If you’ve been diagnosed with a urinary tract infection (UTI), the antibiotic your doctor prescribed should help you start feeling less pain and burning when you pee within 24 hours (though be sure to finish the entire prescription to make sure things are completely cleared up).
Your diet can also offer relief from UTI symptoms:
Drink lots of fluids. You’ve no doubt heard the advice to drink cranberry juice. That’s because cranberries contain substances which have been shown to inhibit the binding of bacteria to the bladder. Just be sure the juice is unsweetened, since sugar helps promote bacterial growth. Blueberries have the same effect on bacteria, so pop some of these in your mouth, or go for unsweetened blueberry juice. A couple of glasses of juice a day are fine; but round things out with 6 to 8 glasses of water per day.
Eat more yogurt, or take a probiotic supplement. There is some really encouraging evidence to show that probiotics, specifically Bifidobacterium bifidum and lactobacillus acidophilus (now there’s a mouthful!), are especially effective at keeping UTIs at bay and also helping them heal. You can find them in yogurt, kefir, and over-the-counter supplements.
Avoid caffeinated coffee, tea, and energy drinks. Caffeine can irritate the lining of the bladder, and worsen the symptoms of your UTI.
Eat more antioxidant-rich foods. Foods including tomatoes, strawberries, leafy greens, and broccoli are rich in antioxidants, which build-up your immune system and help fend off infections, including UTIs.
Never Self-Diagnose. Before you start slugging down unsweetened cranberry juice, make sure you actually have a UTI. “Many people misdiagnose themselves with a urinary tract infection,” says Obstetrician-Gynecologist Dr. Jennifer Lesko. “The only true way of knowing whether or not you have a UTI is by having a urine culture taken, which tests for the bacteria.” Other illnesses that mimic a UTI include interstitial cystitis or some sexually transmitted diseases.