A urinary tract infection, or UTI, is never a fun experience. It comes with various unpleasant symptoms, including a burning sensation when you pee, fever, chills, feeling tired, and a frequent need to go pee. Focusing on what to drink for a UTI can be helpful, as some drinks will make your symptoms better, while others won’t.
The first thing to mention is that you shouldn’t avoid liquids. In fact, drinking more can be helpful. This might sound counterproductive, as a UTI makes peeing painful. Still, you need to clear the infection out of your body fast and you can’t do that by avoiding the bathroom.
Be warned, your options for what to drink with a UTI are limited (much more than when you have a kidney stone). This can be frustrating, but don’t worry, the UTI will pass soon enough and you can get back to the drinks that you enjoy.
These recommendations for what to drink are all true regardless of whether you are relying on antibiotics or are allowing your body to respond to the UTI on its own. Even with antibiotics, giving your body a helping hand is still important.
What You Should Drink For A UTI
- Cranberry Juice
- Coconut Water
- Probiotic Drinks
- Herbal Tea
- Apple Cider Vinegar
Staying hydrated is the single most important way to treat a UTI and to prevent one from occurring to begin with. Staying hydrated helps to decrease the concentration of your urine and means that you’re going to the bathroom regularly. Doing so is important for flushing bacteria out of your urinary tract.
Not surprisingly, water is the ideal choice here. After all, water has no calories and no concerning additives.
Try to drink water regularly throughout the day. Be sure to have more if you find yourself getting thirsty. Keeping a water bottle on hand and having small sips is often easier than trying to drink a glass or two at a time.
If you struggle with plain water, try to flavor it in some way. Flavored water mightn’t be as healthy as plain water, but it’s still better than not drinking enough water.
One simple trick is to add a splash of juice into your water. Lemon juice and lime juice are perfect, as they add almost no calories. If these don’t sound appealing, try a splash of cranberry juice or orange juice to your water.
You could try infused water too. Here, you’re cutting up pieces of fruit and letting them sit in the water for a few hours or even overnight. This gives the water a slight flavor, enough to make it interesting. You can even include herbs and some vegetables. For example, cucumber works well, as does rosemary.
Cranberry juice is a popular natural remedy for a UTI. It is thought to stop bacteria from attaching to the walls of your urinary tract, which then prevents infection.
There’s another advantage too. Cranberry juice is rich in vitamin C. This can help to decrease urine acidity, which then protects against infections.
However, there’s debate about exactly how cranberry juice helps with a UTI and how effective it is. Some studies have found benefits to drinking cranberry juice, while others haven’t found many effects at all.
If you’re going to focus on cranberry juice, unsweetened juice is your best option. This is the type that’s been studied the most. Plus, you don’t want to consuming extra sugar when dealing with a UTI.
You’ll need to pay close attention to product labels to find cranberry juice that meets your needs. Avoid anything that’s labeled as cranberry drink or cranberry cocktail, as these products often rely on other types of juice and additives.
Finally, cranberry juice won’t be a good choice for everyone. It can make the symptoms of some conditions worse, including irritable bowel syndrome, arthritis, and heartburn. The juice can interfere with some blood thinner medications too.
Coconut water isn’t as well-known as cranberry juice for a UTI, but coconut water does have some advantages. For one thing, coconut water is excellent for hydration. After all, it has a high water content, along with a selection of electrolytes.
While coconut water does have some sugar, the amount is low, making coconut water a healthy drink.
There are also claims that coconut water has a natural diuretic effect. This means that you’ll end up peeing more often. Doing so while you have a urinary infection mightn’t sound like a good thing, but the process helps to flush harmful bacteria out of your body.
Probiotics are live organisms that play a role in your gut health, helping to promote a good balance of bacteria. Doing this is important, as your gut has been linked to health throughout your body.
Probiotics are even more crucial when you have a UTI, as UTIs are often treated with antibiotics. While antibiotics are important for killing harmful bacteria, they can’t distinguish between the bacteria that are hurting you and the bacteria that are helping you. So, you need probiotics to top up your balance of good bacteria.
There are plenty of probiotic drinks to choose from, including kombucha and kefir. Homemade versions of these drinks may be higher in probiotics than manufactured versions, especially as homemade products won’t be pasteurized.
Still, it’s important to be cautious. It’s easy to grow unhealthy bacteria at the same time as good bacteria when brewing probiotics. This can make manufactured probiotics a safer bet.
Herbal tea doesn’t rely on traditional tea leaves. Instead, it is made using roots, leaves, flowers, or other parts of various plants. This means that most types of herbal tea don’t contain any caffeine at all.
So, if you enjoy a hot cup of tea or coffee regularly, why not simply swap it for herbal tea instead? There are plenty of types to choose from. Some herbal teas will contain just a single ingredient, while others will offer a combination.
Some types of herbal tea may even directly help with a UTI. Chamomile tea and peppermint tea are both thought to be beneficial. Chamomile tea has calming properties too, which could make your UTI easier to manage.
And, don't forget that teas are great sources of water too.
However, there are two exceptions to the no caffeine rule. One is yerba mate. This South American herbal tea does contain caffeine (and a decent amount of it at that).
The other exception is herbal tea blends. For example, a product from the grocery store might be marketed as lemongrass tea and use lemongrass and black tea leaves as ingredients. This will be obvious from the ingredients label, so it’s always worth checking to make sure the tea is what you expect.
If you plan to drink herbal teas regularly, be sure to talk to your doctor first. While it’s easy to see herbal teas as being benign, they can affect your health in positive or negative ways. Plus, the herbal industry isn’t well-regulated and many herbal teas haven’t been researched extensively.
This also means that you should pay close attention to how your body reacts. If you feel worse or appear to get side effects, it’s best to play things safe and stop drinking the tea.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is promoted as an amazing health tonic. So, it’s not surprising that it has been linked to benefits for a UTI as well.
The main advantage is that the vinegar can contain a mass of enzymes and bacteria known as the mother. This may help to promote your gut health. The apple cider vinegar could be useful in other ways too, such as by balancing the pH of your urinary tract and making infections less likely.
While you can take apple cider vinegar as a shot, it’s much better to dilute the vinegar instead. This way there’s no risk that you’ll damage the enamel on your teeth or burn your throat. Even just mixing the vinegar with water can be enough.
Drinks To Avoid
The drinks we’ve talked about so far are all helpful when you have a UTI. Some other drinks can be a poor choice and can make your symptoms worse.
If possible, it’s best to avoid all drinks with caffeine, including coffee, tea, and energy drinks, as caffeine irritates the bladder. Even decaffeinated coffee and tea could be a problem if you’re sensitive, as these products still contain some caffeine.
Avoid alcohol too. Not only does alcohol irritate your bladder, but it can also quickly dehydrate you. Neither feature is desirable and the combination of the two is awful when you have a UTI.
Fizzy drinks are another poor choice. Regular ones are loaded with sugar, which can encourage unhealthy bacteria to grow. Diet fizzy drink is better in some ways, but the additives and artificial sweeteners cause their own problems. You could opt for a diet soda that only uses natural sweeteners, but it’s much better to give the soda a miss entirely.
While cranberry juice might help with a UTI and vitamin C is important, other types of fruit juice probably won't be that useful. The problem is that fruit juice contains little fiber and a large amount of sugar. The high amount of sugar can easily encourage bacteria to grow.