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Home arrow Health arrow Gut Health arrow UTI Bloating: Explanation, Symptoms, and Tips for Relief

UTI Bloating: Explanation, Symptoms, and Tips for Relief

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Written by Edibel Quintero, RD
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Fact checked by Rosmy Barrios, MD
Last update: July 21, 2023
5 min read 1472 Views 0 Comments
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Do you experience bloating and discomfort when you’ve got a UTI? Bloating is often reported alongside other symptoms of this kind of infection. To find out why it happens and how you can relieve it, check out our article.

UTI bloating

UTIs, or urinary tract infections, are incredibly common, especially among women. The symptoms are relatively well-known and are usually characterized by a burning sensation when you pee. But can a urinary tract infection cause other issues, like stomach bloating, abdominal pain, and bladder pain?

In this article, we’re going to take a look at UTI symptoms, what causes UTI bloating, and how to combat bloating and swelling caused by urinary tract infections. Keep reading now to learn more.

UTI and Bloating: Are They Related?

Bloating and urinary tract infections are linked. Infections of the urinary tract form in the lower urinary system, meaning the urinary tract and the bladder. UTIs usually cause bloating due to the inflammation caused by the infection in this area, as well as feelings of fullness in the bladder.

Infections in the lower urinary tract are usually caused by a strain of bacteria called E. Coli. This bacteria is usually found in the gastrointestinal system but causes problems when it makes its way to the urinary system. The resulting bacterial infection can be uncomfortable and annoying.

UTIs cause pressure and a sense of fullness in the pelvic region that can lead to bloating. While UTIs tend to be easily treated, they can spread to the kidneys, causing complications. A kidney infection is much more serious and requires immediate medical attention.

Bloating is not one of the common symptoms of a UTI, but it may be experienced; plus, it’s also a symptom of kidney infections. If you experience bloating, back pain, fever, nausea, and vomiting, you may have an infection in your kidneys.

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Urinary Tract Infection Symptoms

Symptoms of a UTI include:

  • Burning sensation when you urinate
  • Frequent urination, particularly at night
  • Cloudy urine
  • Urgently needing to urinate
  • Blood in urine
  • Pain in the lower abdomen, back, or under ribs
  • High fever or very low-temperature

UTI symptoms in children include:

  • Higher temperature
  • General sickness
  • Wetting the bed or themselves
  • Vomiting

UTI symptoms in the elderly or those with a catheter include:

  • Changes in behavior, i.e., being more agitated than usual
  • Incontinence
  • Shivering or shaking that is new

While most UTIs often require a diagnosis from your doctor, you should seek immediate attention if your symptoms are accompanied by a very high or very low temperature, confusion, pain in the lower tummy, back, or under ribs and if you can see blood in your urine or have not urinated all day.

Often UTIs are treated with a short course of antibiotics and pain management. Be aware that some pain management options, like ibuprofen and Tylenol, may cause further digestive issues, which could impact bloating.

Why Does UTI Cause Bloating?

UTIs cause bloating for two reasons: the bacteria cause inflammation, which leads to bloating, and the UTI can cause feelings of fullness in the bladder. Inflammation is the body’s natural response to infection and will go away once you have treated the underlying condition.

UTI also causes feelings of fullness in the bladder and pelvic region. This symptom may make you feel like you need to constantly relieve yourself, which can cause further irritation in the lower urinary tract, leading to even more stomach bloating.

Bloating caused by a UTI will go away once you have treated the root cause. If it does not, speak with your doctor about other possible causes of your bloating.

Can a UTI Cause Swelling?

Similar to bloating, UTIs may also cause swelling. The body’s natural response to a foreign pathogen may lead to swelling, bloating, inflammation, and redness as the body attacks the foreign bacteria. This leads to the discomfort and swelling you may experience during a UTI.

It is important to note that not all stomach swelling or bloating is caused by a UTI, and if you do not have other symptoms, like a burning sensation when you pee, then you may not have a UTI at all.

Many other conditions can cause swelling in the lower stomach, including irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), cystitis, and digestive problems, like constipation. A burning feeling when you urinate is one of the most common symptoms of a UTI, so if your bloated stomach does not occur alongside this, speak with a doctor to find out what else could be causing it.

How to Alleviate Bloating Caused by a UTI

A bloated stomach caused by a UTI can be uncomfortable. Though treating a UTI with antibiotics will generally alleviate the discomfort and swelling caused by the bad bacteria, you may want to ease the discomfort as the antibiotics get to work.

Below, we’ve summarized a few of our top tips for alleviating the discomfort and swelling caused by a UTI. Take a look below.

#1 Drink water regularly

Drinking lots of fluids is thought to help flush out the infection that has caused the UTI. By drinking more water, you’ll pee more and hopefully alleviate the swelling caused by the UTI much more quickly.

While we always recommend following the treatment given to you by your doctor, drinking more water has been shown to help others who have had UTIs in the past.

Another fluid that some have found to be useful to consume when suffering from a UTI is cranberry juice. Indeed, there is some evidence that consuming cranberries and cranberry juice may actually lower your risk of developing UTIs or prevent recurrent ones.

#2 Limit junk food and sugar intake

Though it can feel comforting to reach out for your favorite junk food or sugary snack when you are sick, sticking to a healthy diet and avoiding junk food may actually make you feel better more quickly.

When you consume greasy junk food, your body has to spend more time emptying your stomach, which has been shown to cause discomfort and lead to a bloated stomach. If you’re already experiencing swelling from your UTI, you don’t want to make it worse by eating unhealthy food.

#3 Consume more fiber

A bloated stomach is often caused by digestive issues. While it is reported alongside other UTI symptoms, you may find that the swelling your experience is also linked to digestive problems. In this case, increasing your fiber intake could help alleviate these problems.

Getting more fiber in your diet means increasing your intake of whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, but you could also try a fiber supplement.

Some probiotic strains are also great for UTIs in general, so you can also look for the best probiotics.

A Word From Our MD

UTIs are extremely common, particularly among women. They result in burning when you pee, an aching bladder, and sometimes a bloated stomach. A UTI is caused by the bacteria E. coli, making its way from the gastrointestinal tract into your urethra. The UTI spreads throughout your urinary tract and sometimes goes up to your kidneys, causing complications.

Many people are at risk of these bacterial infections, but women are more likely to get one. Though you don’t need to be sexually active to get a UTI, sexual intercourse does make it more likely as the bacteria travel around the area.

A bloated stomach caused by this bad bacteria can be incredibly uncomfortable, but there are a few ways to alleviate it. Firstly, we recommend getting an appointment to see your doctor and drawing up a treatment plan. Once you’ve attacked the root cause, the stomach swelling will reduce on its own.

In the meantime, you could try drinking more water, getting more fiber in your diet, and avoiding junk food. In addition, many people drink cranberry juice to prevent further infections.

Conclusion

UTIs are painful and result in a bloated stomach for some people. We recommend seeing a doctor for a course of antibiotics and treating the swelling at home by drinking more water, eating a healthier diet, and getting more fiber in your diet.

Written by Edibel Quintero, RD
Edibel Quintero is a medical doctor who graduated in 2013 from the University of Zulia and has been working in her profession since then. She specializes in obesity and nutrition, physical rehabilitation, sports massage and post-operative rehabilitation. Edibel’s goal is to help people live healthier lives by educating them about food, exercise, mental wellness and other lifestyle choices that can improve their quality of life.
The article was fact checked by Rosmy Barrios, MD
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HR_author_photo_Edibel
Written by Edibel Quintero, RD
HR_author_photo_Rosmy
Fact checked by Rosmy Barrios, MD
Last update: July 21, 2023
5 min read 1472 Views 0 Comments
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