How Do I Choose the Best Over-the-Counter Bladder Infection Treatment?

A cutaway of a female body showing the bladder in dark pink.
A bladder infection falls into the category of a UTI, which refers to any infection affecting the urinary system.
Cranberry juice can help with bladder infections.
Cranberry pills can help with a bladder infection.
An over-the-counter pain reliever can help treat back pain from a bladder infection.
In general, only antibiotics can eliminate a bladder infection.
Article Details
  • Written By: Anna T.
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 12 September 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
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If you have a bladder infection, there are a few different options for over-the-counter bladder infection treatment. In general, only antibiotics can get rid of bladder infections, but drug stores usually carry medicines to help with the symptoms. The best over-the-counter bladder infection treatment for your symptoms is most likely any type of medicine containing phenazopyridine, which helps to decrease the pain and urgency associated with urination during a bladder infection. If one of your bladder infection symptoms is lower back pain, which is fairly common, you might also benefit from taking over-the-counter pain relievers containing either acetaminophen or ibuprofen to help deal with the pain.

Medicines containing phenazopyridine are available under a variety of different brand names. Most of these drugs come in pill form, and you may notice that your urine becomes a very dark orange-brown color after taking them. The dark color can permanently stain your clothing if you happen to get any urine on your clothes, so you should probably take care to avoid that. Most people who take phenazopyridine drugs report relief from bladder infection symptoms almost immediately. It is important to remember that phenazopyridine drugs should only be taken temporarily, as they will not cure your bladder infection, and you will most likely have to see a doctor for a prescription of antibiotics to completely eliminate your infection.

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There are some things you can use at home in addition to over-the-counter bladder infection treatment to help ease your symptoms. Water is very beneficial for all types of infections, including bladder infections. By drinking lots of water, you are helping to flush the bacteria out of your system. Most doctors also advise patients to drink lots of cranberry juice if they are experiencing bladder infection symptoms. Cranberry juice can prevent the bacteria in the urinary tract from binding to the bladder, which should decrease the severity of symptoms.

In addition to over-the-counter bladder infection treatments, there are also bladder infection tests at most drug stores that you can take at home to determine whether you have a bladder infection. To use these tests, you normally have to urinate on a stick in much the same way as you would with a pregnancy test. After a few minutes, the results will display indicating whether you might have a bladder infection. If the test indicates that an infection is present, you should see your doctor as soon as possible for treatment.

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candyquilt
Post 3

@SarahGen-- I haven't, but don't cranberries also contain lots of vitamin C?

So I suppose it's true. You could take vitamin C tablets instead of cranberry pills. It might not treat it, but I'm sure it will help with the symptoms.

One other over-the-counter bladder infection medicine (that's not labeled so) is an effervescent antacid. I'm not exactly sure how it works for a bladder infection, but it reduces my symptoms and makes me feel better. I guess the citric acid and potassium bicarbonate help kill bacteria?

SarahGen
Post 2

Has anyone heard that vitamin C tablets help treat bladder infections?

SteamLouis
Post 1

I had a bladder infection several months ago. I was treating it with antibiotics, but it took a few days for the medication to kick in. So the pain and the feeling of urgency continued until then.

I discovered one very simple thing that helps with these symptoms, staying warm! I put on warm clothes and applied a heating pad on my lower abdomen. This got rid of my urgency symptom very quickly and the pain lessened as well.

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