Kidney infection or pyelonephritis is a urinary tract disease caused by bacteria like Escherichia coli (E. coli) and Enterococcus spp. People with kidney infection may experience a lot of discomforts including pains on the lower abdomen, sides, and back, as well as frequent and painful urination.
Kidney infection is usually treated using antibiotics such as Amoxicillin, Ciprofloxacin, and Bactrim (Note: Any use of a medicine must be with an advice of a doctor). But applying some home remedies can be particularly helpful in:
- preventing kidney infection;
- minimizing pain and discomforts;
- recovering from a kidney infection.
Here are simple-to-prepare home remedies for kidney infection:
Water – plenty of it
Water can be the safest and simplest home remedy for a kidney infection.
It can be obtained easily anytime, anywhere and does not require complex preparations. Just drink it as it is and it will help fight kidney infection or prevent the infection from getting worse.
Kidneys need the right amount of water to be able to function properly.
So when the kidneys get infected they may require a sufficient supply of water to remain functional and to flush out the bacteria in them. Traditionally, patients with kidney infection increased their water intake from 8 glasses to 10 glasses a day. But the National Kidney Foundation warns that damaged kidneys may not be able to expel water satisfactorily, so less water intake can be the best practice. To be safe, it is advisable to consult with a doctor first.
Hot compressor medically known as thermotherapy is a proven remedy for alleviating pains and discomforts. It is also a very simple home remedy in that it requires just a hot compress bag filled with warm or hot water. Although it cannot prevent the proliferation of infection-causing bacteria, a hot compress can ease malaise that patients with kidney infection may be experiencing. It can help soothe pains on the lower abdomen, on the sides, and on the back, which are a common symptom of kidney infection. However, it is important to note that hot compress alone cannot cure kidney infection. It should be applied along with a pharmacologic treatment such as taking antibiotics.
Tip: Create a homemade hot compress if a hot compress bag is not available. For example, prepare a washcloth compress or replace the hot compress bag with a safe-to-use bottle or plastic container.
Below is a step-by-step procedure on how to create a washcloth hot compress:
How to make a washcloth hot compress
What you need:
- Resealable plastic bag
- Microwave or bowl filled with hot water (for heating)
How to do it:
- Moisten the washcloth with water.
- Fold it neatly and then put inside a resealable plastic bag.
- Put in the microwave for a minute OR submerge in a bowl filled with hot water.
- Safely remove the plastic bag from the microwave oven or the bowl using a thong.
- Cover the plastic bag with a clean towel.
- Wrap or apply the washcloth hot compress on the area that is painful.
Like water, juices can help cleanse the kidney by flushing out the bacteria that are damaging it. Juices also contain an array of nutrients that can enable the body to fight kidney infection and recuperate faster from it. For one, parsley juice can help boost urine and water flow because parsley (Petroselinum crispum) is a proven diuretic.
Cranberry juice, on the other hand, can be a good source of Vitamin C and fibers,
which are also helpful in fighting infections. Further, juices can be very simple to prepare. Cranberry juice is usually commercially available, while parsley juice can be prepared by simply boiling a few parsley leaves.
Important: Ask a doctor for the possible effects of juices on medications.
Yogurt is not only stomach-friendly but can be kidney-friendly as well. Yogurt that contains live bacteria (probiotic yogurt) can help protect the kidneys from infection-causing bacteria, preventing them from adhering onto the urinary tract. It can be consumed with fruits for improved taste and additional nutrients.
3Apple cider vinegar with honey
Research shows that apple cider vinegar (ACV) can improve the antioxidant defense of kidneys. It also contains malic acid, which makes it a potential antibacterial. Honey, on the other hand, can prevent kidney inflammation. But honey should be consumed with caution because too much of it can damage the kidney.
Combined, apple cider vinegar and honey can do more wonders on kidneys than when consumed separately. To prepare a mixture of apple cider vinegar and honey, take a tablespoon of ACV and mix it with 2 teaspoons of honey.
Baking soda or sodium bicarbonate is a water-soluble substance that has several uses. For one, taking a tablespoon of baking soda dissolved in about 8 ounces of water daily for two to three weeks can help replenish lost bicarbonates in kidneys due to infection. Baking soda can also help fight kidney infection by detoxifying the kidneys and balancing the acid level in the urine. However, baking soda should be taken with caution because misuse can lead to poisoning.
Garlic has antibacterial and antimicrobial properties, making it a potential remedy for a kidney infection. Studies show that it can prevent bacteria like E. coli to reach the urinary tract. When eaten raw, garlic can also serve as a diuretic remedy, helping the kidneys flush out more urine as well as harmful toxins and microorganisms in the body.
There is no standard “dosage” or amount of garlic for it to be as effective as antibiotics. But experts say two to four cloves of garlic will do. Patients may also take garlic pills instead of eating raw garlic. It can be helpful to seek a doctor’s advice first to harness the full potential of garlic.
Known for its therapeutic benefits, essential oils are used for healing different illnesses. This is because essential oils like cypress oil, thyme oil, sandalwood oil, oregano oil, and birch oil have antiseptic properties.
Essential oils can help eradicate bacteria from the kidney. It can also alleviate body pains and discomforts due to a kidney infection.
Some essential oils are safe for ingestion while others like cypress oil can only be used by diffusion. Before using essential oils, it is recommended to perform allergy testing.
Aloe vera is a popular and ancient-old medicinal plant that has a variety of uses.
Generally, aloe vera has been known for its aesthetic benefits. It has been used for treating skin, hair, and wounds, among others. Aloe vera also contains laxative properties.
In treating kidney diseases, however, aloe vera can be both harmful and beneficial depending on what aloe compound is taken. Aloe vera produces two compounds: aloe latex and aloe gel. Aloe gel was found helpful in treating kidney diseases particularly those induced by Type 2 Diabetes. Aloe latex, on the other hand, can be harmful to kidneys. Using aloe latex have many side effects including diarrhea and abdominal cramps. It is therefore recommended to see a specialist first before using aloe vera to treat kidney infections.
A daily sip of herbal tea can help prevent and fight kidney infections. Most herbal teas are proven diuretics, which means they can increase passing of urine, thereby preventing bacteria build up in the urinary tract. Increased urine output can also help alleviate kidney pains. Drinking too many teas (6 to 7 cups), however, can result in dehydration, which can worsen kidney infection. Pregnant women may not be allowed to drink urine-stimulant herbal teas.
Herbal teas for kidney infection include celery seed tea, green and black tea, dandelion tea, and horsetail tea. Teas are relatively easy to prepare like fruit juices. For example, celery seed tea can be prepared by just dissolving a tablespoon of grounded celery seeds in a cup of hot water. Green and black teas, on the other hand, are usually prepared by simply brewing it.
Precautions and other considerations
Relying on home remedies alone can be detrimental. It should not totally replace pharmacologic treatments such as oral or injectable antibiotics.
Unlike urinary tract infection which can be cured using just natural remedies, kidney infections can result in more severe complications including permanent kidney damage. Kidney infection treatment should be in accordance with the patient’s general health status and the type of bacteria that causes the infection.
Pregnant women should be wary of taking home remedies for kidney infections. Some home remedy can have diuretic and laxative effects, which can impact the baby’s well being.
Home remedies can also have adverse side effects especially if taken in wrong doses. Some may trigger allergies or cause pains and discomforts.
It is, therefore, crucial to seek medical advice first to know the most appropriate and proper treatment of kidney infections.