What are the treatments for a bladder Infection?
Once a diagnosis is made, our doctors can recommend the most effective treatment for your bladder infection.
They will need to assess whether your symptoms are acute or chronic. An acute bladder infection means your symptoms have come on suddenly and unexpectedly. However, some people (usually women) suffer from chronic infections, where symptoms repeatedly return after treatment.
If the doctor is able to diagnose you straight away, they can prescribe antibiotics to clear up your infection. If you suffer from chronic bladder infections and know what works for you, our doctors can issue a repeat prescription.
In some cases, the doctor might want to conduct further tests, in order to identify the bacteria in your urine and prescribe an effective antibiotic to get rid of it. These will usually be effective within a couple of days.
Wherever you are in the UK, we will help you find a local pharmacy that stocks the medication you need. Whether you are at home, working away or visiting family, our dedicated team will arrange everything and let you know when your medicine is available to collect.
If you have chronic bladder infections, you may have been treated with a specific antibiotic in the past.
You should let our doctors know about this, as they can provide a repeat prescription so that you can start your treatment quickly and without a fuss.
However, it’s important to remember that bacteria can build up a resistance to an antibiotic over time. This means that there is no guarantee the antibiotics you were prescribed last time will be effective every time.
Our doctors may still want to test your urine in case your infection was caused by a different type of bacteria.
Our doctors can also recommend a few self-care tips that you can use to manage your symptoms until you get your antibiotics. These methods are also good practice until your symptoms wear off. They include:
- Drink at least six to eight glasses of water a day
- Avoid caffeine, as this can irritate your bladder
- Press a hot water bottle against your stomach, or hold it between your legs
- Avoid sex
They may also suggest that you take an over-the-counter painkiller until your antibiotics are available for collection.
Preventing bladder infections
As well treating symptoms when they occur, our doctors can also help you reduce your chances of the bladder infection coming back.
They may advise you to:
- Avoid using soap and personal hygiene products. Perfumed varieties could cause irritation and soaps affect the normal balance of bacteria that keep the vulva and vagina healthy in women.
- Take showers instead of baths. Spending a long time in the bath gives bacteria the chance to get into the urinary tract.
- Stay hydrated. You should aim to drink six to eight glasses of water a day.
- Don’t hold it in. If you need a wee, go straight away. Holding in could allow bacteria to attack the lining of your bladder.
- Wipe your bottom from front to back. This will reduce the chance of any bacteria finding its way into the urethra.
- Go for a wee before and after sex. This will help to flush out any bacteria from your urinary tract before it can reach the bladder.
- Change your method of contraception. Especially if you are using a diaphragm.
- Don’t wear synthetic materials. Choose cotton clothes instead.
- Don’t wear tight trousers or pants. They trap moisture and create an ideal environment for bacteria to spread.
Common home remedies that won’t work
Bladder infections are one of those conditions that attract a variety of ‘cures’ you can try at home. Many of them don’t offer a solution to the problem at all, but that doesn’t stop plenty of people trying!
Here are three things that are often wrongly put forward as useful in treating bladder infections.
Probably the most well known piece of advice associated with bladder infections. Sadly, plenty of studies have shown that the effect of cranberry juice on treating or preventing bladder infections is actually very small.
There is a small amount of evidence it can help prevent infections but certainly shouldn’t be used as a treatment. It won’t do any harm, but it’s certainly not enough to be effective on its own, so don’t use it as an alternative to seeing a doctor!
The idea behind this is to change the acidity in your urinary tract, to discourage bacteria from spreading.
Once again, there is no evidence that this actually works.
Apple cider vinegar
Used for the same reasons as baking soda, apple cider vinegar can actually make a bladder infection worse. While you are welcome to try it as a form of prevention, once the infection sets in, an acidic vinegar is that last thing you want coming into contact with the irritated lining of your bladder.