UTIs (or urinary tract infections) can be very uncomfortable and frustrating. However, it’s sometimes difficult to know if you need to seek help or whether the symptoms will go away by themselves. We’ve gathered all you need to know about whether a UTI can go away on its own.
How do you know you have a UTI?
UTIs, also known as bladder inflammation, are common, with around 50-60% of women experiencing one within their lifetime 1. However, it can sometimes be difficult to know what is causing the symptoms you’re experiencing, so we’ll briefly go over what a urinary tract infection is. The following signs are indicative of this kind of infection:
- Pain or burning when you wee
- Needing to go to the loo more often, particularly at night
- Cloudy, dark, or strong-smelling urine
- Needing to pee more suddenly or urgently than normal 2, which can lead to little leaks.
In addition, it can be tricky to tell if a child has a UTI as they may not be able to explain how they’re feeling. Extra signs of UTIs in infants and children include:
- Lack of energy or tiredness
- Being irritable
- Poor feeding
- Not gaining weight properly
- Jaundice (yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes) in very young children
- Deliberately ‘holding’ their urine
- Changes in their normal toilet habits 3
While urinary tract infections aren’t usually serious, we recommend contacting your GP if you suspect your child is unwell.
Can a urinary tract infection go away on its own?
Although bladder inflammation can be annoying and painful, it usually passes by itself in a couple of days and isn’t a major concern4; so yes, a UTI can go away on its own. Nonetheless, there are various medical treatments that your GP may recommend, including a course of antibiotics. It’s always best to get your GP’s advice based on your own health. There are also various home treatments you can try to speed up this process, including:
- Staying hydrated – although weeing can be painful with a UTI, drinking more water can help flush out harmful bacteria.
- Wee when you need to – ignoring the urge to pee can allow bacteria to breed in your urinary tract.
- Take probiotics, as they promote healthy digestion and immunity.
- Wear loose, cotton clothing, which will help keep the area clean and dry 5.
- Avoid food and drink that irritate the bladder, such as citrus, coffee, and alcohol .
- Use a warm heating pad to relieve discomfort and pain 6.
- Take painkillers if recommended by a doctor or pharmacist7.
If you’re experiencing leaks due to a UTI, you could consider trying continence management products. At iD, we offer a range of discreet, breathable products that keep you feeling dry and fresh. From iD Light for moderate leaks to iD Pants for fuller absorbency, you’re sure to find the right product to keep you comfortable while you let your urinary tract infection go away by itself.
Signs of a more serious infection
Some research suggests that 25 to 42% of UTIs can go away on their own 8.However, this does mean that many UTIs may require medical treatment, and it’s therefore important to speak to your doctor if you suspect you have an infection. This is particularly true in the following cases:
- It’s the first time you’ve had UTI symptoms
- You are a man
- You suspect a child or an older, frail person may have a urinary tract infection
- You have just had surgery
- Your symptoms stay the same or get worse after two days
- Your symptoms come back after treatment
- You have a very high or very low temperature
- You are drowsy
- You haven’t been able to wee for 24 hours
- You can see blood in your pee
- You have lower tummy or back pain9.
So, while a UTI can go away on its own, it’s always advisable to speak to a doctor if you have any concerns about your condition. For more information on bladder inflammation, read our article on how to avoid urinary tract infections or if cranberry juice can really help your symptoms.
1 “An introduction to the epidemiology and burden of urinary tract infections”, Martha Medina and Edgardo Castillo-Pino, 2 May 2019, Source: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6502976/
2 “Urinary tract infections (UTIs)”, NHS, 22 March 2022, Source: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/urinary-tract-infections-utis/
3 “Urinary tract infection (UTI) in children”, NHS 24, 29 April 2022, Source: https://www.nhsinform.scot/illnesses-and-conditions/kidneys-bladder-and-prostate/urinary-tract-infection-uti-in-children
4 “Urinary tract infection (UTI)”, NHS 24, 8 July 2021, Source: https://www.nhsinform.scot/illnesses-and-conditions/kidneys-bladder-and-prostate/urinary-tract-infection-uti
5 “UTI Treatment Without Antibiotics: Common Options and Are They Really Safe?”, Valencia Higuera, 25 April 2022, Source: https://www.healthline.com/health/womens-wellness-uti-antibiotics
9 “Urinary tract infection (UTI)”, Mayo Clinic Staff, 23 April 2021, Source: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/urinary-tract-infection/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20353453
7 “Urinary tract infections (UTIs)”, NHS, 22 March 2022, Source: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/urinary-tract-infections-utis/
8 “UTI Treatment Without Antibiotics: Common Options and Are They Really Safe?”, Valencia Higuera, 25 April 2022, Source: https://www.healthline.com/health/womens-wellness-uti-antibiotics
9 “Urinary tract infections (UTIs)”, NHS, 22 March 2022, Source: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/urinary-tract-infections-utis/