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Can you get rid of a uti on your own: Can a UTI Go Away on its Own?

Can a UTI Go Away on its Own?

Urinary tract infections (UTIs)—when bacteria gets into your urine and travels up to your bladder—are the source of 8.1 million visits to health care providers each year, according to the Urology Care Foundation. In fact, UTIs are so common that about 60 percent of women and 12 percent of men will have at least one UTI during their lifetime.

UTIs are common, but can they go away on their own, or do they always require medical attention and antibiotics? The answer isn’t so simple.

Urologist Mark Perlmutter, M.D., says a UTI can go away on its own, but not every type of UTI and not every time.

“Yes, a UTI could go away on its own, but some infections are different than others,” he says. “And if left untreated, it may linger longer.”

UTIs are classified into two main categories: uncomplicated, also known as cystitis; and complicated, which may be catheter-associated or happen during pregnancy. In most cases, UTIs are caused by E. coli bacteria normally found in the bowels.

When to Seek Care

In general, UTIs present with the following symptoms:

  • Pain and burning during urination
  • Frequently feeling like you need to urinate
  • Frequently feeling like you need to urinate after you just did
  • Urine that is cloudy
  • Urine with a strong odor
  • Pressure and cramping in the lower belly
  • Feeling weak or shaky

The sooner you can address these symptoms, the more likely you’ll avoid letting a UTI develop into a kidney infection. Though some people have beaten uncomplicated UTIs with fluids and supplements, like cranberry pills, Dr. Perlmutter says it’s best to call your doctor, get a urine culture and, if deemed necessary by your doctor, start a round of antibiotics.

“There’s really no need to delay treatment since the majority of the time, fluids and antibiotics will easily knock out a UTI,” he says.

If a UTI is treated early, there will likely be no lasting effect on your urinary tract. However, UTIs can cause complications if not found and treated quickly.

You should immediately call your doctor if you experience any of the following symptoms, as they could be signs of larger urinary tract problems:

  • Blood in your urine
  • Fever
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Lower back pain
  • Decreased urine production

How to Prevent a UTI

To prevent UTIs, stay hydrated, properly clean yourself after sexual activity, wipe from front to back (for women) and urinate when you feel the urge rather than holding it in for long periods.

“Cranberry tabs have been shown to guard against E. coli infection,” Dr. Perlmutter says. “And the more you can prevent a UTI, the better.”

So while it’s possible for a UTI to go away on its own, is it really worth waiting?

Next Steps & Resources:

  • Meet our source: Mark Perlmutter, M. D.
  • To make an appointment with Dr. Perlmutter or a doctor near you, call 800-822-8905 or visit our website.

The material provided through HealthU is intended to be used as general information only and should not replace the advice of your physician. Always consult your physician for individual care.

Can You Treat a UTI without Antibiotics? 7 Home Remedies

Bacteria cause urinary tract infections (UTIs), so doctors usually treat them with antibiotics. Other tips for managing UTIs include staying hydrated, urinating when necessary, and trying cranberry juice and probiotics.

People often want to know whether there are non-antibiotic treatments for UTIs. Below, we explore seven evidence-based home remedies for these infections.

  • For reducing bacterial growth: UTIs and hydration
  • For releasing toxins: UTIs and urination
  • For a natural antibacterial drink: UTIs and cranberry juice
  • For lowering pH: UTIs and probiotics
  • For improving immune function: UTIs and vitamin C
  • For improving wiping technique: UTIs and wiping
  • For reducing microbial risks from sex: UTIs and sexual hygiene

A note about sex and gender

Sex and gender exist on spectrums. This article will use the terms “male,” “female,” or both to refer to sex assigned at birth. Click here to learn more.

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UTIs are among the most common bacterial infections in the United States. They are especially prevalent in females, with 2022 research showing that 40% of females will have one during their lifetimes. UTIs also tend to reoccur.

The symptoms can include:

  • increased frequency and urgency of urination
  • pain or burning when urinating
  • a fever of below 101°F (38°C)
  • pressure or cramping in the lower abdomen and groin
  • change in the smell or color of urine
  • cloudy, murky, or bloody urine

Learn more about the causes and symptoms of UTIs here.

Antibiotics are the standard treatment for UTIs because they kill the bacteria responsible for the infections.

Most UTIs develop when bacteria enter the urinary tract from outside the body. The species most likely to cause UTIs include:

  • E. coli, which causes up to 90% of all bladder infections
  • Staphylococcus epidermidis and Staphylococcus aureus
  • Klebsiella pneumonia

Risks of using antibiotics

While antibiotics can usually treat UTIs quickly and effectively, they can cause allergic reactions and other adverse effects and complications.

For instance, older research suggests that about 22% of females receiving treatment for uncomplicated UTIs develop a Candida vaginal infection, a type of fungal infection.

Other potential side effects of antibiotics include:

  • nausea and vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • a rash
  • yeast infection

More severe risks of using antibiotics include the following.

Creating stronger strains of bacteria

Over time, some species of bacteria have become resistant to traditional antibiotics. According to some research, several species of E. coli, the primary cause of UTIs, show increasing drug resistance.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) writes that over- and misuse of antibiotics are causing increased resistance. People should only take antibiotics when necessary. They should not pressure a doctor into prescribing antibiotics if they are not necessary, such as for colds or flu.

If a doctor prescribes antibiotics, a person should take them exactly as they instruct.

Damaging helpful bacteria

The body contains populations of bacteria and other microorganisms that help with bodily functions. The CDC says that antibiotics may destroy some of these bacteria that help to protect people from infections.

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Research supports the use of some home remedies for UTIs. Some have been part of traditional medicine practices for thousands of years.

To treat a UTI without antibiotics, people can try these approaches.

1. Stay hydrated

Drinking enough water can help prevent UTIs.

Water helps the urinary tract organs efficiently remove waste from the body while retaining vital nutrients and electrolytes.

Being hydrated also dilutes the urine and speeds its journey through the system, making it harder for bacteria to reach and infect the cells that line the urinary organs.

There is no set recommendation about how much water to drink daily — people’s needs differ. However, on average, adults should drink between six and eight 8-ounce glasses of water each day.

2. Urinate when the need arises

Frequent urination can help flush bacteria from the urinary tract.

It also reduces the time that bacteria in the urine are exposed to cells in the tract, limiting the risk of them attaching to and infecting these cells.

Urinating as soon as possible after the urge strikes can help prevent and treat UTIs.

3. Drink cranberry juice

Cranberry juice is one of the most well-established natural treatments for UTIs. People also use it to clear other infections and speed wound recovery.

2020 research into the effectiveness of cranberries for UTIs has found it to be effective. However, its effectiveness may vary from person to person, and more research is needed regarding which type of cranberry product and which dose is most effective.

The authors write that cranberries contain polyphenols that may prevent Escherichia coli bacteria from attaching to cells in the urinary tract.

Cranberries also contain antioxidants with antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.

There is no set guidance about how much cranberry juice to drink for a UTI. To prevent them, a person might drink around 400 milliliters of at least 25% cranberry juice every day. However, more research is necessary to determine how much cranberry juice to drink for a UTI.

4. Use probiotics

Beneficial bacteria, called probiotics, can help keep the urinary tract healthy and free from harmful bacteria.

In particular, probiotics in the Lactobacillus group may help treat and prevent UTIs, according to some older 2017 research. They may do this by:

  • preventing harmful bacteria from attaching to urinary tract cells
  • producing hydrogen peroxide, a strong antibacterial agent, in urine
  • lowering urine’s pH, making conditions less favorable for bacteria

Also, people who take Lactobacillus supplements while they take antibiotics may have reduced antibiotic resistance.

Probiotics exist in several products that contain dairy, are fermented, or both, including:

  • yogurts
  • kefir
  • some types of cheese
  • sauerkraut

People can also take probiotic supplements, usually as capsules or a powder mixed into water or other beverages.

Learn more about the best sources of probiotics.

5. Get enough vitamin C

Vitamin C is an antioxidant that helps improve immune system function.

It also reacts with nitrates in urine to form nitrogen oxides that can kill bacteria. It can lower the pH of urine, making it less likely that bacteria will survive.

However, little quality research indicates whether consuming more vitamin C can prevent or treat UTIs.

According to limited research, taking other supplements alongside vitamin C may maximize its benefits.

A 2021 review of natural remedies for UTIs stated that it could control the symptoms. Additionally, an older 2016 study examined data from 36 people with recurrent UTIs who took vitamin C, probiotics, and cranberry supplements three times a day for 20 days, then stopped for 10 days. They repeated this cycle for 3 months. The researchers concluded that this could be a safe, effective way to treat recurrent UTIs.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) recommend that females ages 19 and over consume at least 75 milligrams (mg) of vitamin C daily, while males need around 90 mg daily. Adults who smoke should take an additional 35 mg of the vitamin each day.

6. Wipe from front to back

UTIs can develop when bacteria from the rectum or feces access the urethra. This small channel allows urine to flow out of the body.

Once bacteria are in the urethra, they can travel up into other urinary tract organs, where they can cause infections.

After urinating, wipe in a way that prevents bacteria from moving from the anus to the genitals. Use separate pieces of toilet paper to wipe the genitals and anus, for example.

7. Practice good sexual hygiene

Some sexual intercourse can introduce bacteria and other microbes into the urinary tract. Practicing good sexual hygiene can help to reduce this risk.

Examples of good sexual hygiene include:

  • urinating before and immediately after sex
  • using barrier contraception, such as a condom
  • washing the genitals, especially the foreskin, before and after engaging in sexual acts or intercourse
  • washing the genitals or changing condoms if switching from anal to vaginal sex
  • ensuring that all sexual partners are aware of any current or past UTIs

UTI supplement options

Read our full Uqora review, which focuses on developing natural supplements for UTI prevention.

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The following table compares the UTI treatments mentioned in this article.

MethodHow it works
Drink waterdrink six to eight 8-ounce glasses of water per dayhydration may make it harder for bacteria to infect the urinary tract
Urinateurinate as soon as possible when the need arisesmay help flush the bacteria from the urinary tract
Drink cranberry juicearound 400 milliliters of 25% cranberry juicemay prevent bacteria from attaching to cells in the urinary tract
Probioticsconsume probiotic food or supplementsmay make the urinary tract less favorable for bacteria and produce antibacterial agents
Vitamin Cconsume vitamin C supplementsmay work alongside antibiotics to maximize their benefits
Wipe front to backwipe from the urethra toward the anusprevents feces from gaining access to the urethra
Sexual hygiene• urinate before and after sex
• use barrier contraception
• wash genitals before and after sex
• wash genitals and change condoms when switching from anal to vaginal sex
• make sure all partners are aware of current and past UTIs
may help reduce the risk of UTIs

If a person suspects that they have a UTI, they should ask a healthcare professional for advice about the best way to treat it.

Antibiotics may not always be necessary, but it is still important to seek medical attention. This reduces the risk of developing a more severe infection that is harder to treat.

Below are answers to some frequently asked questions about treating UTIs.

Can I treat a UTI without antibiotics?

Yes, people can treat a UTI without antibiotics, and sometimes UTIs go away on their own. However, most at-home treatments are most effective at preventing UTIs and may not get rid of the bacteria causing a current UTI.

People can try drinking cranberry juice, taking vitamin C supplements, or trying probiotics to prevent and reduce the reoccurrence of UTIs. People should be aware that they may still have a UTI even if their symptoms go away.

A person should speak with a doctor about the best UTI treatment for them.

Can UTIs go away on their own?

Some uncomplicated UTIs go away on their own without the use of antibiotics.

However, keep in mind that there are risks to leaving UTIs untreated, such as the infection spreading to other parts of the body.

What happens if a UTI is left untreated?

Going without medical treatment does carry some risks. For example, nearly 25% of sepsis cases originate in the urogenital tract.

A randomized trial also showed that kidney infections, also known as pyelonephritis, may develop in about 2% of females with untreated UTIs.

Is it safe to treat UTIs without antibiotics?

Antibiotics are effective treatments for UTIs. Sometimes, the body can resolve minor, uncomplicated UTIs on its own, without antibiotics.

By some estimates, 25–42% of uncomplicated UTI infections clear on their own. In these cases, people can try a range of home remedies to speed up recovery.

Complicated UTIs require medical treatment. These are some factors that can make the infection complicated:

  • changes in the urinary tract or organs, such as a swollen prostate or reduced flow of urine
  • species of bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics
  • conditions that affect the immune system, such as HIV, cardiac disease, or lupus

Most people develop a UTI at some point, and these infections are more common in females.

Many UTIs go away on their own or with primary care. Researchers are increasingly looking for ways to treat and prevent UTIs without antibiotics.

Several long-standing home remedies may help prevent and treat these infections.

Anyone who may have a UTI should speak with a healthcare professional before trying to treat the infection themselves.

Counter-dependency in relationships: what it is and how to get rid of it

Counter-dependent people consistently avoid close relationships, behave detachedly, do not share feelings and emotions. The thought of talking about needs, desires, sharing life with others causes them fear and deep pain. What is the reason for counter-dependent behavior and how to behave in a relationship with such a person, says Gestalt therapist Valentin Oskin.

In contrast to co-dependency – a painful attachment to another person, counter-dependence is the rejection of attachments and the lack of need for other people. Otherwise, it is called addiction avoidance. Counterdependence concerns not only specific people, but the widest possible social circle – family, friends, colleagues and just acquaintances.

Counter-addicts avoid all intimate, in the broad sense of the word, contact with other people, which usually leads to emotional closeness and isolation. In the psychological literature, a counter-dependent person is described as active, acting brightly, strongly, often outwardly demonstrating high social success. Often counterdependent people are characterized by a sense of superiority, a stable idea of ​​themselves as the best, and this is expressed in dismissive criticism of others, exaggeration of their own abilities and belittling of others.

A counterdependent person tries with all his actions, thoughts and feelings to prove that he does not need other people, their society, help, love, and often he will be very successful in this. However, in reality, such manifestations are part of avoidance behavior, the essence of which is to avoid the pain and fear of closeness with other people by all means.

Counter-dependent people panicky distrust others, because they are painfully afraid of the consequences: they refuse to ask for help, even when the situation suggests it, they strive to be completely independent. They act on the principle of avoidance, in conflicts they do not clarify the opinions or needs of the people around them, even if it is necessary. It is difficult for them to relax, because everything requires their attention and control, and to trust, delegate, ask is like death. At the same time, inside they feel a strong need for close relationships and at the same time strong fear.

Counterdependent people are often exaggeratedly demanding of themselves, such exactingness is usually expressed in exhausting themselves with work, constant pursuit of an unattainable ideal, and strong self-flagellation. This leads to an extremely pronounced feeling of loneliness and depression. They crave intimacy, but feel shame or guilt for needing it.

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Causes of counter-dependence

Counter-dependency begins in childhood — at the age of six months to three years, when a child learns to build relationships with parents, absorbs primary (and most basic) knowledge about himself, the world and people. And if in the perception of the child the parents are distant or rejecting, and the environment and other people are cold and dangerous, then in order to survive, the child often forms a strategy of detachment and independence. This is called developmental trauma.

There are two types of such trauma: separation trauma and attachment trauma. The first 9-11 months of a child’s life is the stage of attachment formation – he forms a bond with his mother. When attachment is formed, by the age of 3, it is important for children to gain their first independence and separate from their mother. If trauma occurs at any of these stages—for example, the mother suddenly disappears from the child’s life in the first year or later interferes with the child’s development of independence (for example, by displaying excessive anxiety)—it can lead to the development of counterdependence as a coping and coping strategy in the face of fear of close relationships. This strategy is carried over into adulthood.

There are other circumstances: emotional or physical abuse, but much more often – neglect, when a person at an early age or in a meaningful close relationship was simply not seen, heard, not noticed and appreciated. Perhaps you had to meet the needs of parents who were too tired, too busy to understand that the child also had needs. Or you had to show yourself to be the perfect child, demonstrating brilliant achievements, in order to get any parental attention at all.

The counter-addict believes that asking for help is a weakness. He regularly encountered the fact that any request for satisfaction of his own needs was met with ridicule or refusal. Or, even worse, he met ignorance as the only reaction. Such a child grows up fearful of close relationships. The thought of talking to someone about your needs, desires, sharing life, causes fear of being abandoned or rejected, and at the same time pain from the inability to share your life with loved ones. Therefore, counterdependent people maintain the appearance that everything is fine with them, feeling lost and alone.

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How counter-dependency differs from codependency

Counter- and codependency are two extremes of the same spectrum of developmental trauma. Codependency is a condition characterized by deep preoccupation with and intense emotional, social, or even physical dependence on or relationship with another person. A codependent person is painfully “sticky”, makes extreme sacrifices to satisfy the needs of his partner. The mood and emotions of codependents are often determined by how they think they are perceived. Psychologists Berry and Janey Weinhold, in Flight from Intimacy, illustrate the differences between the poles of co- and counter-dependency as follows:

  • Co-dependent person: clings to others, shows weakness and vulnerability in relationships, preoccupied with partner’s feelings, others-oriented, easily influenced, suffers from low self-esteem, apathetic, constantly blames himself, longs for intimacy, very quickly creates relationships, reserved and modest.
  • Counterdependent person: repels others, demonstrates strength and inaccessibility, does not pay attention to the experience of a partner, ignores others, is hypertrophied by social life or making money, success, independent, has high self-esteem, tries to be good, demonstrates success, is active, blames others, avoids intimacy and trust, pompous, sacrifices others, controls others.

It is important to note that counterdependence, like codependency, is not included in the ICD and DSM mental health diagnostic manuals and therefore is not a diagnosable mental health condition. Without a clinical definition, the term is easily applicable to many behaviors, leading to abuse by some self-help book authors and support communities. For example, psychologist Kristi Pikevich has suggested that the term “codependency” is overused by the general population, and defining a person as codependent may lower their self-esteem, shame them, rather than help them focus on how their traumas are shaping their current relationship.

It can be said that counter-dependence, like co-dependence, are special psychological terms used in the psychological literature and the community, describing a set of mental and behavioral phenomena that together form specific behavioral and emotional patterns that arise in some people in relationships with others. Depending on the specific set of phenomena, these schemes will be called counter- or codependency.

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How a counterdependent person differs from a self-sufficient one

Healthy autonomy is a state of firm self-confidence in which a person:

  • Recognizes his interdependence with others.
  • Possesses the feeling and understanding that he himself can dispose of and manage life in the way he needs. In other words, he is aware of himself as a subject, not an object.
  • Not controlled or influenced by others.
  • The motive of autonomy is the desire to be independent, the recognition of one’s full potential as a person, and not the fear of intimacy and the fear of rejection.
  • Healthy, self-sufficient people can regularly establish effective, meaningful, close, long-term relationships with others. That is, they can share, be vulnerable.

At first glance, counterdependence may look like healthy autonomy, since both involve the ability to separate from others. Counterdependence is driven by a pattern of avoidance of intimacy, fear, pain, distrust, while healthy self-sufficiency is necessary for a person for self-improvement, self-knowledge, self-disclosure and building relationships with people and the world through this.

Signs of counter-dependency

Since counter-dependence as a part of character develops in childhood, usually at the same age when socialization, including gender, occurs, men and women with such a characterology are likely to demonstrate stereotypical ideas about independent men or women. Most likely, they flaunt alienation, coldness, loneliness, independence. At the same time, in their behavior they can demonstrate disdain for others, varying degrees of cruelty, and low empathy.

There are signs of counter-dependence that are common to all people regardless of sex and gender:

  • You believe that if you get too close to someone, he/she will impose their thoughts and feelings on you, and then you will lose yourself.
  • You are fiercely independent, refusing to ask or accept help from anyone, even when needed.
  • For you, the need for intimacy is weakness and vulnerability. The thought that you, too, may need deep and intimate relationships makes you repulsed, fearful, and irritated.
  • You are afraid to get close to someone, otherwise they will find out about your secret desires and fears, after which they will reject you.
  • Your independence, independence are like impenetrable. On the one hand, it protects you from pain, but it also prevents you from receiving love.
  • You devote a great deal of time and energy to your activities and achievements, work hard and do your best to let the world know about your achievements. Anything to not feel emotions.
  • You are constantly afraid of making a mistake and being ashamed of it.
  • You can get frustrated easily, lack patience and tend to lose your temper, get angry or cry when things don’t go as you expected.

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How counterdependence manifests itself in personal relationships and in the family

When entering into a relationship with a counterdependent person, it is important to understand the motives for this choice. For a long time there is a risk of facing coldness and inaccessibility. The counter-addict’s seemingly independent behavior can act as a powerful lure. When a codependent and a counterdependent pair up, their relationship looks like one is running away and the other is catching up. Such relationships hurt both and are very exhausting.

Sometimes, after the formation of a couple, the codependent and the counterdependent change roles: the counterdependent, gaining access to such desired intimacy, begins to pathologically become involved in this relationship, losing himself, while the codependent gets the opportunity to finally find himself at the expense of a partner. Then the one who was counter-dependent begins to gradually change – all his independence gradually turns into dependence on his partner, which manifests itself in increasing control, jealousy, constant tests arising from fear of rejection.

The fear of rejection also manifests itself in a very sharp negative reaction to any criticism. This is precisely because criticism for the counter-addict equates to rejection. The phrase “What you do, I don’t like” is perceived by the counter-addict as “I don’t like you.” The reaction – fear and anger – will not be long in coming.

How to behave in a relationship with a counter-dependent person

A partner should constantly take into account all the knowledge about counter-dependence, prepare to be endlessly accepting, supportive and caring, patient and non-critical. In addition, you need to be mentally prepared that there will be no quick changes or no changes at all.

Counter-dependence is the result of a developmental trauma that occurred at the stage of attachment or separation. And if you managed to create the relationship described above for your partner, it is logical to assume that separation will one day happen from you. What form it will take – the end of a relationship, a change in format, just the separation of two adults – is impossible to predict.

Therefore, before starting a relationship, it is important to ask questions: do I need this? Do I want a relationship with this person or do I want to change him? Do I really want to change this person? What do I want to get out of it?

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How to get rid of counter-dependence

Counter-dependence therapy is building such a relationship between the therapist and the client, where the therapist plays the role of a healthy adult who will be sensible to the client, his emotional needs, react differently to the appearance of the client, give feedback. This involves building trust, self-disclosure, and overcoming resistance: by keeping the therapist at arm’s length and avoiding emotional references, counterdependents may try to control the therapist in order to maintain a sense of independence.