Bladder infections can cause a range of uncomfortable symptoms. A combination of medical treatments and home remedies may provide relief.

Bladder infections are the most common type of urinary tract infection (UTI). They can develop when bacteria enter the urethra and travel into the bladder.

The urethra is the tube that takes urine out of the body. Once bacteria go into the urethra, they can attach to the walls of the bladder and multiply quickly.

The resulting infection can cause uncomfortable symptoms, such as:

A combination of medical and home treatments may ease these symptoms, but treatment from a healthcare professional is also necessary. If left untreated, bladder infections can spread to the kidneys or blood and become life threatening.

Here are nine effective bladder infection remedies.

Water flushes out the bacteria in your bladder, which helps get rid of a urinary tract infection faster. It also dilutes your urine so that urinating may be less painful.

Urine is made of waste products from your body. Concentrated, dark urine may be more irritating and painful to pass when you have a bladder infection. Meanwhile, diluted urine is lighter in color and usually doesn’t irritate as much.

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Drink at least eight glasses of water per day. Limit caffeinated drinks, including coffee, tea, and soda. Caffeine can irritate your bladder even when you don’t have an infection.

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Frequent urination helps eliminate the infection by moving bacteria out of the bladder. “Holding it,” or not going to the bathroom when you need to, allows time for the bacteria to continue multiplying in the bladder.

It is also helpful to urinate after having sex. Sexual activity can push bacteria deeper into the urethra, whether you have a penis or vagina.

Urinating after sex may help flush bacteria away from your urinary tract. This prevents germs from settling and causing an infection.

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Drink plenty of fluids so you can urinate and go to the bathroom as soon as you can.

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Antibiotics kill the bacteria causing the bladder infection. If you have a UTI, you usually need medication to get rid of the germ causing the infection. Experts recommend treating UTIs with antibiotics.

If you have symptoms of a UTI, you may need to talk with a doctor. Sexually transmitted infections (STIs), vaginal infections, and certain vaginal conditions can mimic symptoms of a UTI. For this reason, it’s essential to get the right treatment for your condition.

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  • Talk with a doctor if your symptoms last longer than 2 days or worsen. You’ll likely need antibiotics to treat your bladder infection.
  • If you’re older, pregnant, or have other serious health conditions, like diabetes, contact a doctor right away.
  • The length of treatment might vary, depending on the drug a doctor prescribes and your overall health.
  • It’s essential to take your medication for the full course, even if you feel better before it’s done. Taking the full dose will make sure all the harmful bacteria are out of your system.
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Severe bladder infections can cause pain in the pelvic region, even when you’re not urinating. Antibiotics will treat the infection, but you may continue to have pain.

It may take a day or more before the drugs start to help. Taking pain medications may relieve abdominal cramps, back pain, and any discomfort you may feel. Many over-the-counter options are available.

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Ask a doctor if it’s safe to take over-the-counter pain relievers. Taking acetaminophen (Tylenol), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB), or phenazopyridine (Pyridium) can ease pain while you wait for the antibiotics to start working.

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Putting low heat across your abdominal region or back may soothe the dull ache that sometimes occurs with bladder infections. This can be especially helpful when used together with your medications.

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You can buy a heating pad at a local drugstore or online. Make sure to follow the directions on the package carefully to avoid burns.

You can also make a warm, moist compress at home by soaking a small towel in warm water and placing it over your bladder or abdomen.

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Bacteria thrive in warm and moist environments. For women, tight jeans and other tight clothes can trap moisture in delicate areas. This creates a breeding ground for vaginal bacteria.

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Wear cotton underwear, loose pants, or skirts to promote air circulation and reduce bacterial growth.

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Cranberry has been a natural treatment for preventing bladder infections for generations. According to a 2021 review, cranberry juice and tablets show some promise as a remedy for women who frequently get bladder infections when used alongside medical treatment.

However, more research is needed to determine whether cranberry juice works for preventing bladder infections in the larger population.

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Talk with a doctor about cranberry juice as a way to prevent bladder infections.

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Some research suggests that probiotic supplements could help improve the concentration of beneficial bacteria in the urinary tract and genitals to protect against recurrent bladder infections.

Lactobacilli, in particular, can help block the adherence and growth of harmful bacteria that cause infection.

Furthermore, probiotics may also prevent certain side effects commonly associated with antibiotics, such as diarrhea.

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Consult a doctor to determine whether probiotics may be a good option.

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Vitamin C can help increase the acidity of urine to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria, which may aid in the prevention of recurrent bladder infections.

Additionally, vitamin C possesses antimicrobial and antioxidant properties, which could be beneficial for preventing infection.

However, more research is needed to understand how vitamin C foods or supplements may impact bladder infections. In addition, once you start experiencing symptoms of a bladder infection, eating citrus foods can cause irritation and make the symptoms worse.

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Try adding more foods rich in vitamin C to your diet, such as fruits or vegetables, to increase your vitamin C intake. If you’re interested in trying supplementation, be sure to consult with a medical professional first.

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The following lifestyle changes may help reduce the occurrence of bladder infections:

  • Drink enough water daily so that your urine is pale yellow.
  • Urinate as soon as you feel the need.
  • Take showers instead of baths.
  • Wear cotton underwear.
  • Change your underwear daily.
  • Urinate before and after sexual activity.
  • Avoid using a diaphragm or spermicide, and change to an alternate form of birth control.
  • Use non-spermicidal lubricated male condoms.
  • Be sure to wipe from front to back after urinating.
  • Avoid using douches or vaginal sprays.

Your doctor may recommend preventive treatment if you’ve been experiencing recurrent bladder infections. This can consist of taking small doses of antibiotics to prevent or control future bladder infections.

Diet, along with the acidity of the urine, may also impact how individuals are affected by these infections.

In a 2015 study, researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis found that those whose intestinal tract produced certain substances, called urinary aryl metabolites, had less bacterial activity in their urine.

The production of these substances seems to be related to the types of healthy bacteria people carry in their intestinal tract. Also, urine that was low in acid had fewer harmful bacteria, so medications that can make the urine less acidic may have a role in preventing these infections. However, more research is needed.

Bladder infections, including recurring infections, require medical attention. When treated promptly and effectively, the risk of serious complications is low.

Numerous researchers are also working on developing vaccines to protect against the most common types of bacteria that cause bladder infections. Until then, home remedies combined with medications are important steps to feeling better.

The following includes common questions about treating bladder infections.

What is the best medicine for UTI?

You typically need antibiotics to treat a UTI like a bladder infection. There are rapid tests that medical providers can do on the urine to identify a urinary tract infection and rule out other causes. The urine can also be sent to the lab to identify the specific bacteria so you can be sure you’re on the right antibiotic.

What is the fastest way to get rid of bladder infections at home?

While natural methods like drinking enough water and not holding your urine when you have the urge to urinate may help prevent bladder infections by reducing the number of bacteria, you typically need antibiotics to treat the infection. This means there isn’t necessarily a fast way to get rid of a bladder infection at home without seeing a doctor.

Can a bladder infection go away on its own?

In females assigned at birth (FAAB), about 20% of urinary tract infections (UTIs) go away on their own. While there isn’t research behind it, some neurologists suggest that bladder infections in males assigned at birth (MAAB) may also go away on their own in some cases.

How do you flush a bladder infection?

You typically need antibiotics to relieve a bladder infection, though home remedies may reduce the amount of infection-causing bacteria. These can include flushing your bladder with water. This means drinking a lot of water and not holding your urine.

What is the quickest antibiotic for UTI?

Doctors can choose from a few antibiotics as a first-line treatment for UTIs. These include nitrofurantoin (Macrobid), trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole (Bactrim, Septra, Sulfarm, and others), and fosfomycin (Monurol).

What do doctors prescribe for UTI pain?

You can take acetaminophen (Tylenol) or over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin). In addition, your doctor may recommend phenazopyridine (Azo-Gesic, Baridium, Prodium, and others) for UTI pain.

How do you get rid of a UTI without seeing a doctor?

Some home remedies may help a UTI go away such as staying hydrated, urinating when you feel the need, drinking cranberry juice, and taking probiotics, may help reduce the amount of harmful bacteria causing the infection. But in most cases, you do need to see a doctor to get antibiotics, because a bladder infection can spread to the kidneys and become life-threatening.

You typically need antibiotics to clear a bladder infection. However, some home remedies may help relieve your symptoms and help you recover faster when used with antibiotics.

Drinking enough water and urinating when you feel the urge can help support bladder and kidney health and reduce the amount of infection-causing bacteria.

If you believe you may have a bladder infection, consider talking with a doctor. They typically run a test to determine the most effective course of antibiotics to clear the infection.

In addition, if your symptoms worsen or you develop other symptoms like a fever, chills, or back pain, you should definitely call your doctor.