Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are common. More than 8 million people visit their doctor each year for UTI symptoms. Most UTIs aren’t serious, but sometimes a UTI can lead to complications, such as kidney and bladder infections.
While UTIs are commonly treated with antibiotics, there are some at-home remedies that help to relieve symptoms and steps you can take to prevent them from recurring. OB/GYN Kiran Patel, MD, and family medicine physician Leela Patel, MD, offer top-quality obstetric and gynecological care as well as first-class family medicine services.
For patients with UTI symptoms, it’s wise to visit your doctor to rule out anything more serious. In the meantime, you can do a few things to get some relief.
What is a UTI?
A UTI occurs when microbes enter the urinary tract, multiply, and cause infection. E. coli bacteria, which live in the bowel, are the most common cause of UTIs. Women’s anatomy makes it easier to develop a UTI than men, but both men and women get UTIs. Typical signs and symptoms of a UTI are:
- Burning sensation when urinating
- Strong urge to urinate
- Frequent urination
- Cloudy urine
- Strong smelling urine
- Pelvic pain
Mild UTIs often resolve on their own. Other UTIs will need antibiotic treatment.
Easing UTI symptoms
You can take some steps at home to ease symptoms of mild UTIs. Here are some good steps to take.
Boost fluid intake
Low hydration raises the risk of UTI. Drinking plenty of fluids can help flush out bacteria and ease UTI symptoms. Aim to drink plenty of clear fluids throughout the day with a focus on plain water. Tea and coffee without milk, low-sodium broths, fruit juices without sugar added are also acceptable. If you have trouble drinking enough fluids during the day, try keeping a bottle of water with you to sip.
Drink unsweetened cranberry juice
Unsweetened cranberry juice is perhaps one of the most well-known remedies for UTIs, and for good reason. Active compounds in cranberry juice fight E. coli, the most common bacteria implicated in UTIs.
E. coli bacteria are able to cause infection by clinging to the urinary tract and multiplying. Components in cranberry juice prevent E. Coli from adhering to the wall of the urinary tract. This helps to prevent urinary tract infections and ease symptoms if you have a mild UTI.
Supplement with a probiotic
Certain beneficial bacteria are linked to boosting immune function and promoting digestive health. Additionally, certain strains of probiotics may reduce the risk of UTI. If you’re prone to UTIs, to your healthcare provider about taking a probiotic.
Lowering the risk of infection involves working to prevent E. coli bacteria from making its ways into your urethra. Emptying your bladder after intercourse and making sure to wipe from front to back after urinating and having bowel movements can help.
In some cases, certain birth control medication increases the risk of UTIs. Hanging to a different birth control can address this. Maintaining proper hydration is also beneficial.
Your healthcare provider is your first line of defense in treating and preventing UTIs. If you have symptoms, contact our office. Call our team at our South Charleston, West Virginia office to schedule a visit or send your request online today.