Self-management

Urinary tract infections can be painful, but you can take steps to ease your discomfort until antibiotics treat the infection. Follow these tips:

  • Drink plenty of water. Water helps to dilute your urine and flush out bacteria.
  • Avoid drinks that may irritate your bladder. Avoid coffee, alcohol, and soft drinks containing citrus juices or caffeine until your infection has cleared. They can irritate your bladder and tend to aggravate your frequent or urgent need to urinate.
  • Use a heating pad. Apply a warm, but not hot, heating pad to your abdomen to minimize bladder pressure or discomfort.

You can take these steps to reduce your risk of urinary tract infections:

  • Drink plenty of liquids, especially water. Drinking water helps dilute your urine and ensures that you'll urinate more frequently — allowing bacteria to be flushed from your urinary tract before an infection can begin.
  • Drink cranberry juice. Although studies are not conclusive that cranberry juice prevents UTIs, it is likely not harmful.
  • Wipe from front to back. Doing so after urinating and after a bowel movement helps prevent bacteria in the anal region from spreading to the vagina and urethra.
  • Empty your bladder soon after intercourse. Also, drink a full glass of water to help flush bacteria.
  • Avoid potentially irritating feminine products. Using deodorant sprays or other feminine products, such as douches and powders, in the genital area can irritate the urethra.
  • Change your birth control method. Diaphragms, or unlubricated or spermicide-treated condoms, can all contribute to bacterial growth.
Aug. 25, 2017
References
  1. Wein AJ, et al., eds. Infections of the urinary tract. In: Campbell-Walsh Urology. 11th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Elsevier; 2016. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed June 30, 2017.
  2. Ferri FF. Urinary tract infection. In: Ferri's Clinical Advisor 2017. Philadelphia, Pa.: Elsevier; 2017. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed June 30, 2017.
  3. Bladder infection (urinary tract infection—UTI) in adults. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/urologic-diseases/bladder-infection-uti-in-adults. Accessed June 30, 2017.
  4. Urinary tract infections (UTIs). The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. https://www.acog.org/Patients/FAQs/Urinary-Tract-Infections-UTIs. Accessed June 30, 2017.
  5. Urinary tract infections. National Institutes of Health. https://nihseniorhealth.gov/urinarytractinfections/whatareurinarytractinfections/01.html. Accessed June 30, 2017.
  6. Hooton TM, et al. Acute uncomplicated cystitis and pyelonephritis in women. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/search. Accessed June 30, 2017.
  7. Hooton TM, et al. Recurrent urinary tract infection in women. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/search. Accessed June 30, 2017.
  8. Cranberry. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. https://nccih.nih.gov/health/cranberry. Accessed June 30, 2017.
  9. Takhar SS, et al. Diagnosis and management of urinary tract infection in the emergency department and outpatient settings. Infectious Disease Clinics of North America. 2014;28:33.
  10. Overactive bladder (OAB): Lifestyle changes. Urology Care Foundation. https://urologyhealth.org/urologic-conditions/overactive-bladder-(oab)/treatment/lifestyle-changes. Accessed July 3, 2017.
  11. Werner K. Allscripts EPSi. Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. April 7, 2017.
  12. Hooper DC. Fluoroquinolones. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/search. Accessed Aug. 7, 2017.
  13. FDA drug safety communication: FDA updates warnings for oral and injectable fluoroquinolone antibiotics due to disabling side effects. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. https://www.fda.gov/Drugs/DrugSafety/ucm511530.htm. Accessed Aug. 7, 2017.