A urinary tract infection (UTI) can involve any portion of your urinary system, which includes your kidneys, bladder, the small tube-like structure that carries urine from your kidney to your bladder (ureter), or the small tube that carries urine out of your body from your bladder (urethra).
Most infections, however, develop in the lower urinary tract, the bladder, and urethra, and women are much more likely than men to have a UTI. Simple UTIs are easily treated with antibiotics but can become dangerous to your health if they move into your kidneys. That’s why the healthcare professionals at DOCCS recommend you see your physician as soon as possible when you suspect a UTI.
If you’re having frequent UTIs, they might also recommend further evaluation to determine what underlying factors may be increasing your risk, such as changes related to menopause. They can then develop a treatment strategy that helps reduce your odds of developing UTIs.
Whether it’s your first UTI or you’re an experienced veteran, there are some things you can do at home to relieve your symptoms and help speed your healing.
Tips for dealing with a UTI include:
Every case is different, but there are signals your body sends that may indicate you’re experiencing a UTI. These can include:
Frequent and strong urge to urinate
Passing small amounts of urine
Burning discomfort with urination
Cloudy urine that may have a strong smell
Urine that appears red, pink, or cola-colored, which may indicate blood in the urine
Pelvic pain that is typically focused in the center of the lower abdomen
As with most medical conditions, early intervention for a UTI often helps speed recovery time and decreases your risk of developing a more severe or complex infection.
It may sound like a simplistic answer to helping cure an infection, but drinking plenty of water means you’ll urinate more frequently. This helps flush the infection-causing bacteria from your body and can also help prevent UTIs.
Other fluids, especially cranberry juice, have a reputation for helping clear UTIs. Research continues to flip-flop over the benefit of cranberries, but it certainly won’t hurt – unless you’re taking a blood thinner like warfarin or aspirin. In that case, stick with water, and skip the cranberry juice.
Avoid citrus juices and fruits as well when you have a UTI since oranges, grapefruits, and the like can irritate a sensitive bladder. Alcohol, caffeine, and carbonated beverages can also irritate your urinary tract and increase your discomfort when you have an infection.
Women are especially skilled at holding their urine for extended periods. This helps increase the risk of bacteria hanging around in your urinary tract long enough to divide and conquer.
Men and women alike should use the bathroom whenever they feel the urge, especially when you have a UTI so that infection-causing bacteria are flushed out of your system. And be sure you take the time to empty your bladder completely every time.
Sticking with a nutritious diet and an appropriate exercise routine, as well as carefully managing medical conditions such as diabetes, are excellent ways to give your immune system the support it needs to combat infections. Probiotics and other supplements, such as vitamin C and even garlic, can also help keep your immune system functioning at an optimal level, which may give you an edge in fighting off a UTI.
For pain in the pelvic region during a UTI, try applying a warm (never hot) heating pad to your lower abdomen to soothe bladder pressure and discomfort.
Tight jeans and clothing that refuses to “breathe” can worsen the irritation you experience from a UTI and may even create the moist environment that encourages the bacteria to form in the first place.
At DOCCS, we’re happy to help by prescribing the right medication for your UTI, evaluating your risk factors for developing future infections, and creating a strategy that helps prevent infections from occurring.