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The urge to go to the bathroom, pain during urination, and lower abdominal pressure and pain associated with urinary tract infections (UTIs) can make it difficult to concentrate at work or school, enjoy favorite activities and rest comfortably at night. Fortunately, there are ways that you can get UTI relief through home remedies while your body fights the infection.

Ways to relieve UTI discomfort at home

To ease symptoms of UTI and promote healing:

Try heat

Apply warm compresses, a hot water bottle or heating pad to your pelvis. Heat increases blood flow to reduce cramping and pressure.

Boost your water intake

Drinking six to eight, 8-oz. glasses of water every day supports urine production. Each time you urinate, your body flushes bacteria out of your urinary tract to help clear up an infection.

Take an OTC medication

Phenazopyridine hydrochloride is a pain reliever for the urinary tract and can be purchased over the counter in generic form or as the brand name drug AZO. This medication temporarily relieves urinary urgency, pain, and pressure associated with UTIs. However, it doesn’t treat the underlying infection.

Put on your comfy clothes

Tight, restrictive clothing may rub against your urethra and worsen the irritation that occurs during a UTI. Opt for loose-fitting clothes and breathable cotton underwear until your symptoms resolve.

Sip some cranberry juice

Studies into the effectiveness of cranberry juice for UTI treatment have produced mixed results. However, anecdotal evidence and some small studies indicate that cranberry juice may aid in healing by making it difficult for bacteria to stick to the lining of the urinary tract. If you wish to try this traditional folk remedy, choose a juice that lists cranberries as its first ingredient and is free of artificial sweeteners and added sugar.

Steer clear of bladder irritants

Some foods and drinks can trigger bladder inflammation and intensify urinary tract infections. While your body heals, cut down on or avoid:

  • Caffeine, including coffee, tea and chocolate
  • Carbonated beverages
  • Alcohol
  • Spicy foods
  • Acidic foods like fruits and vinegar
  • Refined sugar

Combine home remedies with medical care

All of the above home remedies may ease symptoms of a UTI. However, none of them are likely to cure a urinary tract infection. While it is not possible for the immune system to fight off the bacteria that causes UTIs on its own, antibiotics are usually necessary to aid in the process. You can combine home remedies for UTI relief with the medication your primary care provider prescribes to both treat the infection and minimize your discomfort.

If you decide to let your immune system fight the infection on its own, keep close tabs on your condition. Specifically, see your doctor if you experience any of the following:

  • High fever
  • Pain in your side
  • Pain in your lower back
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

The above symptoms could indicate that the infection has spread to the kidneys. A kidney infection requires prompt medical care, since it can permanently damage the organs or move into the bloodstream and cause a potentially fatal infection.

Even without kidney infection symptoms, you should see your doctor if:

  • Your symptoms don’t improve after two or three days
  • You have had three or more UTIs in the last 12 months
  • You’re pregnant
  • You’re diabetic
  • You have a medical condition or take a medication that suppresses your immune system

Forward improves UTI treatment

As your primary care provider, Forward delivers one-to-one, personalized care for UTIs. You can schedule an appointment in seconds and see a doctor virtually or in person. Prescriptions come right to your door for added convenience, and we recommend the best home remedies for UTIs to keep you comfortable while you recover. 

No long waits. No surprise bills. No copays — ever.

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