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Foods that cause uti: Foods You Shouldn’t Eat When Treating a UTI

Foods You Shouldn’t Eat When Treating a UTI

If you’re experiencing discomfort when you urinate, your cup of coffee, hot-sauce-drenched tacos, or some other food could be to blame.

By Diana RodriguezMedically Reviewed by Kacy Church, MD


Medically Reviewed

Thinkstock; Peter Dazeley/Getty Images

According to the National Kidney Foundation, one in five women will have at least one urinary tract infection (UTI) in her lifetime — 20 percent of them will have more than one. In fact, bladder infections result in nearly 10 million doctor’s visits each year as women seek treatment for the pain, pressure, and constant urge to urinate.

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.

Women are 10 times more likely than men to get bladder infections because they have a shorter urethra. In women, bacteria can reach the bladder faster because of the shorter distance.

While being a woman puts you at greater risk for bladder infections, other risk factors that are common include:

  • Abnormal urinary tract shape or function
  • Certain types of contraception, particularly diaphragms with spermicidal agents
  • Diabetes
  • Genetic predisposition — bladder infections run in some families
  • Postmenopausal. In postmenopausal women altered hormone levels are linked to bladder infections.
  • Pregnancy. Changes in a woman’s hormones during pregnancy increase the risk of a bladder infection.
  • Sexual activity. Bacteria is pushed into the urethra during intercourse. Also, having multiple sex partners increases the risk of bladder infections.

Additionally, a number of common foods and drinks — artificial sweeteners, spicy foods, alcohol, coffee, acidic fruits, citrus, or caffeinated drinks — can irritate your bladder, and may worsen UTI symptoms — so you should steer clear of them if you have signs of a bladder infection.

Take a Break From Coffee to Ease Bladder Infection Symptoms


Sure, your morning cup of java perks you up, but it may also make your UTI symptoms act up again. Caffeine is known to irritate the bladder and worsen bladder infection symptoms. A study of people with interstitial cystitis (chronic inflammation of the bladder) found that people who drank coffee experienced worsened symptoms. Try a mug of noncaffeinated herbal tea to replace your morning coffee ritual until you are UTI-free.

Can Drinking Alcohol Cause a UTI?


You may know that beer, wine, and liquor can irritate your stomach if you’ve got reflux or an ulcer, and alcohol can irritate the bladder, too, particularly if you have a bladder infection. Though you want to get plenty of fluids when you’ve got a UTI, it’s important to avoid alcohol. So, take a hiatus from cocktails — at least while you’re trying to flush out the bacteria and recover from a urinary tract infection.

Skip Citrusy or Caffeinated Sodas Irritate the Bladder


Sodas in general have been found to irritate the bladder in people with chronic bladder inflammation, and they could aggravate symptoms in someone with a bladder infection. Citrus-flavored sodas (think your favorite lemon-lime concoction) and caffeinated sodas are the culprits when it comes to worsening urinary tract infection symptoms. So, when you’re struggling to overcome a bladder infection, stick to water or cranberry juice as your drink of choice.

Acidic Fruits Can Worsen Symptoms of a Bladder Infection


Fruit may be an essential part of a healthy diet, but fruits containing a lot of acid can irritate the bladder — and worsen your UTI symptoms. So try to avoid lemons, oranges, grapefruits, and tomatoes when you’re treating a UTI. Other fruits that may cause bladder irritation and worsen a urinary tract infection include apples, peaches, grapes, plums, strawberries, and pineapple. You should also steer clear of juices made from these fruits.

Do Spicy Foods Irritate a Bladder Infection?


Whether you top your nachos with jalapeños, sprinkle your pizza with red pepper flakes, or love your curry chicken extra hot, you’ve got to skip the spice when you have a UTI. Spicy foods are known to irritate the bladder and worsen UTI symptoms, so cool down your meals and opt for blander choices to treat a urinary tract infection.

Artificial Sweeteners May Worsen Bladder Symptoms


When you’re trying to cut calories at every corner, artificial sweeteners may seem like a healthy replacement for sugar. But if you’ve got a urinary tract infection, it’s possible that your bladder infection symptoms may worsen if you use artificial sweeteners. While one study found that artificial sweeteners worsened bladder symptoms in people with chronic interstitial cystitis, there’s no real proof they irritate the bladder when you have a simple UTI. But if these fake sweeteners bother you, skip them.

Urinary Tract Infections Linked to Meat Consumption

If you’re prone to urinary tract infections even when you do everything you can to prevent them from happening — like taking showers instead of baths, staying hydrated, and urinating after sex — it might be time to change up what you eat.

That’s because a new study suggests that more than half a million urinary tract infections (UTIs) in the United States each year might be caused by strains of E. coli bacteria found in meat.

“It’s a pretty surprising finding, given that this kind of E. coli is not actively monitored in the food supply or among food-production animals by the USDA, FDA, or CDC in the United States,” says senior study author Lance Price, PhD, co-director of the Antibiotic Resistance Action Center and professor of environmental and occupational health at George Washington University in Washington, DC.

DNA Reveals Meat Consumption May Cause Urinary Tract Infections

For the study, published in the journal One Health, scientists examined the DNA of almost 1,200 samples of E. coli taken from the urine and blood of infected individuals, as well as the DNA of more than 1,900 samples of E. coli from raw meat including chicken, turkey, and pork.

When they evaluated all of these samples in the lab, researchers found that about 8 percent of urinary tract infections may be caused by E. coli from meat, translating into as many as 640,000 UTIs each year.

One limitation of the study is that all of the samples came from a single U.S. city, and it’s possible that these results might not reflect what would happen nationwide.

How Could Eating Meat Lead to a UTI?

The results are still compelling because E. coli is the leading bacterial cause of urinary tract infections in the United States, says William Schaffner, MD, a professor of infectious diseases at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee, who wasn’t involved in the study.

“It was a surprise that such a large number of urinary tract infections — over a half-million — are estimated to be caused by the E. coli bacteria which we acquire from the food we eat,” Dr. Schaffner says.

There are hundreds of different strains of E. coli, and most are harmless, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In fact, E. coli is present in the intestinal tracts of both humans and animals. But some strains can cause infections, including strains that come from animals.

These infections happen when bacteria — which could come from unclean hands or from the rectum — enter the urethra and travel to the urinary tract, according to the CDC. UTIs are more common in women, and are also more likely to occur in people with a history of previous UTIs, sexually active individuals, older adults, young children, and people who have poor hygiene (like kids going through potty training).

Common UTI symptoms include pain or burning sensations during urination, frequent urination, bloody urine, and pressure or cramping in the groin or abdomen.

Bladder infections are the most common type of UTI, but they can also lead to kidney infections that can be more serious and involve symptoms such as fever, chills, lower back pain, nausea, and vomiting.

How to Prevent UTIs

There are several ways to prevent urinary tract infections, according to the CDC:

  • Urinate after sexual activity.
  • Stay well hydrated.
  • Take showers instead of baths.
  • Limit douches, sprays or powders in the genital area.
  • Wipe front to back after using the bathroom.

The new study results suggest that safe meat handling might go on this list, Dr. Price says. “All the same safe handling principles apply for this kind of E. coli as are recommended to prevent other foodborne infections,” Price says. This includes:

  • Keep other foods away from areas where you handle raw meat.
  • Use separate cutting boards, knives, and bowls just for raw meat.
  • Cook meat thoroughly.

Doing these things will help minimize transmission of any E. coli in raw meats to other foods you eat, Price says. Cooking meats kills this bacteria, so stir frying foods together or mixing foods on your plate after you prepare meats isn’t an issue, Price notes.

Beyond this, it also helps to buy meat products that are labeled “raised without antibiotics” or “USDA organic” because if these foods do contain E. coli, it’s less likely to be a strain that is resistant to treatment with antibiotics, Price notes.

Another common hygiene tip for minimizing your exposure to E. coli from meats: “Always wash your hands and cutting surfaces thoroughly when preparing food,” Schaffner says. “Also wash your vegetables and salads thoroughly.”

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An overactive bladder occurs when the bladder muscles begin to contract involuntarily, even when the amount of urine in the bladder is small. This leads to frequent and sudden urge to urinate, sometimes lf;t urging accompanied by leakage of urine.

An overactive bladder (OAB) can significantly disrupt daily life. Patients with an overactive bladder may become incontinent and wake up several times a night (nocturia).

There are several possible causes leading to an overactive bladder. These include:

  1. 1) Neurological diseases that affect the nervous system, such as multiple sclerosis or Parkinson’s disease.

  2. 2) Diabetes.

  3. 3) Urinary tract infections.

  4. 4) Diuretic drugs commonly referred to as “water pills”. People with heart disease often take diuretics to lower their blood pressure.

  5. 5) Old age and cognitive (behavioral) decline.

  6. 6) Excessive consumption of caffeine or alcohol.

Diet and lifestyle changes can affect the severity of overactive bladder symptoms.

Nutrition recommendations for OAB include:

1) Fluid intake

For people with an overactive bladder, there is a fine line between too much and not enough fluid intake. Patients should try to stick to the recommended amount of 6-8 glasses of fluid each day. The body can regulate the amount of fluid in the body by excreting waste fluid in the urine. Therefore, exceeding the recommended amount will most likely result in you going to the toilet more often. However, it is important to avoid dehydration, as this will result in more concentrated urine, which can further irritate the lining of the bladder. You can control the level of hydration by the color of urine. Dark yellow urine can be a sign of dehydration.

It is best not to drink a lot at one time, but to distribute the intake of drinks throughout the day. It is also necessary to stop drinking a couple of hours before bed to minimize the chance of getting up at night.

2) Caffeine

Caffeinated drinks include tea, coffee, and carbonated drinks such as cola. Caffeine is a diuretic, which can aggravate overactive bladder symptoms.

3) Alcohol

Alcohol acts as a diuretic and increases urine output, so it can also aggravate the symptoms of an overactive bladder.

4) Spicy food

Some foods, including spicy foods, can irritate the bladder. Patients with an overactive bladder are best avoided.

5) Citrus fruits and fresh juices

Citrus fruits also irritate the bladder, which can cause painful and frequent urination.

Dietary advice and general lifestyle changes can help manage symptoms and improve quality of life.


Drink less before and during long trips.

Drink less in the evening to avoid getting up at night to urinate.

Cut down on alcohol and caffeine as they increase urine output and irritate the bladder.

Certain foods can irritate the bladder and worsen overactive bladder symptoms. It may be helpful to reduce artificial sweeteners, spicy foods, citrus fruits and juices, caffeine, and soft drinks from your diet.

Maintain a healthy weight (body mass index should be between 18-25 kg/m2). Weight loss can lead to a reduction in overactive bladder symptoms.


Overactive bladder syndrome

What foods are useful and harmful for bladder problems

Of course, if you have an obvious disease, you need treatment, but it’s better to know what to eat and what to avoid.

dennis von westburg/unsplash.com

Some foods are highly acidic, which can make your urine more acidic. Acidic foods can irritate the bladder and increase symptoms such as pain and frequent urination.

Contents of the article

Do not self-medicate! In our articles, we collect the latest scientific data and the opinions of authoritative health experts. But remember: only a doctor can diagnose and prescribe treatment.

Researchers have found links between certain vitamins and bladder function, for example:

  • Vitamin D deficiency is associated with increased urination.
  • Large amounts of vitamin C may also increase the need to run to the toilet, while more moderate amounts may relieve symptoms.

Hydration may also play a role in bladder health. Dehydration can increase the risk of urinary tract infections, while drinking too much fluid can exacerbate problems like an overactive bladder.

Some foods have anti-inflammatory properties. These foods may help relieve the inflammation and pain associated with an irritated bladder.


Foods and drinks that can irritate the bladder

Understand that everyone is different; The foods and drinks on this list are the most common bladder irritants, but that doesn’t mean they’re necessarily triggers for everyone.

Common bladder irritants include:

  • All alcoholic beverages, including beer and champagne
  • Apples, bananas, citrus fruits, cranberries, grapes, strawberries, pineapple, peaches, plums, prunes, raisins0012
  • Tomatoes
  • Brewer’s yeast
  • Cheese, mayonnaise, sour cream, yogurt
  • Chicken liver, ham
  • Chili/spicy foods
  • 90 009 Chocolate, coffee

  • Beans
  • Nuts (hazelnuts, pecans and pistachios)
  • Artificial sweeteners
  • Luke
  • pickled herring
  • rye bread
  • Soy sauce
  • Tea – black or green, ordinary or without caffeine, as well as herbal mixtures containing black or green tea.
  • Vinegar

Foods to include in your diet

Although there is no specific diet for bladder health, including healthy natural foods in your diet can help. For example, you can follow a Mediterranean-style diet that is rich in antioxidants and also includes omega-3 fatty acids. Pay attention to the following products: :


They are rich in anthocyanins, a type of antioxidant. Anthocyanins have antioxidant, anti-carcinogenic (cancer-fighting), and antimicrobial properties. They also have anti-inflammatory properties, meaning they can help fight bladder inflammation and pain associated with bladder problems. While all berries are nutritious, blackberries are especially high in antioxidants. Blackberries are superior in antioxidants to blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries.

Non-acidic fruits and vegetables

Since acidic foods are potential bladder irritants, try to choose fruits and vegetables with a higher pH, for example:

  • Avocados, dates, figs, olives, pears, persimmons, pumpkin, watermelon
  • Squash, asparagus, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, corn, cucumber, eggplant, mushrooms, potatoes, radishes, spinach, green beans


Salmon is rich in anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids.