A urinary tract infection (UTI) occurs when bacteria (usually from the perineum) reach the bladder through the urethra. Infection can occur spontaneously, but sexual intercourse, use of a diaphragm, and low urinary frequency are also factors that can increase the risk of a UTI in women. The bacteria cause inflammation of the urethra and bladder, leading to mild or severe pain. The sudden onset of symptoms may include difficulty urinating, urgency, increased frequency, a feeling of heaviness in the lower abdomen, cloudy and sometimes bloody urine. Having a fever is not common with urinary tract infections, but there is a possibility. Anti-inflammatories and other techniques to reduce pain only help in the short term, so treatment methods for the condition will be far more effective than simple medications. Learn how to reduce the discomfort of a UTI while your doctor's appointment day hasn't arrived.
Method 1 of 4: Using Fluids
Step 1. Drink lots of fluids
Drinking more fluid helps the patient to eliminate bacteria from the bladder and urethra, preventing the infection from getting worse. This can also reduce discomfort or pain when urinating.
- Drink enough fluids to make your urine clear yellow. When you have a urinary tract infection, the urine may not be completely clear even when drinking heavily and will even become cloudy or bleed slightly due to contamination. The ideal is to eliminate urine that is pale straw yellow in color.
- Drinking plenty of fluids will also remove bacteria from the bladder, speeding up the recovery process.
Step 2. Avoid the “four Cs”
Some foods irritate the bladder and make you more likely to urinate. Do not consume: caffeine, carbonated drinks, chocolate and citrus fruit derivatives.
While suffering from a UTI, eliminate such foods from your diet. Re-introduce them slowly after the urge to urinate frequently and the pain subsides
Step 3. Drink cranberry or blueberry juice
Cranberry and blueberry are useful against urinary tract infections due to the elements that prevent bacteria from attaching to the walls of the bladder and urethra, reducing inflammation, infections and the recurrence of contamination.
- Concentrations of cranberry and blueberry juices should be as high as possible. There is 100% pure cranberry juice, so try to buy it; Also, look for juices that don't have added sugar or high fructose corn syrup. Some cranberry juices are only 5% juice, but those with up to 33% and artificial or added sweeteners will not be as useful as 100% pure. Do your best to consume the purest forms possible.
- Another option is to take cranberry extract as a pill supplement. It is a good alternative to reduce the amount of sugar consumed. Follow the instructions on the product label.
- Avoid the supplement if you are allergic to cranberry juice. Pregnant women, women who are planning to become pregnant or who are breastfeeding should talk to a doctor before taking supplements.
- Do not take supplements or cranberry juice if you are using a blood-thinning drug such as warfarin.
- Cranberry extract and juice can be used during infections as preventative measures.
Step 4. Drink ginger tea
Ginger tea can be helpful in relieving inflammation as well as reducing nausea. Supplements can also be consumed. Cooking with ginger spices, however, does not have the same effect as a supplement or tea, as it does not provide the same concentrated amount.
- Before incorporating ginger into your diet, talk to a pharmacist or doctor. Describe the medical conditions and medications you are taking, as ginger may interact with some of them.
- Ginger can cause mild heartburn and diarrhea when consumed in high doses. More than two cups of tea a day or recommended supplements are considered high rates.
- Avoid ginger tea, root or supplements if you have gallstones, will have surgery soon, are pregnant, nursing, or planning to become pregnant. These types of beverages and foods should also not be consumed by people with bleeding disorders or who are taking blood-thinning medications. Always consult a doctor first.
Method 2 of 4: Making Lifestyle Changes
Step 1. Urine whenever you feel like it
Even though urinating is painful when you have a UTI, you need to empty your bladder whenever you feel like it. If you drink lots of fluids, you may want to urinate every hour or two; do not hold.
Holding the urine keeps bacteria in the bladder, encouraging them to reproduce
Step 2. Use a warm compress
To help reduce pain or discomfort in the abdomen and lower back, apply a warm (not boiling) compress or pad to the area. Avoid applying them directly to the skin so as not to burn it; take a towel or cloth and place it between the skin and the pad.
- To make a warm compress at home, soak a cloth and heat it in the microwave. After taking it out of the device, place it in a plastic bag and avoid direct contact with the skin.
- Avoid using the compress for more than 15 minutes (or even less when warming to a higher intensity). The skin may be burnt.
Step 3. Take a bath of baking soda
Sodium bicarbonate can help ease the pain of urinary infections. To do this, put some baking soda in the bathtub and fill it with a little water, enough so that the private parts and urethra are covered.
Another option is to buy a sitz bath, which is special to be placed inside the toilet. It is useful when you don't want or don't have time to shower in a regular bathtub
Step 4. Use over-the-counter medications to fight bladder spasms
Phenazopyridine drugs help to reduce the pain associated with bladder spasms, as they can “anesthetize” the urethra and bladder, preventing burning when urinating. One of the medications is Pyridium, which can be consumed three times a day (dose of 200 mg) for up to two days. Uristat is another over-the-counter medicine. Urine will come out with a red or orange color.
- Be aware that, due to the change in urine color and consistency caused by phenazopyridine, it will not be possible to perform tests to detect urinary infections using a strip, as it will always turn orange.
- Against pain, the patient can also consume ibuprofen (Advil) or naproxen (Flanax); however, discomfort during urination will persist, as the pain relief method of such medications is not the same as that of phenazopyridine.
- If you experience severe pain, your doctor may prescribe you a pain reliever. They are consumed for a short time and together with antibiotics, eliminating the pain and the need to take medication to combat the discomfort soon after you start administering them.
Method 3 of 4: Preventing Urinary Tract Infections
Step 1. Wear cotton underwear
To prevent a UTI from developing, wear cotton underwear. Nylon traps moisture, transforming the region into an environment conducive to bacterial growth. Although growth takes place outside the urethra and bladder, microorganisms can travel to the urethra.
Step 2. Don't take scented bubble baths
Women should not enter baths with scented foam, as soap can cause inflammation in the urethra, an environment conducive to bacterial growth.
Step 3. Perform the correct cleaning to reduce the amount of bacteria in the urethra
Women need to sanitize the intimate area with a front-to-back movement to prevent bacteria from the anus or feces from being introduced into the urethra. Faeces contain many bacteria that are important for the digestion of food, but should not enter the bladder.
Step 4. Urine after having sex
Another way in which bacteria enter the urinary tract is through sexual intercourse. To prevent bacteria build-up, urinate soon after having sex to eliminate bacteria that may have entered the urethra during sex.
Method 4 of 4: Understanding Urinary Tract Infections
Step 1. Identify the symptoms
There are some quite common manifestations in UTIs; some of them are:
- A strong urge or urge to urinate frequently.
- Burning sensation or pain accompanied by burning when urinating.
- Frequent leakage of small amounts of urine.
- Red, pink or dark urine, indicating the presence of blood.
- Pelvic pain in the center of the abdomen, near the pubic bone, in women.
- Urine with strong odor.
Step 2. Call a doctor
To reduce all possibilities of permanent damage, it is necessary to know the right time to contact a doctor. Unless symptoms go away within 24 hours and with home treatments, it is important that your doctor prescribes antibiotics to combat the problem. Lessening the discomfort of a urinary tract infection does not mean it has been cured; not going to the doctor can lead to kidney infection because most UTIs do not go away on their own.
- Your doctor may prescribe antibiotics to fight the bacteria that cause the infection. Consume the entire bottle of antibiotic, even if the pain and burning decreases as bacterial growth has not yet been completely eliminated.
- If symptoms do not improve after three days, go back to your doctor. You may need to have a gynecological exam if you are sexually active.
Step 3. Determine if you have recurrent infections
Some women may experience recurrent infections, which are classified as such after three or more urinary tract infections.
- This can be caused by not fully emptying your bladder every time you urinate. Urine that remains in the bladder can greatly increase your risk of suffering from recurrent UTIs.
- A structural abnormality in the lower urinary tract can lead to this condition. Schedule an ultrasound or scan to detect problems.
- Urinary tract infections are relatively common and can cause a lot of pain and discomfort. Antibiotic treatments are often needed to fight infection and reduce the potential for complications.
- UTIs in men should be taken very seriously – as they are not that common – and they can indicate other medical problems. Diagnosis by a medical professional is essential.