Most women have experienced a urinary tract infection, or UTI.
While men can get UTIs, they mainly occur in females.
Once you’ve had an infection, it’s pretty easy to recognize the most common symptoms:
Left untreated, these symptoms quickly intensify from annoying to painful.
If you start to feel the symptoms of a suspected urinary tract infection, don’t wait to see a doctor. The sooner you begin antibiotics, the better.
Along with an antibiotic, what you drink and eat during a UTI can help you get better faster.
DO drink a lot of water, even if you’re not thirsty. This will help flush out the bacteria.
DON’T drink coffee, alcohol or caffeine until the infection is gone. These drinks can irritate your bladder.
DO drink a shot of sugar-free cranberry juice, if you like it. Cranberry juice may help fight infection, though the effectiveness is still being studied.
DO eat blueberries. They may have the same effect as cranberries, which is keeping bacteria from sticking to the lining if your urinary tract.
DON’T eat spicy food. It could irritate your bladder.
DO eat probiotics — plain Greek yogurt and fermented food such as sauerkraut and pickles. They contain “good” bacteria that can help keep the bad bacteria at bay.
DON’T eat a lot of acidic fruit, such as oranges, lemons or limes during the infection. They can irritate your bladder. However, once your infection is gone, eating acidic fruit with vitamin C can help prevent future infections. Add grapefruit and strawberries to your diet, along with spinach and green peppers.
Once you are prescribed an antibiotic, take the entire course. Don’t stop, even if you feel better.
During the infection — and after — make sure to drink a lot of water, at least 12 8-ounce cups per day. This will flush out your system and help prevent future infections.
If you feel like you’ve got to go, GO! Don’t hold it, as this simply delays getting rid of more bacteria. Holding your urine also provides the perfect environment inside your bladder for bacteria to grow.
Besides holding your urine, other causes of UTIs include sex (always urinate before and after), kidney stones or a lack of estrogen, which helps protect women’s bladders against bad bacteria. Some women are genetically more likely to get UTIs.
Urinary tract infections are very common. Knowing what to eat and drink can go a long way toward preventing these annoying infections from disrupting your life.
Dr. Kimberly McKinnon, a family medicine physician with Elmhurst Memorial Medical Group, is accepting new patients in Hinsdale. View her profile and schedule an appointment online.
When your medical needs can’t wait, Edward-Elmhurst Health has board-certified providers ready to treat your non-emergency urgencies.
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