9 Home Remedies for Bladder Infections

By Nena Luster DNP, MBA, FNP-BC
Medically reviewed checkmarkMedically reviewed
July 8, 2022

In fact, 50%-60% of people with vaginas will get at least one bladder infection in their lifetime. 

Bladder infections are caused by bacteria that enter the body through the urethra.

They can cause painful and uncomfortable symptoms, including burning, stinging, or pain during urination; bloody or cloudy urine; urine with a foul or unusual odor; increased urinary frequency; and pain in the lower abdomen.

If left untreated, bladder infections can spread to the kidneys, which can pose a more significant risk to your health. 

Your provider can diagnose a bladder infection with a simple urine test.

Once diagnosed, your provider will most likely prescribe a course of antibiotics, which is used to kill the bacterial infection.

However, experts are currently researching ways to treat and prevent bladder infections without antibiotics.

Many of these remedies can also help soothe your symptoms while you’re on antibiotic treatment. 

Still, it’s a good idea to speak with a healthcare professional before starting an at-home remedy to ensure that it won’t react poorly with any other medications or treatments you’re currently using.

Fluids

Drinking lots of fluids can help speed up the healing process when you have a bladder infection by flushing out bacteria from your urinary tract.

Water and other non-sugary, non-caffeinated drinks are best.

Drinking adequate fluids on a consistent basis may also help prevent future bladder infections.

Experiencing a bladder infection? Chat with a provider through K Health.

Cranberry Juice

Cranberries contain compounds called proanthocyanins, which may help prevent E. coli and other harmful bacteria from sticking to the urinary tract.

Some studies suggest that cranberry juice can help prevent UTIs, but the research on its effectiveness in treating UTIs is mixed

Unfortunately, the American Urological Association does not suggest using cranberry juice in place of more established treatments, like antibiotics.

However, your provider may recommend drinking cranberry juice as a complementary treatment to antibiotic use or as a way to help prevent recurring UTIs in people with vaginas

Vitamin C

Vitamin C (also called ascorbic acid) has been shown to increase urine acidity, which may help prevent UTIs.

But there isn’t sufficient evidence to suggest that upping your vitamin C intake will treat an existing bladder infection on its own.

In fact, drinking excessive citrus or fruit juice may further irritate your bladder.  

Probiotics

Probiotic supplements and probiotics naturally found in foods like yogurt, sauerkraut, and other fermented products help to introduce beneficial bacteria into your gut and body.

One type of probiotic, called Lactobacillus, may help prevent recurring UTIs in people with vaginas. 

Some research shows that taking a probiotic alongside antibiotics may be a more effective treatment for recurrent UTIs in children than antibiotics alone.

But more research is needed to determine the effectiveness of probiotics as a standalone treatment for UTIs.

If you’re interested in taking probiotics as a complementary treatment for your bladder infection, reach out to your healthcare provider to see if they can recommend a specific probiotic for your symptoms. 

Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar has been touted as a natural remedy for many ailments, in part because it contains some antibacterial and antifungal properties.

Unfortunately, there’s no evidence to suggest that drinking apple cider vinegar will help or treat a bladder infection. 

OTC Pain Relievers

If your bladder infection is causing significant pain, talk to your healthcare provider about which over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers can help.

Generally, acetaminophen (e.g., TYLENOL®) and ibuprofen (e.g., Advil®) are safe to use when you have a UTI and can help relieve pain and discomfort.

AZO (phenazopyridine) is another OTC option that’s specifically designed to treat pain associated with UTIs.

Heat

Using a heating pad or a warm, moist washcloth can help soothe abdominal or pelvic discomfort associated with your bladder infection.

But don’t apply anything too hot directly onto your skin, and take breaks in between uses. 

Water-Rich Foods

If you have trouble staying hydrated by drinking water on its own, eating a good amount of water-rich foods can help you flush the bacteria out of your system.

Foods that are rich in water include melons, strawberries, cucumbers, celery, tomatoes, and spinach.

Avoid Foods that Irritate the Bladder

Acidic and citrus foods may irritate the bladder, which can cause further discomfort when you have a bladder infection.

Avoiding or limiting your consumption of these foods can help keep you as comfortable as possible.

Ways to Prevent Bladder Infections

If you’re not treating an existing bladder infection, you may be interested to learn about strategies that can help prevent bladder infections in the future.

Below are some of the things you can do on a consistent basis to help prevent this type of infection.

Drink adequate amounts of water each day

Drinking an adequate amount of water every day can help you to stay hydrated, but it can also help to prevent a bacterial infection from developing in your urinary tract. 

Many people should aim to drink between six and eight 8-ounce glasses of water (between 48-64 ounces) every day, but these recommendations may vary depending on your age, activity level, and other personal health factors. 

It’s also important to keep in mind that we get around 20% of our daily fluid intake from foods.

In most cases, drinking water when you feel thirsty, when you exercise, and when you are in especially hot or humid climates is all you need to do to stay hydrated throughout the day.

Practice good sexual hygiene

As a general practice, always urinating after sex can help flush away bacteria that may have entered the urethra during intercourse.

This can help prevent a UTI from developing. 

Wipe from front to back

Another good hygiene practice that can help people with vaginas limit harmful bacterial development is to wipe front to back, especially after a bowel movement.

Avoid wearing tight undergarments

Tight-fitting undergarments and undergarments made out of non-breathable fabrics can encourage bacterial growth.

Instead, wearing loose-fitting, cotton-based underwear can help keep the area dry and limit bacterial growth. 

Urinate as soon as you feel the urge

Holding in urine can also encourage bacteria to grow in your urinary tract, which is why it’s important to use the restroom as soon as possible when you feel the urge to urinate.

Experiencing a bladder infection? Chat with a provider through K Health.
Get Started

When to See a Healthcare Professional

In most cases, a combination of antibiotics and some of the home remedies listed above will work to treat a bladder infection and soothe your symptoms.

However, some people may experience symptoms of a more complicated bladder infection. 

If you experience any of the below symptoms and/or if your symptoms don’t improve with treatment, reach out to a healthcare professional as soon as possible:

How K Health Can Help

Did you know you can get affordable primary care with the K Health app?

Download K Health to check your symptoms, explore conditions and treatments, and, if needed, text with a doctor in minutes. K Health’s AI-powered app is HIPAA compliant and based on 20 years of clinical data.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the fastest way to get rid of a bladder infection?
In most cases, the fastest and most effective way to treat a bladder infection is by taking prescription antibiotics. In order to obtain an antibiotic prescription, you’ll need to speak with a healthcare professional. However, there are several home remedies that you can use alongside antibiotic treatment to help speed up recovery, including drinking plenty of fluids and taking probiotics.
How do you get rid of a bladder infection without antibiotics?
Depending on the type of infection, your provider will most likely recommend taking antibiotics, which work to kill the bacteria that cause a bladder infection. However, if you’re interested in alternative treatments, talk to your provider about which options may be right for you, including probiotics, pain relievers, and increasing your water intake.
How can I prevent a bladder infection?
Unfortunately, not all bladder infections are 100% preventable. Still, there are several things you can do on a consistent basis to help prevent one from occurring. Drinking around 48-64 ounces of water every day can help flush out harmful bacteria from your system. Urinating after sex, wiping front to back after a bowel movement (for people with vaginas), wearing loose-fitting clothing and cotton-based underwear, and urinating as soon as you feel the urge will also help.
K Health articles are all written and reviewed by MDs, PhDs, NPs, or PharmDs and are for informational purposes only. This information does not constitute and should not be relied on for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment.

K Health has strict sourcing guidelines and relies on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We avoid using tertiary references.

Nena Luster DNP, MBA, FNP-BC

Nena Luster is a board certified Family Nurse Practitioner with over 14 years of experience including emergency medicine, urgent care, and family practice.