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Urinary Problems and Injuries, Age 12 and Older - Home Treatment

Bladder infections

Starting home treatment at the first minor signs of a bladder infection may prevent the problem from getting worse, clear up your infection, and prevent complications.

  • Drink more fluids—enough to keep your urine light yellow or clear like water—as soon as you notice the symptoms and for the next 24 hours. This will help dilute the urine, flush bacteria out of the bladder, and decrease irritation. Note: If a medical condition such as a kidney or heart problem prevents you from drinking more fluids, make sure you are drinking your usual amount of fluids. Drinking cranberry juice may reduce the chances of having urinary tract infections.
  • Urinate when you feel the urge. Don't wait until a more convenient time.
  • Do not drink alcohol, caffeine, and carbonated beverages, which can irritate the bladder.
  • Take a warm bath, which may help relieve pain and itching.
    • Avoid using bubble bath, because it may cause more irritation. If urinary pain or vaginal burning and redness occur in a young girl, she may have an allergy to bubble bath or soap.
    • Use gentle soaps, such as hypoallergenic soaps. Avoid deodorant soaps. Use as little soap as possible.
  • Apply a heating pad over your genital area to help relieve the pain. Set the heating pad temperature on low. Never go to sleep with a heating pad in place.
  • Examine your genital area. Increased redness may mean skin irritation.
  • Wear loose clothing and soft cotton underwear. Do not use soaps, perfumes, or feminine hygiene sprays on the genital area.
  • Avoid intercourse until symptoms improve. Do not use a diaphragm or spermicidal cream, foam, or gel. A diaphragm may put pressure on your urethra. This pressure may slow down or prevent your bladder from emptying completely. Spermicides can cause genital skin irritation.

Recurrent bladder infections in women

If you have frequent bladder infections without complications, you and your doctor may develop a self-treatment plan. The plan usually includes taking antibiotics at the first sign of a bladder infection. Contacting your doctor is not necessary. For more information, see the topic Urinary Tract Infections in Teens and Adults.

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