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
- 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
- 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
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.
If you are certain that your symptoms are caused by a bladder infection,
follow your doctor's instructions for taking the medicine and monitoring your
symptoms. Keep a diary of the number of times you use your self-treatment plan.
Call your doctor if:
- Your symptoms do not improve after 48 hours of
- You start having bladder infections more often than in
Your self-treatment plan is developed for your health needs.
Do not take antibiotics that have not been specifically prescribed for this
bladder infection. Do not take antibiotics left over from a previous
prescription or antibiotics prescribed for someone else.