If you have a urinary tract infection (UTI), your doctor may tell you to avoid certain foods. But what are these foods? How can they help prevent future UTIs? Let's take a look at some of the most common culprits and how they could be affecting your health.
A bladder infection occurs when bacteria enter the urinary tract. The bacteria irritate the urinary tract, which often results in painful urination and even lower abdominal pain or cramping. Though certain antibiotics can treat a bladder infection, it's important to know the symptoms of a bladder infection to help your body heal — and to prevent further bladder irritation.
Not everyone with a bladder infection has obvious symptoms. But according to the Mayo Clinic, common signs of a bladder infection may include the following:
- Blood in the urine (urine that looks red, bright pink, or cola-colored)
- Feeling of pressure or cramping in the lower abdomen
- Foul smelling urine
- Kidney or bladder stones
- Low-grade fever or chills
- Pain during intercourse
- Passing frequent, small amounts of urine
- Pelvic pain
- Stinging or burning feeling when urinating
- Strong persistent need to urinate
- Urine that is cloudy
A bladder infection can be irritating and painful, but it can become a very serious health problem if the bacterial infection spreads to your kidneys. That’s why understanding your body is important and seeking treatment early on for bladder infections helps you manage the symptoms.
Alcohol is a diuretic, and so if you're already dehydrated, it can make your symptoms worse.
Alcohol also irritates the bladder and can cause inflammation of the urethra (the tube that carries urine out of the body).
Coffee and tea
Coffee and tea are acidic, so they can irritate your bladder. Some people have sensitive digestive systems and find that caffeine makes their UTIs worse.
Spicy foods can irritate your bladder and urethra, which can lead to UTI. Spicy foods include chili peppers, paprika, and cayenne.
If you have a history of UTI or chronic urinary tract infections (UTIs), avoid spicy foods if you are trying to conceive or pregnant until you have been symptom-free for two weeks.
Acidic fruits and vegetables
Acidic foods can cause urinary tract infections in people with UTIs. Avoid these foods:
- Citrus fruits, including oranges and grapefruit
- Tomatoes (tomato sauces, ketchup)
- Pickles and vinegar
- Salad dressings
Chocolate is not a food that you should be eating if you have a UTI. Chocolate can trigger an increase in blood flow to the bladder, which can lead to infection.
Chocolate also contains sugar, which may cause bacteria and yeast in your digestive system to grow more quickly. This will make symptoms worse by making them feel uncomfortable or painful—and it's possible that this could lead to another infection!
Avoiding these foods can help you prevent future UTIs.
- Avoid drinking coffee and other acidic beverages, such as lemonade or orange juice. These drinks increase the acidity of your urine, which can irritate your urinary tract and create an environment for bacteria to grow.
- Don't eat too many raw fruits or vegetables (especially citrus fruits) because they contain high amounts of malic acid, which causes irritation in the bladder when eaten in large quantities. This irritation may cause inflammation that leads to a UTI if left untreated long enough!
The best way to prevent UTIs is to make sure you are eating a well-balanced diet, including plenty of fresh produce and other healthy foods. If you do have a UTI, it's important not to panic – there are many treatments available for this type of infection. We hope that this article has given you some useful information about what foods can lead to UTIs and how these can be avoided if possible!