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It’s never comfortable talking about problems you’re having “down there,” but with UTIs, it’s crucial to know what you’re up against and how to deal with them. Here’s our best advice on how to manage a UTI.

You go to the bathroom and suddenly your normal restroom routine is accompanied by pain, burning, and maybe even a bad smell. The worst has happened: Bacteria have settled into your urinary tract, and a UTI has developed.

The pain and constant need to pee are enough to drive you crazy, but not if you have our UTI-fighting tricks up your sleeve.

Here, JeanAnn Schwark, DNP, and our team at Serenity Women’s Care in Scottsdale, Arizona, walk you through a few best practices when it comes to managing UTIs.

Make friends with your water bottle

Now more than ever, it’s important to stay hydrated. Water in your system works to dilute your urine, and — bonus — it helps to flush out lingering bacteria. So grab your favorite water bottle and start sipping.

How do you know you’re getting enough water? Most adults should drink around six to eight 8-ounce glasses of water every day.

Avoid irritating beverages

There are a few beverages you should avoid when you’re battling a UTI. For example, dark colas, alcohol, and most caffeinated beverages irritate your bladder — and that’s the last thing you need right now.

Try warming up

A warm heating pad on your lower belly can help with bladder pressure and discomfort. Remember the key word is “warm”; avoid putting too much heat around an area that’s already irritated.

Crank up the cranberry

You might call it an old wives tale, but we call it one of the best at-home UTI management strategies. Whether in juice or tablet form, cranberries contain properties that may help you fight an infection — some women even drink it regularly to prevent UTIs.

The research on cranberries for UTIs isn’t exactly conclusive. Scientists used to think cranberries protected against UTIs by increasing your urine’s acidity, which would hinder bacterial growth. Now, it’s believed that cranberries make it harder for bacteria to stick to the walls of your urinary tract.

Either way, if you enjoy the taste, there’s no harm in drinking cranberries to help you fight off UTIs.

Go when you need to

Now is not the time to “hold it.” Frequent urination is an annoying part of UTIs, especially if it hurts to pee. However, urinating is the best way to flush out bacteria from your urinary tract, and it also reduces the amount of time bacteria hang around in your urinary tract, so go whenever the need arises.

Head to us as soon as possible

It’s true: UTIs can and often do go away on their own. In fact, as many as 42% of uncomplicated UTIs resolve without treatment. However, leaving a UTI to its own devices leaves you vulnerable to a wide range of complications, including:

  • Repeated UTIs
  • Permanent kidney damage
  • Sepsis

If you’re pregnant and develop a UTI, an untreated infection could lead to low birth weight or premature delivery. For those reasons, we recommend making an appointment at the first sign of a UTI.

What we can do

Pain, burning, and a strong urge to go to the bathroom are all telltale signs of a UTI. To confirm an infection, we usually take a sample of your urine and analyze it to check for white blood cells, red blood cells, or the presence of bacteria.

If you do have a UTI, there’s no need to panic. A short course of antibiotics is usually all it takes to clear up your infection.

If UTIs are a more frequent problem for you, we may recommend that you take a low-dose antibiotic for six months or longer, take a single-dose antibiotic after intercourse, or try vaginal estrogen therapy if you’ve reached menopause.

What you can do

Never want to deal with a UTI again? We get it. Though we can’t promise you won’t ever get one in the future, keeping these UTI-prevention hacks in your back pocket may help:

  • Drink plenty of liquids, especially water
  • Drink cranberry juice
  • Wipe from front to back
  • Empty your bladder immediately after intercourse
  • Avoid feminine products, such as deodorant sprays, douches, and powders
  • Boost your vitamin C intake
  • Try a probiotic to keep your urinary tract healthy

Some birth control methods, like diaphragms and spermicide-treated condoms, can also irritate your urethra, so do your best to avoid them.

Suspect you’ve got a UTI? Don’t wait. Call or click to make an appointment with us and get the help you need today.

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