5 Ways to Conquer Painful UTI Symptoms
Did you know that women are up to 30--thirty!--times as likely to get a urinary tract infection (UTI) as men are? There’s a whole list of things to love about being a woman, but the increased likelihood of having a UTI isn’t one of them.
Painful symptoms can make UTIs burdensome and inconvenient. So let’s talk about the home remedies and medications that could help you manage UTI symptoms or cure a UTI.
Exactly what is a UTI?
A UTI happens when some portion of your urinary tract gets infected with bacteria. Your bladder is the part of your urinary tract that’s usually infected when you have a UTI. Normally, bladder infections aren’t serious and can be treated easily with prescription medications.
Sometimes your kidney, another part of your urinary tract, can become infected. A kidney infection can be more serious. Even if your UTI starts off as a minor bladder infection, not treating it could cause the infection to spread to your kidneys.
We already know that UTIs affect women more often than men, but any of the following risk factors can increase your risk of getting a UTI even more:
- Sexual activity
- Using diaphragms or spermicides as birth control
- Kidney stones (or other conditions that cause urine to get stuck in your urinary tract)
- Catheter placement
How do you know if you have a UTI?
You can’t treat something if you don’t know what it is, so how do you know if you have a UTI?
Some of the most common UTI symptoms are:
- Painful, burning urination
- Frequent urge to urinate (whether or not any urine actually comes out)
- Smelly, cloudy, or red-colored, blood-tinged urine
- Pain in the abdominal area, near your back or your side below the ribs
- Tiredness or weakness
- Shakiness or confusion
Fever and pain in your back may be signs that the infection has reached your kidneys.
To confirm a UTI diagnosis, your doctor may also run a urine test. The results of your test can help confirm whether you have a UTI. While a urine test is one way to know whether you have a UTI, medical evidence also has shown that your doctor can be pretty confident about your diagnosis based on your answers to the questions about symptoms.
Can I Treat UTI Symptoms with Over the Counter Medicines??
We’ve already talked about the most common UTI symptoms, but what can you actually do about them?
- Drink lots of water. Drinking water helps keep your urine diluted which makes urinating less painful. Staying hydrated also helps you urinate more often so that you continue to get rid of the bacteria in your bladder. This however will not cure a UTI once you have it.
- Avoid irritating beverages. Water--good. Caffeinated and alcoholic drinks—not so good. The caffeine in beverages like coffee, tea, and alcohol can build up in the urine, which could make urinating even more painful while you have a UTI.
- Try a heating pad. It might be time to pull out that good, old-fashioned heating pad your grandmother gave you. A low level of heat can help ease any abdominal pain or cramps you feel. This however will not cure a UTI once you have it.
- Try over-the-counter pain medications. Many women search for over-the-counter (OTC) UTI treatment. Even though some OTC medications can help relieve your symptoms, they can’t cure a UTI.
Acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Motrin) are OTC pain relievers that could help ease some of the pain and discomfort UTIs can cause. Phenazopyridine is another pain reliever that could help relieve uncomfortable symptoms. Some forms of phenazopyridine are OTC while others require a prescription.
- Antibiotics. Taking antibiotics is the only way to get rid of a UTI completely.
Let’s talk more about antibiotics.
How do I know if I need antibiotics to treat my UTI?
Once you have a UTI, home remedies and OTC medications will not cure a UTI. You will need antibiotics to cure your UTI. Once you start antibiotics, symptoms usually clear up in 2-3 days.
Even though the symptoms should clear up quickly, you should still take all the antibiotics your doctor prescribes for you. If you don’t, the infection could come back even stronger the next time.
For an uncomplicated UTI, these antibiotics are prescribed most often:
- Nitrofurantoin (Macrodantin, Macrobid)
- Trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole (Bactrim)
- Cephalexin (Keflex)
How Lemonaid Can Help you Get UTI Treatment ASAP?
Lemonaid’s UTI service makes it quick and convenient for you to get antibiotics to treat your UTI--so convenient that you don’t even have to go to a doctor’s office!
Instead, you can have a mobile visit with one of our US-based, US-licensed doctors and nurse practitioners (NP) via the Lemonaid mobile app. The doctor or NP will ask you specific questions to help them determine whether you have a UTI they can safely treat.
If they determine that you have a UTI, they will prescribe you the antibiotic nitrofurantoin (Macrobid), trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole (Bactrim), or cephalexin (Keflex)
As long as you’re a woman 18 years or older who hasn’t reached menopause yet, you can use Lemonaid’s convenient mobile UTI service.