Coping With UTIs

Finding Support and Living Well

Table of Contents
View All
Table of Contents

Urinary tract infections (UTIs) can disrupt your daily routine, but there are plenty of ways to keep your infection from getting the better of you. Along with following the treatment plan prescribed by your healthcare provider, you can boost your emotional and physical wellbeing by making simple adjustments to your everyday habits.

Young happy women traveling with camera in exotic location


For many people, the pain and discomfort of UTIs can lead to emotional stress or have a negative impact on mood. To keep your pain in control, consider using mind-body techniques to help you cope.

For example, recent research suggests that practicing meditation may enhance mood in people with chronic pain. You can also try soothing your stress with deep-breathing exercises, or simply listening to music that lifts your spirits or calms you down.


In addition to keeping up with your prescribed treatment, there are a number of ways to improve your wellness when dealing with a UTI. Here’s a look at several strategies that may help support your treatment plan.

Increase Your Fluid Intake

Although drinking plenty of fluids is always essential for good health, it’s especially important when treating a UTI. By guzzling water, you’re helping to clear your urinary tract of bacteria at a faster rate. What’s more, drinking plenty of water is crucial in transporting antibiotics to the urinary tract, so that the medication can do its work and knock out the infection.

For optimal hydration, a common recommendation is to aim for at least eight glasses of water per day. Some people need more, and some less (depending on factors like age, body weight, and medical conditions), so you should ask your healthcare provider how much is appropriate for you.

And as you increase your water consumption, cut back on beverages that might irritate your bladder, including coffee, alcohol, and soda.

Empty Your Bladder More Often

Drinking more water means you’ll feel a more frequent urge to urinate. While the pain of UTIs may tempt you to hold it in, it’s best to follow through on that urge. That’s because emptying your bladder helps your body eliminate the infection-causing bacteria, which may help you recover more quickly.

Ease Pain With a Heating Pad

To soothe the discomfort of a UTI, try cozying up with a heating pad. When applied to your lower abdomen, heating pads can help lessen bladder pain or pressure. You may also find relief by soaking in a warm bath.

A Word About Cranberry Juice

It’s often claimed that drinking cranberry juice (or taking cranberry supplements) can help combat UTIs, with some proponents suggesting that the vitamin C in cranberries can curb the growth of infection-causing bacteria.

However, studies testing the UTI-fighting effects of cranberries have yielded mixed results so far. To that end, some recent research (including a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 2016) has found that cranberry may be of no benefit in reducing UTIs. If you're not sure whether it may benefit you, be sure to speak with your healthcare provider.


Secondary only to pneumonia, UTIs are one of the most common types of infection. In fact, some statistics show that a woman’s risk of contracting at least one UTI during her lifetime may be more than 50%.

That means there’s no shortage of people who understand the pain and frustration of UTIs, and who may offer you support in coping with your symptoms. To that end, online support groups can be a great resource for those struggling with recurrent UTIs.


If you suffer from recurring UTIs, seeking medical attention at the first sign of a new infection is one of the best ways to take control of your health.

For people with chronic conditions that may interfere with personal care (such as multiple sclerosis), seeking hygiene support may also be helpful in treating and preventing UTIs.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Can stress make a UTI worse?

    There does seem to be a link between stress and urinary tract disorders. Stress raises cortisol levels, which suppresses the immune system and makes you vulnerable to infection, but how stress specifically triggers or aggravates a UTI is not well understood. Relaxation techniques along with medical treatment may help relieve symptoms and prevent a recurrence.

  • Will drinking cranberry juice cure a UTI?

    There isn’t definitive research showing that cranberry juice will cure or prevent a UTI. However, some studies do show benefits and some women insist drinking unsweetened 100% cranberry juice clears up symptoms. According to the American Urological Association, healthcare providers may recommend using it to try and prevent UTIs in women prone to recurrent infections.

  • Can I take antibiotics for a UTI if I’m pregnant?

    Yes. Your healthcare provider will prescribe a pregnancy-safe antibiotic for five to 14 days. Taking the antibiotic and curing the UTI is important to prevent complications that could hurt your unborn baby.

12 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Bono MJ, Reygaert WC. Urinary Tract Infection. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; Available from:

  2. Renard J, Ballarini S, Mascarenhas T, et al. Recurrent Lower Urinary Tract Infections Have a Detrimental Effect on Patient Quality of Life: a Prospective, Observational Study [published online ahead of print, 2014 Dec 18]. Infect Dis Ther. 2014;4(1):125–135. doi:10.1007/s40121-014-0054-6

  3. Lara Hilton, Susanne Hempel, Brett A. Ewing, Eric Apaydin, Lea Xenakis, Sydne Newberry, Ben Colaiaco, Alicia Ruelaz Maher, Roberta M. Shanman, Melony E. Sorbero, Margaret A. Maglione, Mindfulness Meditation for Chronic Pain: Systematic Review and Meta-analysisAnnals of Behavioral Medicine, Volume 51, Issue 2, April 2017, Pages 199–213,

  4. Fasugba O, Mitchell BG, Mcinnes E, et al. Increased fluid intake for the prevention of urinary tract infection in adults and children in all settings: A systematic review. J Hosp Infect.

  5. Al-Badr A, Al-Shaikh G. Recurrent Urinary Tract Infections Management in Women: A reviewSultan Qaboos Univ Med J. 2013;13(3):359–367.

  6. Afazel MR, Jalali E, Sadat Z, Mahmoodi H. Comparing the effects of hot pack and lukewarm-water-soaked gauze on postoperative urinary retention; a randomized controlled clinical trialNurs Midwifery Stud. 2014;3(4):e24606.

  7. Hisano M, Bruschini H, Nicodemo AC, Srougi M. Cranberries and lower urinary tract infection preventionClinics (Sao Paulo). 2012;67(6):661–668. doi:10.6061/clinics/2012(06)18

  8. Juthani-mehta M, Van ness PH, Bianco L, et al. Effect of Cranberry Capsules on Bacteriuria Plus Pyuria Among Older Women in Nursing Homes: A Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA. 2016;316(18):1879-1887.

  9. Behzadi P, Behzadi E, Yazdanbod H, Aghapour R, Akbari Cheshmeh M, Salehian Omran D. A survey on urinary tract infections associated with the three most common uropathogenic bacteriaMaedica (Buchar). 2010;5(2):111–115.

  10. Sanford MT, Rodriguez LV. The role of environmental stress on lower urinary tract symptoms. Current Opinion in Urology. 2017;27(3):268-273. doi:10.1097/mou.0000000000000379

  11. Anger J, Lee U, Ackerman AL, et al. Recurrent uncomplicated urinary tract infections in women: AUA/CUA/SUFU guidelineJ Urol. 2019;202(2):282-289. doi:10.1097/JU.0000000000000296

  12. Bookstaver PB, Bland CM, Griffin B, Stover KR, Eiland LS, McLaughlin M. A review of antibiotic use in pregnancy. Pharmacotherapy. 2015;35(11):1052-1062. doi:10.1002/phar.1649

Additional Reading

By Cathy Wong
Cathy Wong is a nutritionist and wellness expert. Her work is regularly featured in media such as First For Women, Woman's World, and Natural Health.