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Treating a UTI without ABX

self-experiment, urinary tract infection, UTI

Thank you, Irish chicks.

In the summer of 2021, in an attempt to avoid crowded waiting rooms, I decided to investigate online a bit before visiting the doctor about a urinary tract infection (UTI). From the bottom of my heart I thank the Dublin ladies behind for helping me survive this ordeal.

After 45 minutes of perusing their website, I had learned:

  • Why doctor’s tests are inadequate and inaccurate
  • That finding an effective antibiotic is a crapshoot
  • How much weight to give an over-the-counter UTI test
  • That there are many over-the-counter (OTC) treatment options to experiment with

My only previous UTI, in 2009, was one of the most wretched experiences of my life, involving four hours in the emergency room. Luckily this time I figured out I was on the road to a UTI several days before that hellacious-misery stage.

Initial game plan and results

Now that I had a better idea of what to expect, I created a game plan for the next several days.

  • On Day One, I would make an appointment for the next day at the medical center, should I need it, and experiment with an over-the-counter UTI test and a painkiller marketed for UTIs.
  • On Day Two, I would go to the medical center and hope they give me a prescription for an antibiotic based on my symptoms, since test results take a day to process.
  • On Day Three, I would see if the antibiotic works at all, and wait to be informed of the test results.

The results:

  • I took three over-the-counter UTI tests and got three different answers.
  • The painkiller worked minimally at best.
  • I left the doctor’s office with 100 mg Nitrofurantoin, which is an absolutely gorgeous capsule, by the way.
  • At the end of the second day on the Nitrofurantoin I felt worse.
  • The test results came back negative, but I was told I could continue taking the Rx if I’m feeling better. (Visit the Live UTI Free site to understand why medical staff do this.)

So on Day Four I went to the backup plan, which included iodine, diet changes, pelvic floor exercises, and lemon balm. I added a few things as the weeks progressed.

What ended up working for me

The following treatments were effective. I chose them from a combination of input from the Live UTI Free website, their readers’ comments, my past experience with iodine, personal observation, and a half-remembered Weston Price article.

  • Iodine in one dose a day (I used Tri-Iodine)
  • Selenium supplement
  • Pelvic floor exercises
  • Lemon balm tincture, twice a day
  • No more fried fast food
  • No more soft drinks
  • Drank more water, but less often, with salt, to give the plumbing a rest
  • Blazing hot sun exposure on my torso

About the iodine

The Live UTI Free commenter who suggested iodine had used Lugol’s, which is a liquid, in three daily doses. I used Tri-Iodine capsules. After starting the iodine I knew I was on the right path, but I had to increase the dose a lot and take it all at once before I had a day without discomfort.

After a few weeks I added a selenium supplement, because during my long iodine experiment in 2011 I discovered I got a little jittery without it. That supplement contained 200 mcg selenium, 15 mg zinc, 100 mg alpha-lipoic acid, 100 mg L-cysteine, and 3.5 mg vitamin E.

After two months I stopped both supplements.

Why sun on the torso?

I think the sun-on-the-torso idea came from a Weston Price article insisting it was crucial for the immune system, but don’t quote me. What few twinges of discomfort I still experienced stopped entirely after a week of that sun exposure. I’m at a burning-hot latitude so I kept it to 13 minutes, and eventually dropped it to every other day.

Possible mental effects of a UTI

You’ve probably heard of the effect that UTIs can have on the emotions and behavior of the elderly. I’m not elderly yet, but I am wondering how much of my mental state over the previous months had been due to current events, and how much to a simmering, low-grade infection.

Get a plan in place before you need it

I recommend that you look at the Live UTI Free site BEFORE you need it, when you’re not dealing with panic brain.


This content was first published on April 12, 2023.

Marjorie smiling, wearing an orange shirt.

Marjorie R.

Marjorie is the creator of, a record of her and her guest authors’ experiences with non-prescription health solutions. She is a third-generation nutritional-therapy self-experimenter.

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