How to ease urinary tract infection pain and symptoms

Urinary tract infections (UTIs) can be very painful and can cause embarrassing symptoms, too. If you have experienced symptoms like itching or painful sensations in your private parts, you will most likely not want to experience them again. This article provides helpful tips on how to ease the symptoms of UTI.

A sick lady lying on a couch wearing knitted sweater with a duvet covering her legs

Key takeaways:

  • Urinary tract infections are bacterial, fungal, or viral infections that cause inflammation and irritation in the urinary tract. UTI is more common in people assigned female at birth and typically causes symptoms like itchiness in the genital areas, frequent urination, and pain in the lower abdomen.
  • Things a person can do to ease urinary tract infection symptoms include drinking enough water, avoiding irritants, and taking over-the-counter pain relief medications. 
  • While home remedies help ease UTI symptoms, the primary treatment method that often offers a cure for UTI is the use of antibiotics. Healthcare professionals often prescribe antibiotics like ciprofloxacin and amoxicillin for treating UTIs. 

Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are common infections that are caused by the presence of harmful microorganisms, including bacteria, fungi, and viruses, in the urinary tract. This condition may affect the kidneys (pyelonephritis), ureter, bladder (cystitis), or urethra (urethritis).

According to the United States Department of Health and Human Services, UTIs are very common among people with uteruses. Also, more than 50 percent of them will develop a UTI at some point in their lives.

Most UTIs occur in the lower urinary tract, which includes the urethra and the bladder. UTIs may also occur in the upper urinary tract (i.e., the ureters and the kidneys), but this rarely happens.

Urinary tract infections (UTIs) can cause a great deal of discomfort and pain. Here are some ways to ease the urinary tract infection pain and symptoms: 

1. Drink enough water

One way to ease urinary tract infection pain is to drink water. Drinking plenty of water will make you pass a lot of urine, which can help flush out bacteria from the urinary tract, relieving symptoms, and easing pain. Try to take at least eight glasses of water per day to keep your body system hydrated.

2. Take over-the-counter pain medications

Non-prescription pain relievers, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen, can help reduce UTI pain and discomfort. Be sure to follow the recommended dosage and consult with a doctor if you have any existing health conditions or are taking any other medications.

3. Apply heat

Sometimes, placing a heating pad or hot water bottle on the lower abdomen can help ease UTI pain. Heat therapy is one of the R.I.C.E. home remedies that helps to relax muscles and soothe the area, easing discomfort. However, this may not work for everyone.

4. Try herbal remedies

Certain herbal remedies may help alleviate UTI symptoms. Cranberry juice or supplements may help prevent bacteria from sticking to the urinary tract, while probiotics encourage healthy bacteria growth and strengthen the immune system.

5. Avoid irritants

It’s best to stay away from substances that can irritate the urinary tract, such as alcohol, spicy foods, caffeine, and acidic drinks. These can worsen pain and aggravate UTI symptoms.

6. Practice good hygiene

Proper hygiene can help prevent UTIs and ease their symptoms. Always wipe from front to back after using the toilet, and urinate before and after sexual intercourse.

Using clean water, wash out bacteria that may stick to the urinary tract to reduce the risk of an infection. Clean the genital area gently with mild, unscented soap, and avoid douches or harsh products that could disrupt the natural balance of bacteria.

7. Take antibiotics as prescribed

In most cases, UTIs require antibiotics to clear up the infection. It's safer to complete the full dosage as prescribed by the doctor, even if symptoms start to improve. This will prevent the infection from recurring or the bacteria from becoming drug-resistant.

8. Rest and relax

Give your body time to heal by resting and avoiding strenuous activities. Stress and fatigue can make UTI symptoms worse, so prioritize self-care and get enough sleep.

If UTI symptoms persist or worsen despite these measures, it's important to consult a doctor.

What is the best way to get rid of UTI?

Antibiotics have proven to be the best remedy for most UTIs. If you think you have a UTI, the best thing to do is to consult a doctor who can diagnose you and prescribe the best antibiotics for the infection. 

Some of the commonly prescribed antibiotics for UTIs include:

  1. Nitrofurantoin (Macrobid)
  2. Trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole (Bactrim, Septra)
  3. Ciprofloxacin (Ciprotab)
  4. Intravesical gentamicin 
  5. Amoxicillin and clavulanate (Augmentin)

With the rising concern about antibiotic resistance and the evolution of different UTIs, it is best not to take any of these antibiotics without consulting a healthcare provider.

Symptoms of UTIs

The symptoms of UTIs are not limited to pain alone; there are other signs and symptoms, such as:

  • Blood in the urine
  • Unusual urine odor
  • Pains in the lower abdomen
  • Frequent need to pee
  • Inability to control the bladder
  • Milky or cloudy-looking urine

In cases where the kidney is infected, you may notice symptoms like:

When to see a doctor

UTIs that aren't severe may go away after a few days. Such urinary tract infections may cause mild symptoms like:

  • Mild pain in the lower abdomen
  • Slight itchiness in the external genital area
  • A more frequent need to pee
  • A short-term difficulty controlling the bladder 

But, if the symptoms persist, are severe, or worsen over time, it becomes very crucial to see a doctor. See a doctor right away if you experience any of these more severe UTI symptoms: 

  • Blood in urine
  • Your child has a UTI 
  • Feverish feeling
  • Severe pain while passing urine
  • Passing a foul, smelly urine
  • Constant recurrence of UTIs
  • Pain in the back, groin, or side
  • Passing milky or cloudy urine
  • No improvement in symptoms after a few days

Knowing when to see a doctor is very important; it helps prevent UTIs from spreading from the lower urinary tract into essential organs like the kidney, which may turn out to be a complex problem and may require a longer duration of treatment. 

Wrap up

Urinary tract infection is a common medical condition that can affect both males and females of different age groups. It's caused by the invasion of bacteria in the urinary tract.

Aside from the use of antibiotics for the treatment of UTIs, drinking enough water, maintaining good hygiene, and avoiding irritant substances are also good measures that can help relieve UTI symptoms.

Antibiotics are known remedies for urinary tract infections, but it is best that you do not self-medicate. Instead, speak with a doctor who can diagnose you properly and give you the best treatment.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Why is UTI pain worse at night?

The worsening of UTI pain at night may be attributed to the fact that there's usually low production of urine at night. Also, there's a claim that the body becomes more sensitive to pain or discomfort at night because there aren't many distractions or activities.

Do pain relief medications help UTI?

Taking pain relief medications, such as phenazopyridine, acetaminophen, or ibuprofen, may help ease UTI pain, but they don’t treat the underlying infections.

Also, it is recommended that people with a kidney infection consult a doctor or pharmacist before taking anti-inflammatory painkillers like ibuprofen to prevent the risk of developing further kidney problems.

Can azithromycin treat urinary tract infection?

Azithromycin is an antibiotic, but it is not commonly recommended for treating urinary tract infections because it does not reach a high concentration in urine. Past studies have shown that the ability of a drug to eliminate bacteria from urine depends on the drug's concentration in urine.

Azithromycin is primarily recommended for treating STDs like chlamydia, upper respiratory tract infections, and malaria.


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