Bladder infections add up to about 8 million doctor visits each year. Although taking prescription antibiotics is the best way to get rid of your bladder infection, there are ways to use self-treating methods that may help lessen the discomfort and pain until you can see your doctor.
Read on to learn more about bladder infections and what over-the-counter treatments are available.
Symptoms of a Bladder Infection
The most common symptoms of a bladder infection are:
- Frequent urination
- Painful urination (Dysuria)
- Urgency with urination
- Blood in urine
- Difficulty voiding urine
- Cloudy urine that smells bad
- Can’t empty out your bladder
- Bladder pain or tenderness
Are There Over-the-Counter Remedies for a Bladder Infection?
There are some over-the-counter options that can help make your bladder infection symptoms more manageable. There are three types of over-the-counter bladder infection products:
Over-the-Counter Bladder Infection Products That Help Reduce Symptoms
- AZO test strips – These test strips allow you to determine whether or not you have a bladder infection. AZO test strips are similar to what your doctor would use. If you test positive, consider seeing your doctor to get a prescription for antibiotic medication.
- AZO Urinary Pain Relief Maximum Strength TabletsTM – The active ingredient in this medication is Phenazopyridine hydrochloride. It works to help with urinary pain and has an analgesic effect. Be aware that this medication may turn your urine a bright orange color and can also stain your contact lenses.
- AZO Urinary Tract DefenseTM – This product was released in 2016. When you swallow this pill, it releases Methenamine that works by slowing down the growth of bacteria in your urinary tract. It’s not strong enough to completely eliminate an infection, but it may be able to slow down the progress until you can see your doctor.
- Cystex With Cranberry – This product contains some useful ingredients such as D-Mannose and Cranberry Concentrate that may prevent the bacteria from sticking to the wall of your urinary tract.
- Ibuprofen – When you get a bladder infection, your bladder becomes inflamed. That’s what causes the pain, discomfort, and urgency to urinate. Ibuprofen contains anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties.
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Over-the-Counter Natural Remedies
- D-Mannose – D-mannose is a natural over-the-counter supplement that is a naturally-occurring sugar. It has very few side effects and works by sticking to the bacteria to make it easier to flush out of your system when you urinate
- Cranberry juice – You’ve probably heard this one before. Cranberry juice or cranberry herbal supplements haven’t been proven to cure a bladder infection, but they do contain certain compounds that contain tannins. Tannins may help to inhibit the growth of bacteria from sticking to your urinary tract which makes them easier to void out when you urinate. If you have recurrent bladder infections, you might want to consider taking cranberry extract pills as a preventative.
- Vitamin C – If you start to notice any signs of a bladder infection, some doctors recommend taking 500 IU of vitamin C every day. It won’t get rid of your infection, but it may help boost your immune system.
- Garlic – Garlic contains a component called Allicin that helps protect against bacterial biofilms. It can be taken as a supplement or eaten raw. If you eat the garlic raw, be sure to smash it well to release the Allicin.
- Cantharsis – Good for lessening the urge to urinate and helping with pain.
- Nux vomica – Works for itchiness, burning, and cramping.
When Should You See Your Doctor?
A bladder infection can get serious if left untreated. Consider seeing your doctor if:
- Your symptoms don’t go away after two or three days
- Your symptoms worsen, or you get other symptoms such as:
- Back pain
This could be a sign that you have a kidney infection or another serious condition.
You should also see a doctor if you:
- Are pregnant, or you think you may be pregnant.
- Have chronic health issues or have bladder or kidney disease
Note that you can get prescriptions for antibiotics online via our PlushCare telemedicine app. Book an appointment now if you’d like to speak with a doctor and get prescribed antibiotics for your bladder infection today.