found that Lavender and Oregano essential oils, both separate and combined, may inhibit the growth of bacteria including E. coli and Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus). It also found that it has anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties, making it a great option for dealing with illnesses or infections that cause pain and inflammation. Lavender is also a very gentle oil that is safe to use around just about everybody.
6. Eucalyptus Essential Oil
Eucalyptus essential oil has been shown to combat a wide range of bacteria. This makes it a great choice when a person isn’t sure which type of bacteria is causing the infection.
A study conducted in 2016 identified compounds in Eucalyptus essential oil that points to its antibacterial properties. The researcher team found that Eucalyptus essential oil may kill or slow the growth of E. coli, S. aureus, Listeria innocua, and other pathogens.
Eucalyptus essential oil is frequently used in formulations for combating illness and also happens to be one of the best essential oils for UTIs.
Eucalyptus essential oil is often found in germ-fighting and illness-fighting blends. However, due to its high 1, 8-Cineole content, it isn’t indicated for use around young children.
7. Cumin Essential Oil
Cumin essential oil may help to fight E. coli and other bacterial infections. One study from 2016 compared the effects of Cumin essential oil to those of Chamomile essential oil (although it wasn’t mentioned whether they studied German, Roman or another Chamomile) and Onion oils. Cumin essential oil was the clear winner and killed the most bacteria.
Cumin essential oil was even more effective when used in combination with some antibiotics, suggesting that it may be a complementary treatment.
8. Coriander Essential Oil
The same study referenced for Cumin essential oil found that Coriander essential oil was best able to kill a combination of S. aureus and E. coli. Coriander essential oil also fought bacteria resistant to multiple drugs. Like Cumin essential oil, Coriander essential oil was more effective when paired with antibiotics. Again, this oil’s properties make it a great essential oil for UTIs.
9. Lemon Essential Oil
Lemon essential oil is a one of the best essential oils to have on hand when dealing with an illness of any kind. It contains strong antibacterial and antiseptic properties that make it a great choice for fighting off illness and infection. It is another often-used ingredient in anti-germ blends, as well as in natural cleaning solutions.
Another bonus is that the bright, citrusy aroma can help you feel refreshed and energized, which is particularly helpful if you’ve been sick and are not feeling like yourself.
10. Citrus Fresh Essential Oil Blend
One essential oil that’s helpful for any type of bacterial infection is a blend from Young Living called Citrus Fresh essential oil blend. This oil blends many different types of citrus oils, including orange peel, tangerine peel, grapefruit peel, lemon peel, and spearmint leaf extract. The blend of citrus oils is a powerful anti-bacterial agent.
Additional Essential Oils for UTIs
A study conducted in 2013 showed that some additional essential oils are effective against E. coli and other bacteria. These oils include:
- Sage essential oil
- Basil essential oil
- Rosemary essential oil
- Marjoram essential oil
- Hyssop essential oil
How to Use Essential Oils for UTIs
A person can use essential oils for UTIs in a few different ways. The oils can be diffused or applied directly to the skin, usually with a carrier oil. Some oils, those considered “hot” oils, such as Oregano, Clove or Cinnamon, should not be applied directly to the skin or should only be used if diluted.
You can also make a DIY inhaler using the oils mentioned above and sniff it throughout the day to get the therapeutic benefits of the oils.
Do not take essential oils internally unless indicated on bottle. The only essential oils that are approved by the FDA for dietary use are Young Living essential oils. And not all are ingestible. Read the label. Many are toxic if ingested and can cause serious side effects.
Do not apply essential oils directly to the vagina, penis, urethra, or any exposed skin. They can irritate the skin and cause an intense burning sensation.
When applied topically, essential oils must be diluted in a carrier oil. The usual recipe is 3 to 5 drops of essential oil per 1 ounce of carrier oil. Carrier oils are nontoxic. Warmed coconut oil is a popular choice. However, a person may have an allergic reaction to carrier oils, especially those derived from nuts.
Diluted essential oils can be safely used in a warm compress on skin near the affected area. Also, adding a few drops of diluted oils to a bath may promote relaxation and provide temporary relief from pain.
If you choose to apply essential oils, you should dilute them before you apply them to your skin. To dilute an essential oil, place 1 to 5 drops in 1 ounce of a carrier oil.
The mixture of essential oil and carrier oil can be applied to areas around the inner thighs, mons pubis, and outside the labia.
You can also try blending a few of the essential oils for UTIs listed above and putting them on a hot compress placed on your lower abdomen. To do this, dilute one drop of essential oil with one drop of carrier oil.
Carrier oils include:
- Sweet Almond oil
- Fractionated Coconut oil
- Sunflower oil
- Olive oil
Here’s a great blend that you can massage on your abdomen while suffering from a UTI.
Equal parts Eucalyptus, Lemon and Lavender essential oils mixed into a carrier oil.
Risks and Warnings for Using Essential Oils for UTIs
As with any product you use for health purposes, use essential oils with caution.
Essential oils should not be applied directly to the mucous membranes of the vagina or urethra. Be sure to blend with a carrier oil, first.
Test it first. Test the oil to make sure it doesn’t irritate your skin.
Click below for a printable PDF of the best essential oils for UTIs.
Other All-Natural Solutions for UTIs
Doctors usually treat UTIs with an oral antibiotic. Although antibiotics can be effective in killing off the bacteria that cause a UTI, they can also cause complications. They can help create drug-resistant bacteria and kill off the “good” bacteria in the body, too. This may lead to yeast infections.
You have may have heard the age-old advice that cranberry juice can help treat and prevent UTIs. Some studies have shown cranberry extract reduces the incidence of Urinary Tract Infections.
A 2018 study found that taking cranberry for one year reduced the incidence of recurrent UTIs in women.
You should opt for pure cranberry juice, which you may need to find online.
You can also help your body fight off any type of infection, by getting plenty of rest, eating fresh, nutritious foods and staying hydrated.. More fluids will help your body flush out the urinary tract infection. You can talk to your doctor about using both an essential oil and an antibiotic if necessary.
Diffuser Blends for UTIs
Diffusing essential oils is a great way to experience the therapeutic properties of them in a safe way.
Essential Oils for UTIs Diffuser Blend A
- 1 drop oregano essential oil
- 2 drops clove or cinnamon essential oil
- 4 drops lemon essential oil
Essential Oils for UTIs Diffuser Blend B
- 1 drop cinnamon essential oil
- 2 drops eucalyptus essential oil
- 4 drops lavender essential oil
You may enjoy this video by Dr. Axe about All Natural Treatments and Prevention of UTIs:
Living the Oily Life,