What Is the Best Way to Treat a UTI? (with pictures)

B. Miller
B. Miller
Cranberry pills can be used to treat a UTI.
Cranberry pills can be used to treat a UTI.

A UTI, or urinary tract infection, is a common problem among many women. It is characterized by painful and frequent urination, cloudy urine, and a fever with back pain, among other symptoms, and is caused by a growth of bacteria in the urinary tract. There are a few ways to treat a UTI to clear up the current infection, as well as ways to prevent it from returning and causing further UTI complications.

Drinking cranberry juice may help treat urinary tract infections.
Drinking cranberry juice may help treat urinary tract infections.

One of the best ways to treat a UTI is to drink a lot of water at the onset of symptoms. This can help flush the system and clear out bacteria. It is also often recommended to drink cranberry juice, but be sure to drink 100% cranberry juice, and not a cranberry juice cocktail. The sugar found in the juice cocktail can actually aggravate the symptoms. Taking cranberry pills is another option. Over-the-counter pain relievers may help with the pain.

A UTI is caused when bacteria enter the urethra and travel to other parts of the urinary system, resulting in infection.
A UTI is caused when bacteria enter the urethra and travel to other parts of the urinary system, resulting in infection.

In addition, try to urinate as frequently as possible. Do not have sexual intercourse while attempting to treat a UTI; this can make symptoms worse, and is one of the leading causes of urinary tract infections. In addition, a hot bath may help with pain, but do not add any bubbles or bath oils to the water. Try to avoid eating sugary foods or drinking alcohol while attempting to treat a UTI.

Urinary tract infections -- usually caused by a bacterial invasion of the urethra -- can interfere with a woman's ability to urinate.
Urinary tract infections -- usually caused by a bacterial invasion of the urethra -- can interfere with a woman's ability to urinate.

With at-home treatment of a UTI, symptoms should clear up within one to two days. If symptoms persist or worsen, or the fever gets worse, it is necessary to visit a doctor. The doctor will likely prescribe a course of antibiotics to treat a UTI. Some doctors will even offer standing prescriptions for patients who have frequent UTIs. It is important to always take the full prescription, even if symptoms seem to have disappeared.

A hot bath may be an effective treatment for UTI.
A hot bath may be an effective treatment for UTI.

To avoid having to treat a UTI, try to prevent it in the first place. It is a good idea to regularly drink enough water throughout the day. In addition, it is important to urinate after having sexual intercourse to flush any bacteria from the urethra, and to always wipe from front to back on the toilet. Avoid using feminine hygiene products that contain deodorants. Continuing to regularly drink cranberry juice may also help to prevent a UTI from returning. UTIs are also fairly common in pregnancy, and it is important for a pregnant woman to visit a doctor immediately at the onset of symptoms for treatment, as it can lead to complications.

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Discussion Comments

Rotergirl

@Pippinwhite -- Wow. That's unreal. Who would have thought a UTI would make someone go off in the head?

I try to drink a lot of water anyway, and some cranberry juice. Mostly, I urinate whenever I feel the urge. I've only had one UTI, and I pushed water and cranberry juice then. It seemed to help until the antibiotics got on board. Of course, I urinated as much as I could. The bad part was I always felt like I *had* to go! Pretty miserable. I could hardly sleep for needing to go to the potty. Finally, that urge leveled off, which was a real relief.

Pippinwhite

Here's something to remember: if you're older, or have an older female relative, the standard symptoms may not apply. My mom had a terrible UTI a few years ago and didn't have any of the classic symptoms. No fever, no backache, no pain, nothing. Instead, she was out of her head. She became terribly confused and thought it was 1959. Seriously.

We took her to the ER and believe it or not, the urine culture didn't turn up anything. However, her white count was through the roof, and there was another test they did that showed a UTI. Heavy antibiotics and six weeks in rehab, and she finally came home. It was pretty bad. Now, she drinks cranberry juice every day and has only had one since then, and we caught it early.

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    • Cranberry pills can be used to treat a UTI.
      Cranberry pills can be used to treat a UTI.
    • Drinking cranberry juice may help treat urinary tract infections.
      Drinking cranberry juice may help treat urinary tract infections.
    • A UTI is caused when bacteria enter the urethra and travel to other parts of the urinary system, resulting in infection.
      A UTI is caused when bacteria enter the urethra and travel to other parts of the urinary system, resulting in infection.
    • Urinary tract infections -- usually caused by a bacterial invasion of the urethra -- can interfere with a woman's ability to urinate.
      Urinary tract infections -- usually caused by a bacterial invasion of the urethra -- can interfere with a woman's ability to urinate.
    • A hot bath may be an effective treatment for UTI.
      A hot bath may be an effective treatment for UTI.