I’m just going to lay it out for you guys: I had the worst UTI last fall and would never, ever wish that pain on my worst enemies. If you’ve gone through life thus far entirely unscathed by urinary infections, consider yourself lucky to have been blessed with that level of superhuman immunity. Believe me when I say, it is awful. Plus, I don’t know what’s worse, the pain itself, or the fact that you just have to ride it out until your body flushes out the bacteria. Luckily, there are foods that help relieve UTI pain, and antibiotics to speed up the process and hopefully not have to endure a series of them weeks in a row like I did. Can you tell I'm bitter?
Basically, UTIs happen when bacteria gets into your urethra and festers all up in there, infecting the bladder, urethra (where you pee), or, worst case scenario (if left untreated), the kidneys. Unfortunately, ladies, these bad boys are most common in women because, unlike men, you have a shorter urethra than your male counterpart, meaning there’s a shorter distance for bacteria to travel to arrive in the bladder and do its thing. Bummer, right?
Symptoms like back pain, fever, chills, pelvic pressure, and the like are red flags signaling you to call your doctor ASAP. From there, you’ll most likely be prescribed some kind of medication to fight off the bacteria, and it’s highly suggested that you drink lots of fluids, specifically water and unsweetened cranberry juice, because it contains an active ingredient that fights bacteria.
However, according to the Cleveland Clinic, there isn't actually enough of this miracle ingredient for the bitter beverage to cure your UTI. So, now what? It turns out, there are a ton of healthy foods that provide the essential nutrients your body needs to fight off the infection. Here are a few to to get you through the pain.
Blueberries are an excellent source of antioxidants, specifically polyphenols. According to Prevention, these types of antioxidants are the best kind for treating UTIs because rather than absorbing into the digestive tract, they are actually converted into dietary compounds that bind iron in your urine, and keep bacteria from causing a problem.
Plus, berries are great to begin with because you can literally add them to every meal. Drop them into smoothies, salads, eat them by the handful, or pour yourself a tall glass of unsweetened blueberry juice with breakfast.
Products like kefir and Greek yogurt are swarming with probiotics, aka "good" bacteria that improve your urinary tract in this desperate time of need. When immunity is high in those areas, your body is better equipped to take on "bad" bacteria, and protect your vaginal and bladder areas from getting infected.
Give Lifeway's Organic Skyr whole milk yogurt a try (personally, I love it for breakfast or a snack) that contains an impressive 14 probiotic cultures, as well as vitamin D3.
I'm convinced that no matter what kind of physical ailment you're suffering from, the doctor is going to suggest you drink a ton of water — and with good reason.
The only way your body is going to rid itself of a UTI is by making you pee every 10 seconds (and if you've had one, you know damn well I'm not exaggerating). Gulping down glass full after glass full of H2O will help flush out any stingy bacteria wreaking havoc on your uterus, getting you closer and closer to recovery.
Adding cinnamon to your peanut butter toast, oatmeal, or even taking it via oral supplement can be super helpful when you're fighting off a hideous UTI. Which, for me, is great news, considering I sprinkle that sh*t on everything.
Live Strong reports that, according to a 2010 study, cinnamon was found to successfully prevent e. coli from infecting the bladder. Granted, once you have a UTI your body's already battling it out with bacteria, cinnamon can ease the pain faster so you don't have to rely on a heavy dose of antibiotics.
Clearly sweet potatoes are heaven sent because not only do they satisfy your sweet tooth healthily, they're loaded with beta-carotene which, according to Health With Food, is great for protecting against UTIs. They also contain root proteins which, rumor has it, have a ton of antioxidant properties.
Sweet potatoes are another great example of a food that makes any meal that much better. Experiment with sweet potato toasts (top a slice with Crazy Richard's crunchy PB - you won't be disappointed), spiralize them as a pasta-alternative, or bake them in fry-form.
I can feel the eye rolls through the computer but, trust me, leafy greens work wonders for UTIs. Kale, specifically, is high in vitamin C which, according to Johns Hopkins, reduces bacteria build up and (bonus!) further strengthens your immune system so your body can fight off these problematic chemicals before they even have a chance to misbehave.
Now, how about that salad?