Nobody likes having a urinary tract infection, but they do happen from time to time.
If you’ve got a urinary tract infection (UTI) or you’re prone to having UTIs, you’ll receive a lot of advice: what causes them, whether you should have sex with a UTI, what you should eat to treat or prevent them, and other pointers.
But there’s more. Let’s look at what foods to avoid with a UTI.
Do I Have a UTI?
If you’re a woman, there’s a good chance you have had a UTI at some time, since women are at a greater risk than men. A UTI is an infection in any part of the urinary system, which includes the kidneys, ureters, bladder and urethra. Most infections involve the lower urinary tract—the bladder and the urethra.1
An infection limited to the bladder is mostly annoying, although it can be painful. Serious health problems can occur if the infection spreads to the kidneys.1
If you have a UTI, you may not have any symptoms, but these are the most common side effects.1
Common Symptoms of UTI’s include:
- A strong urge to urinate that doesn’t go away
- A burning feeling when urinating
- Urinating often, and passing small amounts of urine
- Urine that looks cloudy, smells strong, or is red, bright pink or cola-colored
Occasionally a UTI can cause pelvic pain. If left untreated, a UTI can develop into a bladder infection or kidney infection, so it is important to get proper treatment as soon as possible. In the meantime, while you are waiting for or undergoing treatment with antibiotics, here are a few foods to avoid to help ease discomfort.
What Foods to Avoid with a UTI
You’ll often hear that cranberry juice is a good option for preventing and treating UTIs. That’s because it can flush bacteria from your system without irritating the urinary tract.2
It’s crucial to understand not just the treatments, but also the dietary choices that can impact your recovery. As a woman navigating through this, you may be seeking guidance on what foods and drinks to avoid during a UTI to ease your symptoms and promote healing.
Fruits such as lemons, oranges, grapefruits, apples, and peaches, along with their juices, are high in acidity. While these fruits are generally healthy, they can irritate the bladder when you’re dealing with a UTI. This irritation can exacerbate your discomfort and prolong the healing process.
Much like acidic fruits, spicy foods can also aggravate your bladder. The extra heat and spice can increase irritation, leading to more discomfort. It’s best to steer clear of hot peppers, heavily spiced dishes, and condiments during this time.
Sugar and Starch
Foods high in sugar and starch, such as cookies, soda, chips, candy, and cake, can provide a favorable environment for bacteria to thrive. These bacteria are often the culprits behind UTIs, so it’s wise to limit their food sources.
Consumption of alcohol can have a diuretic effect, leading to dehydration. This dehydration can worsen UTI symptoms by increasing bladder irritation. Additionally, alcohol can hinder the effectiveness of certain antibiotics, which are commonly prescribed to treat UTIs.
Like sugar, artificial sweeteners can also irritate the bladder. While they may be a popular choice for those looking to reduce calorie intake, they might not be the best option when dealing with a UTI.
Commonly found in coffee, tea, and soda, caffeine can increase the frequency of urination. This can lead to mild dehydration, adding salt to your urine, which in turn can irritate the bladder. Furthermore, caffeinated drinks might tempt you to delay urination, increasing the risk of bacteria proliferating in your bladder.
The best thing to consume with a UTI is plenty of water. Up to eight glasses a day will help flush some bacteria out of your urinary tract. While cranberry juice and other healthy items like the probiotics in sauerkraut, pickles, kefir and probiotic yogurt can help your body fight infections, they can’t cure a UTI once you have one.4
It’s best to see a doctor and receive medicine to eliminate the infection and avoid the danger of the infection spreading to your kidneys.4
UTI Treatment Options
A proper diagnosis and treatment is vital if you suspect you have a UTI, so seek medical attention if you begin to experience UTI symptoms. A health care provider will perform urine tests to identify the type of UTI from your urine samples, and then you may receive an antibiotic. Left untreated, a urinary tract infection can cause serious health problems, such as permanent kidney damage, or sepsis, a potentially life-threatening complication of an infection.1
Use our Physician Finder to seek out a women’s health care provider if you suspect you have any type of UTI.