What to Eat (and Avoid) During a UTI
A burning sensation, abdominal pain, and cloudy urine are all signs of a potential urinary tract infection (UTI). This uncomfortable infection can affect any part of your urinary system—kidneys, ureters, bladder, and urethra—however, most UTIs involve the lower urinary tract (specifically, the bladder). The painful symptoms of a UTI are not only annoying, but they can also be dangerous—leading to serious consequences if the infection reaches the kidneys. The first step to feeling better is contacting a doctor, but there are some ways you may be able to relieve UTI symptoms in addition to following a professional care plan. Before we get into foods and drinks for UTIs, let’s cover some basics:
Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are typically more common in women, but anyone can experience them. If you suspect you have a UTI, monitor for these symptoms:
- Strong, persistent urge to pee
- Burning sensation when urinating
- Passing frequent, small amounts of urine
- Cloudy urine
- Red, pink, or cola-colored urine (signs of blood in the urine)
- Foul-smelling urine
- Pain and pressure within the abdomen
- Pain during intercourse
- Fever and chills
- Pelvic pain, in women (around the center of the pelvis and around the pubic bone)
UTIs aren’t fun for anyone and the symptoms can worsen over time if left untreated. If you suspect you have a UTI and are experiencing any of the aforementioned symptoms, don’t suffer in silence. Reach out to a qualified medical provider like DispatchHealth as soon as possible to avoid any exacerbations.
In many cases, doctors will prescribe antibiotics to treat a UTI. In addition to following the care plan provided by your physician, sticking to a certain diet can help you manage those uncomfortable UTI symptoms and speed the healing process at home. With that in mind, DispatchHealth has put together a helpful guide on what to eat/drink (and what to avoid) with a UTI.
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What to Drink for a UTI
Can you treat a UTI by drinking cranberry juice? The answer behind the infamous cranberry juice cure is mixed. In some clinical studies (primarily with women), the consumption of pure cranberry juice, cranberry extracts, or cranberry supplements helped reduce the risk of repeated UTIs. In any case, however, the benefit to drinking cranberry juice for a UTI is small. So, what should you drink for a UTI instead? Water is by far the best beverage choice for someone with a UTI. Drinking at least 12 8-ounce cups of water each day while you have an infection will help flush the bacteria from your system and can speed up the healing process.
Foods to Eat for a UTI
In order to recover from a UTI as soon as possible, you may want to try consuming the following foods:
- Berries. Although researchers are still studying their effectiveness, it’s believed that eating cranberries, blueberries, and raspberries can help fight off a UTI. They contain proanthocyanidin, which has been shown to prevent infection-causing bacteria from adhering to the lining of the urinary tract.
- Probiotic-rich foods. Try incorporating foods like plain Greek yogurt, pickles, and sauerkraut into your diet, since they contain good bacteria that can help combat an infection.
- High-fiber foods. Foods that are high in fiber—such as bananas, beans, lentils, nuts, oats, and other whole grains—can help remove harmful bacteria from your body. They also encourage regular bowel movements, which can help relieve some bladder pressure.
- Salmon. Cold-water fish contain omega-3 fatty acids, which can help reduce inflammation caused by a UTI. Fish oil supplements are another great alternative for individuals who don’t eat fish; always consult your doctor before adding any supplements to your diet.
Things to Avoid: Sugar & UTIs
Adjusting your diet for a UTI involves more than introducing certain foods and drinks; it also means abstaining from things. Not sure where to start? Here’s a simple rule of thumb to follow: Avoid sugar for a UTI. Sugar is laced in an overwhelming amount of commercial foods and drinks these days. Unfortunately, it can also aggravate an infection. To cut back on these sugary delights and boost your care plan for a UTI, avoid:
- Alcohol (beer, wine, and liquor)
- Artificial sweeteners
Although there’s no evidence that artificial sweeteners can worsen a UTI, they have been shown to exacerbate bladder symptoms for individuals with chronic interstitial cystitis, so you may want to avoid them. Other foods and beverages to avoid with a UTI include:
- Spicy foods. Certain spicy foods can irritate the bladder. Instead, try sticking to a bland diet—like the “BRAT” diet—when you have a UTI.
- Citrus. Although they’re high in immunity-boosting vitamin C, highly acidic fruits like oranges, lemons, limes, and grapefruits can irritate your bladder and aggravate UTI symptoms.
- Caffeinated drinks. It’s important to stay hydrated when you have a UTI, but stay away from coffee and other caffeinated beverages. When in doubt, choose water!
At-Home Treatment for UTIs
Did you know that getting treatment for a UTI doesn’t have to require a visit to a doctor’s office or even an urgent care clinic? Thanks to DispatchHealth’s in-home service, you can receive the on-demand acute care you need without leaving the house. Within a few hours of requesting service, one of our teams will come directly to your home, perform an examination, and recommend an appropriate course of treatment, all for an affordable price. We’ve partnered with leading health insurance providers—including Medicare and Medicaid—to ensure that your care is covered under your current plan. And we also offer an affordable flat rate for individuals without insurance.
Contact DispatchHealth today to arrange a visit—you can do so over the phone, through our mobile app, or on our website. We look forward to providing you with the relief you need.
DispatchHealth relies only on authoritative sources, including medical associations, research institutions, and peer-reviewed medical studies.
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