Irritating, annoying, uncomfortable, and frustrating: These are all words that can describe a urinary tract infection (UTI). It’s one of those things we don’t like to talk about, but that so many of us experience. Unfortunately, the cure usually requires a trip to the doctor and antibiotics, but some home remedies can help relieve the discomfort until the antibiotics kick in.
Let’s begin with a disclaimer: Cranberry pills do not work for everyone, and the feedback about their efficacy is mixed. Cranberry pills provide a concentrated amount of powdered cranberry to your body, providing you with all of the benefits of the fruit without necessitating a diet entirely of cranberries. The pills are typically used as preventative measures, as they offer probiotics and protection against bacteria buildup. They can provide minor relief for the same reason.
Just like taking cranberry pills, sipping on cranberry juice while dealing with a UTI isn’t going to cure you, but it may help ease your discomfort. Keep in mind that cranberries are highly acidic, and they can cause other problems like stomach aches.
Staying hydrated throughout the day and emptying your bladder entirely will also help to relieve some of the pressure UTIs cause. The main reason hydration helps (especially once you are on an antibiotic) is that it allows your system to flush out bacteria more quickly.
Skip the Coffee
Just as hydration is key, caffeinated beverages like coffee are absolute no-nos when it comes to relieving pain and curing UTIs. Caffeine can actually irritate your bladder and make your symptoms worse. It might sound counterintuitive, as most individuals need to use the bathroom more often after a cup of coffee, but if you’re looking to get rid of your UTI fast, ditch the caffeine entirely.
Use a Heating Pad
Just as you would handle menstrual cramps by using heat to relieve the discomfort, heating pads are also beneficial when dealing with a UTI. The main reason they help is that they reduce some of the pressure on your bladder, taking away some of the more painful symptoms.
Wear Loose Clothing
You probably don’t think much about the clothes you’re wearing when you have a UTI…but you should. Yoga pants might seem like comfortable loungewear, but you should actually avoid all tight-fitting clothing because it can prevent air from getting through to keep your urethra dry, which can lead to the spreading or development of bacteria. Also, avoid nylon underwear (or other, non-breathable fabrics for undergarments), and change your clothes frequently to prevent spreading bacteria.
Speak With Your Doctor
We always recommend that you speak with your doctor about any health issues you are having – including UTIs, which, if left untreated, can cause more serious health problems. However, the above at-home methods can provide you with some temporary UTI relief. Keep these tricks in your back pocket to prevent any unnecessary discomfort down the road!