Many women know the feeling. The feeling that you are starting to get a urinary tract infection or UTI. The feeling of increased pressure and frequency, painful urination and possibly blood in the urine. It is a dreaded feeling, especially for women who experience frequent urinary tract infections.
A urinary tract infection is an infection in any part of the urinary tract. This can effect the kidney, ureters, bladder and urethra. Most UTIs will happen in the lower urinary tract such as the bladder and urethra. They can be treated with antibiotics and will usually resolve after treatment.
When diagnosed with a UTI, most women know to drink plenty of water to flush the bacteria out of their urinary tract. Cranberry juice is often recommended as it make the bacteria causing the UTI more “slippery” so they can easily be flushed out as well. It is important to note that cranberry juice should be pure cranberry juice and not artificially flavored or a cranberry juice cocktail blend.
However; many women do not know that there are certain foods and drinks that are not recommended when you have a UTI. These foods and drinks can aggravate a sensitive bladder and cause more frequent urination.
Drinks to avoid include coffee, tea, and alcohol which can irritate the bladder. While the caffeine in coffee and tea is what will cause frequent urination, the acidity of coffee can also irritate the bladder as well. It is best to stay with water during this time as even carbonated drinks can affect the bladder.
Spicy foods and citrus containing foods are bladder irritants. For this reason, acidic fruit juices which can include orange juice and lemonade should be avoided during this period of time.
Chocolate, including dark chocolate ,can also aggravate the bladder. This is also not the time to eat many sweets. Reduce your sugar intake while you have a urinary tract infection to prevent that sugar from becoming a food for the bacteria to feed on and multiply during the infection.
Aged and cured foods like sharp cheeses and cured meats can also affect the bladder lining and should be avoided.
It is important to take a probiotic especially while you are taking an antibiotic to replenish the good bacteria in your gut. Be sure to space them out by several hours as you do not want the antibiotic to eat away at the probiotic reducing its beneficial effects. Probiotics will also boost your immunity.
What you should eat at this time are plenty of plant based meals that are nutrient dense. The extra nutrients will help to give you energy to fight off the infection and also the fiber in the vegetables and fruits will act as a prebiotic giving the probiotic a “food” to increase the growth of the healthy bacteria in your gut.
When diagnosed with a UTI, get plenty of rest, drink plenty of water and choose healthy options for meals. If you have frequent UTI’s that when cultured do not show any microorganisms, be sure to ask your doctor about the possibility of having a bladder condition called Interstitial Cystitis. It often mimics UTI symptoms although the pain caused by the syndrome does not come from bacteria. I am happy to answer any questions as well.