Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are highly prevalent, lead to considerable patient morbidity, incur large financial costs to health-care systems and are one of the most common reasons for antibiotic use worldwide. The growing problem of antimicrobial resistance means that the search for nonantibiotic alternatives for the treatment and prevention of UTI is of critical importance. Potential nonantibiotic measures and treatments for UTIs include behavioural changes, dietary supplementation (such as Chinese herbal medicines and cranberry products), NSAIDs, probiotics, D-mannose, methenamine hippurate, estrogens, intravesical glycosaminoglycans, immunostimulants, vaccines and inoculation with less-pathogenic bacteria. Some of the results of trials of these approaches are promising; however, high-level evidence is required before firm recommendations for their use can be made. A combination of these agents might provide the optimal treatment to reduce recurrent UTI, and trials in specific population groups are required.