How to Get Rid of a Bladder Infection
Though bladder infections are common and generally low risk if treated straight away, the infection can spread to both the kidneys and the bloodstream if left untreated.
Here’s how to prevent and get rid of a bladder infection, including how you can limit the chances of a urinary tract infection returning.
What Is A Bladder Infection?
A bladder infection is the most common type of urinary tract infection (more frequently known as a UTI). It is usually a result of bacteria entering the bladder from the urethra – the tube that transports urine out of the body. Bacteria within the urethra attach itself to the walls of the bladder and reproduce, resulting in an infection.
Symptoms Of A Bladder Infection
A bladder infection often causes uncomfortable symptoms, including:
- Pain when urinating
- Abdominal cramps
- Frequent urge to urinate
Treating Bladder Infections
Both medical and at-home treatments can clear the infection while easing the discomfort of the symptoms at the same time. Here are some of the ways to treat a bladder infection:
Antibiotics are the quickest way to clear a bladder infection, as they kill the bacteria quickly. Get in contact with your GP to find out more about the best antibiotics for a UTI, as they can also give you advice on how long to take the medication for, and how often.
UTI’s can sometimes imitate the symptoms of sexually transmitted infections and vaginal infections, so it’s vital you speak to a healthcare professional to get the correct UTI and cystitis treatment if necessary.
If you think you may have a urine infection and you have a serious health condition, are older or are pregnant, you must ring your GP straight away for advice.
2. Keep Hydrated
Ensuring you drink plenty of water each day will not only help treat your current bladder infection, but it’ll also help prevent you from getting future infections, too. Water flushes the bacteria away from the bladder, while also diluting urine to result in less painful urination during the infection.
Try to drink the recommended 8 glasses of water a day, and limit the number of caffeinated drinks you consume, as these can irritate the bladder.
3. Wear Breathable Clothing
Bladder infections are bacterial, and it’s, therefore, a good idea to limit the ways in which the bacteria can thrive and survive. Warm and moist environments are a breathing ground for vaginal bacteria, so avoid wearing tight clothing that promotes moisture. Cotton underwear and loose clothing is ideal for encouraging good air circulation, limiting the opportunity for bacteria to grow.
4. Urinate Frequently
Holding in urine will allow additional time for bacteria to grow and multiply in the bladder, so it’s important to go to the bathroom as soon as you feel the urge. Frequent urination also helps to reduce the chances of bacteria moving around the bladder, and instead, flushes bacteria away from the urinary tract.
It is important to remember to always urinate after sexual activity too, as otherwise bacteria can be forced deeper into the urethra (for both men and women).
5. Drink Cranberry Juice
Though the effects of using cranberry juice to prevent UTI’s in the wider population are still unproven, cranberries have long been used as a natural treatment for preventing bladder infections. Recent studies have shown promising results for the success of both cranberry juice and cranberry tablets being used as a remedy for women who get recurring bladder infections.
6. Speak To Your GP About Taking Pain Relief
For some, bladder infections can cause intense pelvic, back and abdominal pain. Contact your healthcare professional to ask for advice about the types of pain relief you can take to alleviate the symptoms, as antibiotics and further remedies may take a few days before they start to ease the feeling of discomfort.
7. Take Showers Instead of Baths
Both warm and hot water enables bacteria to grow quickly, which is why showers may be a better option for those who suffer from recurring bladder infections. If you can only have a bath, avoid using bubble baths and soaks, as the soap in the liquid can often irritate the urinary tract, resulting in further infections.
Further Ways To Prevent Future Bladder Infections
A few simple lifestyle adjustments may help minimise the risk of getting future bladder infections:
- Ensure you change your underwear daily
- Women should avoid using vaginal sprays
- Women should avoid using douches
- Urinate both before and after sexual activity
- Avoid using a diaphragm or spermicide
- Men should use non-spermicidal, lubricated condoms
- Make sure you wipe from front to back after urinating if you’re female
If you have a bladder infection or are showing signs of a urine infection, speak to your GP as soon as possible to ensure you’re taking the right antibiotics to clear the infection from your system.