Most women have experienced a urinary tract infection, or UTI.

While men can get UTIs, they mainly occur in females. And some women get UTIs more frequently than others.

But once you’ve had an infection, it’s pretty easy to recognize the most common symptoms:

  • Abdominal pressure and pain
  • A burning feeling while urinating
  • A near-constant feeling of having to urinate, even if you just went, and often only going a small amount

Left untreated, these symptoms quickly intensify from annoying to painful. While symptoms associated with UTIs can be caused by other conditions, it’s important to get them checked out sooner rather than later.

“If you start to feel the symptoms of a suspected urinary tract infection, make an appointment to see your doctor or go to walk-in clinic as soon as you can,” said Arshiya Khalid, MD, a family medicine physician with Endeavor Health. “The sooner you begin antibiotics, the sooner you’ll feel better.”

Along with an antibiotic, what you drink and eat during a UTI can help you get better faster.


  • DO drink a lot of water, even if you’re not thirsty. This will help flush out the bacteria.
  • DON’T drink coffee, alcohol or caffeine until the infection is gone. These drinks can irritate your bladder.
  • DO drink a shot of sugar-free cranberry juice, if you like it. Cranberry juice may help fight infection, though the effectiveness is still being studied.


  • DO eat blueberries. They may have the same effect as cranberries, which is keeping bacteria from sticking to the lining of your urinary tract.
  • DON’T eat spicy food. It could irritate your bladder.
  • DO eat probiotics — plain Greek yogurt and fermented food such as sauerkraut and pickles. They contain “good” bacteria that can help keep the bad bacteria at bay.
  • DON’T eat a lot of acidic fruit, such as oranges, lemons or limes during the infection. They can irritate your bladder. However, once your infection is gone, eating acidic fruit with vitamin C can help prevent future infections. Add grapefruit and strawberries to your diet, along with spinach and green peppers.

Infection care and prevention

Once you are prescribed an antibiotic, take the entire course. Don’t stop, even if you feel better.

“During the infection — and after — make sure to drink a lot of water, at least 12 8-ounce cups per day. This will flush out your system and help prevent future infections,” Dr. Khalid said.

If you feel like you’ve got to go, go! Don’t hold it, as this delays getting rid of more bacteria. Holding your urine also provides the perfect environment inside your bladder for bacteria to grow.

Besides holding your urine, other causes of UTIs include sex (always urinate before and after), kidney stones or a lack of estrogen, which helps protect a woman’s bladder against bad bacteria. Some women are genetically more likely to get UTIs.

Urinary tract infections are very common. Knowing what to eat and drink can go a long way toward preventing these annoying infections from disrupting your life.