Urinary tract infections (UTIs) result in more than 8.1 million doctor's office visits every year, and women account for the large majority of those cases. In fact, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services contends that 50 percent of all women will experience a urinary tract infection at some point in their lifetime. UTI pain can be intense, disrupt your daily routine, and keep you from functioning normally. If you're suffering from UTI pain, it's imperative to find treatments to address the pain.
Whether you're a working woman or simply too busy to make time for a doctor's visit, the good news is that there are at-home treatments and remedies that may lower your UTI pain to manageable levels. Here are some tips to weather this condition without resorting to a doctor's visit.
1. Drink water
According to the Mayo Clinic, water consumption is one of the best ways to combat a UTI and to eliminate some of the pain-causing bacteria. Consume large amounts of water to dilute your urine, which will increase the rate at which your bladder is emptied. This process will also flush out infection-causing bacteria, which can cause the infection to decline in intensity and disappear more quickly.
2. Apply heating pads
Apply a warm pad to your abdomen to alleviate discomfort in the bladder while minimizing pressure on the organ. Just make sure the pad isn't hot—rather than offer relief, a pad that's too hot can further aggravate the infection.
3. Self-administered antibiotics
Antibiotics are widely used for to combat some serious conditions, and UTIs are no different. Women with a history of UTIs are particularly encouraged to use antibiotics as a means of combating the pain as well as the condition, and these can be administered at home without visiting a doctor. If you have antibiotics available at home, the University of Maryland Medical Center reports that women should take an antibiotic as soon as they develop UTI pain. These antibiotics can be taken either as a single-dose or as a three-day antibiotic regimen. It is important, however, to stick to these treatment limits and to not abuse the antibiotics. If this self-treatment fails to address the pain, other measures may be necessary.
4. Food and beverage management
Certain beverages can aggravate the bladder, and this aggravation can intensify bladder pain caused by a urinary tract infection. According to the Mayo Clinic, women with a UTI should avoid drinking coffee and alcohol, as well as soft drinks containing caffeine and citrus juices. These beverages can increase the need to urinate in a normal person, and when consumed by someone with a UTI they can exacerbate the condition and worsen pain. Stick to water, tea and other non-aggravating beverages until the UTI has cleared.
When at-home treatments fail
As with any other time you have trouble curing minor ailments with at-home remedies, make sure to consult a doctor. Contact a health care provider or visit a doctor's office immediately if they develop chills, fever, vomiting or pain in the side and/or back. These could indicate that the UTI has turned into a kidney infection, making professional medical care a top priority.