As soon as you start to pee, you know it.
*Expletive* *Expletive* Expletive*
I have a UTI.
I’m all too familiar with UTI — she and I got quite close in college, but we’ve had some time apart, and I think we’ve both moved on. However, my extensive history with her has given me lots of knowledge about what to do and how to handle it, no matter how difficult and unbearable it may seem. About 50 to 60 percent of adult women have had a UTI, and it’s said that 1 in 2 women will have at least one in their lifetime. Everyone’s been there, and it can feel uncomfortable, painful, and awkward to ask questions (even though it shouldn’t be at all!). So, we’re telling you where to start:
Go to the doctor
If you even think you have a UTI, the first thing you should do is book an appointment with your doctor. Whether it’s with your OBGYN or just your primary care physician, it’s important to get an actual diagnosis to make sure that’s the issue at hand. Sometimes the symptoms of a UTI can be confused with that of a bladder or kidney infection. At the doctor, you’ll have to give a urine sample, so drink a bottle of water before the appointment! The doctor can test it right there, meaning you’ll have an answer before you leave the office.
It’s also important to see a doctor to get treatment. Many people think they can cure a UTI at home, but the best way to completely get rid of the infection is through antibiotics.
Will it go away on its own?
While some minor UTIs can go away on their own, it’s best to see a doctor to make sure you get rid of the infection in full. The infection has to be removed because, according to Dr. Bilal Kaaki at UnityPoint Heath in Iowa, the infection can spread through the body and can be dangerous.
Should I drink cranberry juice?
Cranberry juice and cranberry extract have been commonly stated to help treat and prevent UTIs. Is there any truth to it though? According to urologist Courtenay Moore at Cleveland Clinic, “Cranberry can’t hurt, and it may help.” Studies have shown there is evidence that cranberry can help reduce the number of UTIs a woman has, but there have also been studies that say the opposite. Don’t expect cranberry juice or cranberry extract to cure a UTI without antibiotics. However, if you’re seriously in the trenches and want to see if you can get some relief, it can’t hurt to try.
The pain is unbearable. What can I do to help?
Just because you start taking the antibiotics doesn’t mean you’re done with the pain. Just the simple task of using the bathroom is going to hurt for a minute. There are tons of over-the-counter options to help relieve symptoms while you’re waiting for the antibiotics to do their magic. Here is what we recommend:
Take your full cycle of treatment
Even if your symptoms begin to go away in a few days, always take the full cycle of treatment to make sure the infection is totally gone.
Work to prevent them
Now that you have some relief or you’ve finished your full round of recommended antibiotics from your doctor, there’s a lot you can do to help prevent the infection from coming back or getting a UTI again in the future.
- Take probiotics
- Go to the bathroom as soon as you need to go and try not to hold it as often as possible!
- Wipe from front to back — this is CRUCIAL.
- Don’t use scented douches or feminine care products
- Always pee after sex
- Wear cotton underwear only and loose-fitting clothes
- NEVER stay in a wet swimsuit for too long!
- Drink lots of water
- Keep up your vitamin C intake to boost your immune system (can take supplements or eat more foods high in vitamin C such as oranges, yellow bell peppers, kale, lemons, or broccoli)