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A urinary tract infection (UTI) can develop anywhere in the urinary tract, including the bladder. This common health issue can be unpleasant and affect a person’s sleep.
According to the National Kidney Foundation, 1 in 5 females experience at least one UTI at some point, though anyone can develop this type of infection.
Below, we describe ways to help relieve UTI pain, discomfort, and other symptoms at home.
It is crucial to finish the full course of antibiotics and follow the doctor’s recommendations, even if the symptoms improve early on.
A person can also take the following steps to relieve UTI symptoms:
Drink plenty of water
A UTI can cause a burning sensation and other types of pain while urinating, and it can also cause a person to pee more frequently than usual. In addition, the need to urinate may be more urgent.
Each of these issues may make it tempting to drink less. However, to help the body clear a UTI, a person should increase their water intake.
If a person does not drink enough water, the bladder can become more sensitive, and the urine can become more concentrated, exacerbating symptoms.
It is crucial to note, however, that this advice only applies during the day. Limit the intake of water late in the evening to prevent the urge to urinate from disrupting sleep.
Empty the bladder fully
When urine stays in the bladder for too long, resident bacteria can grow and multiply, as the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases note.
A person should empty their bladder fully each time they urinate. This is especially important during a UTI.
Use a heating pad
Some people find that using a heating pad helps reduce pain in the abdomen or lower back that results from a UTI.
Caffeine can increase the risk of issues such as bladder spasms that can occur with a UTI, contributing to more frequent or intense urges to urinate.
Authors of a large-scale 2013 study found that, generally, caffeine made UTI symptoms worse.
Take sodium bicarbonate
According to the authors of a 2017 study, taking sodium bicarbonate may help reduce the level of acidity in urine, which may in turn help ease the symptoms of a UTI.
However, they had tested a high dosage that would not be suitable for everyone.
Try over-the-counter pain relievers
While waiting for antibiotics to take effect, a person may benefit from over-the-counter pain relief medication, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil).
Depending on the severity of the pain, a doctor may recommend a specific over-the-counter or prescription analgesic.
UTIs can cause a variety of symptoms, including:
- a fever
- a burning sensation or pain when urinating
- frequent urination
- pain around the bladder or in the lower back
- strong-smelling urine
- feeling an urgent need to urinate, even without passing urine
- cloudy or bloody urine
The following strategies can help prevent this type of infection:
- wiping from front to back
- removing wet bathing suits or sweaty underwear as soon as possible
- wearing loose-fitting clothes
- avoiding holding in urine
- taking showers instead of baths
- urinating before and after sex
- avoiding douching
- keeping the genitals clean
- switching from diaphragms, unlubricated condoms, or spermicide to a different form of birth control
Some people try using home remedies — such as apple cider vinegar or vitamin C — to combat or prevent UTIs.
Apple cider vinegar seems to kill harmful bacteria, including Escherichia coli, better known as E. Coli, according to the authors of a 2018 study, who pointed out that these bacteria can cause UTIs.
It is possible that drinking a diluted preparation of the vinegar may help the body clear the infection.
Some people believe that vitamin C can help prevent UTIs. However, a review of studies found that there was insufficient scientific evidence to support the claims.
Anyone who experiences any symptoms of a UTI — such as a burning sensation while urinating, discomfort in the abdomen, or a frequent urge to urinate — should see a doctor for treatment.
A UTI can spread to the kidneys, causing a kidney infection, which can be dangerous. A person should seek medical help quickly if they experience:
- a fever
- pain in the lower back
If a person has recurring UTIs, the doctor may refer them to a urologist for further treatment.
A UTI is an infection in any part of the urinary tract. A person with this issue tends to experience discomfort or pain while urinating and a sense of urinary urgency.
These infections are common, and doctors treat them with antibiotics.
A person can also take steps to ease UTI symptoms at home, such as using a heating pad and staying well-hydrated during the day but limiting the intake of liquids before bed to prevent the symptoms from disrupting sleep.
It is crucial to complete the full course of antibiotics as directed, even if symptoms improve early on.