Heating Pad For a UTI – Does It Really Help?

It’s highly common to experience pain and discomfort when suffering from a UTI, leading many people to turn to heat pads. How do you use a heating pad for a UTI and will it actually help to ease your symptoms?

Does a heating pad help relieve UTI pain and discomfort?

Yes, there is some evidence to suggest that a heating pad will relieve UTI pain and discomfort. Indeed, according to this journal, it has been used as an at-home treatment for many years. It’s also a recommended treatment by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases for bladder infections. 

The heat from the pad will encourage more blood to flow to the part of the body that the pad is placed on. In turn, this creates a warm sensation that will help to relax muscles and provide a nice sensation for the individual. If you suffer from lower back pain – a common symptom of UTIs – or pain in your lower abdomen, then a heating pad can definitely ease some of your discomfort. 

How to use and where to place a heating pad for a UTI?

Using a heating pad for your UTI is simple. Firstly, you need to know where to place your heating pad, and this depends on where you’re experiencing any pain. As mentioned above, many individuals will suffer from lower back pain when having a UTI. This is backed up by evidence in recent studies that connect the two – though it is usually when an infection has spread to the kidneys. 

If this is the case, you are likely to experience pain in your mid back, just below the ribcage. You can lie with a heating pad placed on this area to experience some relief. Hold it there or lie on the pad until you feel the pain ease. 

For those of you that have a mild UTI, the pain is likely to be localized to the bladder or genital area. Here, placing the heating bad on your lower abdomen is a good way to experience a warm relief from the pain. 

The best time to use heating pads for a UTI is whenever you start experiencing pain. If you get UTI back pain or abdominal pain during the day, place a pad on the area until the symptoms subside. It’s also clever to do this just before going to bed as it can help you sleep with UTI discomfort

What else can you do to relieve UTI pain and symptoms?

It’s important to note that heating pads are simply a way of relieving UTI pain. This will not treat the infection or cure it – more about that in a moment. 

Speaking of which, there are other home remedies and ideas you can try to further ease the pain and symptoms associated with your UTI. This includes: 

  • Cranberry juice – There has long been an association between cranberry juice and UTIs. In fact, a study from 2016 discovered that women with a history of UTIs drank 8 ounces of cranberry juice a day for 24 weeks and saw a decline in UTIs and UTI symptoms. It’s believed that certain compounds in cranberries can prevent bacteria from sticking to the urinary tract, allowing them to be flushed out when peeing. In turn, this can prevent infections and decrease your symptoms by stopping infections from getting worse. 
  • Sodium bicarbonate – Also known as baking soda, this is another substance that’s long been linked to treating UTI pain & symptoms. A 2017 study concluded that orally taking sodium bicarbonate could reduce urine acidity, which eases the burning sensation of UTIs. However, they did note that the test was done with a high dosage that may not be suitable for everyone. Alongside this, some people recommend baking soda baths to ease symptoms. The evidence for this is not conclusive, but the combination of heat from the water and the properties of baking soda could lead to relief. 
  • Water – Yes, drinking lots of water can help you gain some pain relief from your UTI. The more you drink, the more you urinate, which can help you flush out as much of the bacteria as possible. At the very least, it can prevent the bacteria from spreading up your urinary tract and causing worse symptoms. 

How to treat a UTI?

None of the methods above will actually treat and get rid of your UTI. They are only recommended for easing your symptoms and discomforts. Instead, the only way to truly treat a UTI and remove the infection is through antibiotics. 

A doctor can prescribe a course of antibiotics for you to follow to the very end. The drugs work by killing the bacteria in your body that causes the infection – though this also means good bacteria can also be killed. So, it’s a smart idea to take probiotics after your treatment to help restore the good bacteria in your gut. 

When to see a doctor?

You should see a doctor when you experience the symptoms of a UTI:

  • Pain or burning when you pee
  • The constant urge to pee
  • Being unable to pee large amounts
  • Lower back pain
  • Cloudy urine that smells bad
  • Pain in your lower abdomen or genital area near your bladder

Contact your doctor as you need to get antibiotics to treat the infection before it starts to spread and cause more complications. 

Get help from an online doctor!

If you don’t have time to organize a visit to your physical doctor, book an online consultation with a virtual one today. At DrHouse, we t help you get antibiotics online in just a few moments following your virtual diagnosis. This will let you begin treatment a lot faster, curing your UTI before it spreads. 

Key Takeaways

Heating pads can be useful and effective at easing pain related to UTIs. If you suffer from lower back pain or abdominal pain due to your infection, place a heating pad on the area until you feel some relief. 

Other home remedies include cranberry juice and possibly baking soda, but the only way to fully treat a UTI is with antibiotics. Recognize the main symptoms, and contact a doctor immediately for a prescription.

Sources: 

  • Alison Bardsley, Treating urinary tract infection in older adults, Nursing and Residential Care 2015 17:11, 610-615, avilable from: https://doi.org/10.12968/nrec.2015.17.11.610 
  • Lo Basso F, Pilzer A, Ferrero G, Fiz F, Fabbro E, Oliva D, Cazzarolli C, Turrina A. Manual treatment for kidney mobility and symptoms in women with nonspecific low back pain and urinary infections. J Osteopath Med. 2021 Mar 12;121(5):489-497. doi: 10.1515/jom-2020-0288. PMID: 33705610.
  • Zhuxuan Fu, DeAnn Liska, David Talan, Mei Chung, Cranberry Reduces the Risk of Urinary Tract Infection Recurrence in Otherwise Healthy Women: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis, The Journal of Nutrition, Volume 147, Issue 12, December 2017, Pages 2282–2288, https://doi.org/10.3945/jn.117.254961
  • Sönmez, M.G., Göğer, Y.E., Ecer, G. et al. Effects of urine alkalinization with sodium bicarbonate orally on lower urinary tract symptoms in female patients: a pilot study. Int Urogynecol J 29, 1029–1033 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00192-017-3492-3 
  • Treatment for Bladder Infection in Adults, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases,  Available from: https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/urologic-diseases/bladder-infection-uti-in-adults/treatment 

DrHouse articles are written by MDs, NPs, nutritionists and other healthcare professionals. The contents of the DrHouse site are for informational purposes only and are not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you are experiencing high fever (>103F/39.4C), shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, chest pain, heart palpitations, abnormal bruising, abnormal bleeding, extreme fatigue, dizziness, new weakness or paralysis, difficulty with speech, confusion, extreme pain in any body part, or inability to remain hydrated or keep down fluids or feel you may have any other life-threatening condition, please go to the emergency department or call 911 immediately.

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