Essential oils for Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)
Urinary tract infections (UTIs) can be painful and are sometimes difficult to treat. Many people, especially women, have problems with recurring UTIs. As a result, doctors may prescribe multiple doses of antibiotics to get rid of the infection.
However, with growing awareness around the potential for antibiotic-resistant bacteria to grow and thrive, you may be looking for a different way to treat UTIs, such as using essential oils.
Can essential oils be an effective way to treat a UTI? Read on to learn more.
What the research says
Some studies show that essential oils can actually help fight bacterial infections. For example, lemongrass oil can be effective against drug-resistant microorganisms.
One study examined 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 the harmful pathogens.
How to use essential oils for a UTI
Using essential oils to fight UTIs can be tricky. The urinary tract is normally a sterile area, so you don't want to introduce anything foreign into the area.
All essential oils must be diluted before you apply them to your skin. To dilute the essential oil, place 1 to 5 drops in 1 ounce of a carrier oil. Carrier oils include sweet almond oil, coconut oil, sunflower oil, or olive oil.
In order to avoid irritation, be aware that:
- Essential oils should not be applied to the mucous membranes of the vagina or urethra. This can irritate the female parts.
- You shouldn’t apply essential oils directly to the skin.
- 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 your favorite oils and using them in a hot compress placed on your lower abdomen. To do this, dilute one drop of the oil with one drop of the carrier oil.
- You can use essential oils dropped into a diffuser for inhaling. This may be a good option if your skin is easily irritated.
Essential oils that’re helpful for any type of bacterial infection are citrus oils, including orange peel, tangerine peel, grapefruit peel, lemon peel, and spearmint leaf extract. A blend of citrus oils is a powerful anti-bacterial agent. Other oils to try include oregano, rosemary, and basil oils.
Risks and warnings
As with any product you use for health purposes, use essential oils with caution. Be sure to take the following steps before using:
- Dilute the essential oil: If using on your skin, dilute an essential oil in a carrier oil, such as olive or coconut oil.
- Test it first: Test the oil to make sure it doesn’t irritate your skin. For instance, the National Association of Holistic Aromatherapy(NAHA) lists lemongrass as an essential oil that can cause skin irritation. Test a mixture of the essential oil and carrier oil on your forearm in a small area about the size of a quarter. If you don’t see any reaction in 24 to 48 hours, the oil mixture should be safe for you to use.
- Don’t swallow essential oils: Some essential oil companies advertise that their oils are safe to ingest when diluted. However, the NAHAdoesn’t recommend routine ingestion of any essential oil unless you’re under the supervision of a trained and certified aromatherapist.
Other treatments for UTIs
Doctors traditionally 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, which may lead to more yeast infections.
You have may have heard the common advice that cranberry juice can help treat and prevent UTIs. There have been some studies that show cranberry extract reduces the incidence of UTIs. Other studies have looked at the effect of cranberry juice on UTIs. Researchers can't seem to agree if the juice really works or not. The bottom line is that cranberry juice might help with UTIs and, unless you’re on a low-sugar diet, is worth a try. Most doctors also suggest following these basic tips to prevent recurring UTIs.
What you can do now
If want to try an essential oil to treat a UTI, be sure to speak to your doctor first. Talk to them to make sure there are no other health complications to consider.
When choosing an essential oil, opt for one that’s high quality. Next, dilute the oil in a carrier oil. It’s best to start by applying the oil to a compress instead of directly onto the skin to avoid any potential skin irritation.
To help your body fight off any type of infection, be sure to get plenty of rest, eat fresh, nutritious foods, and stay 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.
what are essential oils?
Even though essential oils have been around for thousands of years, we can enjoy the direct benefits of using essential oils today; through healing properties occurring naturally through the extracted plant substance.
Essential oils have been recorded throughout history to be used to enhance spiritual, emotional, physical, and mental health. The Egyptians were referenced as using cinnamon, myrrh, sandalwood, and frankincense as early as 4500 BC. Scholars in India developed the science of Ayurveda around 3000 BC. These people relied on essential oils in potions using some of today’s favorites, such as ginger and cinnamon.
The use of essential oils for remedies of ailments was recorded by Chinese scholars between 2067 and 2597 BC. However, probably the most common place we read about essential oils is in the Bible. Essential oils are mentioned over two hundred times in the New Testament and Old Testament of the Bible.
how do essential oils work?
If you are a beginner to essential oils, there are three primary ways essential oils enter the body: applied to the skin, inhaled, or ingested. When choosing the right method to use essential oils, always keep in mind the desired result you are wanting and then determine the best application for use. Essential oils can enter the body by being applied to the skin. This method can vary from using a compress, gargling, bath or even massage. It requires several drops of essential oils to be used topically in some manner. It is important to note that most essential oils should not be applied directly to the skin without being diluted.
While people inhale and diffuse essential oils for a variety of reasons, it has been shown that inhalation is most effective and best suited to treat a variety of respiratory complaints. Ingestion of essential oils has had much controversy, I suggest you do the proper research yourself and use safe practices. Cases of death, organ failure and hospitalization in the history of aromatherapy have been caused by ingesting essential oils.
benefits of essential oils
Essential oil benefits come from their antioxidant, antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. These healing oils are rapidly growing in popularity because they act as natural medicine without side effects. In fact, Clove essential oil is so useful as an anti-inflammatory and analgesic that it has been approved for use as a dental anesthetic by the American Dental Association. It is excellent when included in mouthwash recipes, particularly if you suffer from sore, inflamed gums.
While people traditionally see a doctor for an illness and get a prescription drug, many others have awoken to the fact that essential oils can be used in a powerful way, when it comes to healing and supporting the body’s emotional and physical well-being. The biggest question is what oil will work for my body the best. Because we are not all the same, essential oils do not function the same for each of us. If you are looking for a way to reduce the number of chemicals you use in your home, making your own products with essential oils is an excellent choice.
Disclaimer: The information contained on this site is intended for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for advice, diagnosis or treatment by a licensed physician. It is not meant to cover all possible precautions, drug interactions, circumstances or adverse effects. You should seek prompt medical care for any health issues and consult your doctor before using alternative medicine or making a change to your regimen.