Traveling with a UTI can feel like torture. The painful and straight-up annoying symptoms can bring rain clouds to any sunny day, especially when you’re in Thailand just wanting to enjoy a nice beach day.
Recent studies project that one in every three women in the U.S. will have contracted at least one urinary tract infection by the age of 24. Scary stuff, yes, but don’t let it put a damper on a good time!
Here are some helpful tips that have saved me on when traveling with a UTI struck at the worst possible time: while I was traveling through the desert, sea and everywhere in between.
1) Stay hydrated
I know all too well the beauty of holiday season: the sun, the fun and the copious amounts of cute umbrella cocktails. But when the symptoms of a urinary tract infection hit, you need to listen to your body and the call of nature. Aim to drink half of your body weight in ounces, per day. So if you’re 180 pounds, you need to be drinking 90 oz of water every day.
It takes a little while to train your body to be able to drink that much water, but once you start consistently drinking water, you’ll realize just how thirsty your body really is.
If you’re traveling in a place that’s hot and humid, be extra mindful of the water your body is expending and be sure to hydrate even more!
2) Avoid irritants like alcohol and caffeine
I know, I know. You’re on vacation! But those two cups of coffee you’re drinking or all of those mojitos aren’t doing your body any favors and might lead to you traveling with a UTI. Gah!
If you absolutely don’t want to stop drinking while traveling, be sure to up your water game even higher. Drinking more water will help to flush some of the bad bacteria from your bladder, which is causing all the trouble!
3) Use Cranberry Juice and Vitamin C
If Cranberry juice (the real thing, none of that sugary cranberry juice cocktail nonsense) is available, drink that.
An easy alternative to the juice are cranberry pills, sold at any pharmacy or health food store. If you know you’re prone to UTIs and you know you’re likely to be traveling in a place that requires sitting in hot temperatures frequently, bring cranberry pills with you before you travel.
Vitamin C is another handy aid at suppressing bacteria in the bladder, which will come in handy should you ever find yourself traveling with a UTI. If you don’t have vitamin C pills handy, try getting it the old-fashioned way: oranges and orange juice.
4) Use the Bathroom Often
A huge factor in the recurrent UTI is holding your pee, so listen to your body and go when you have to go!
I have the tendency to fall into an instant sleep once I step foot on any means of transport- cars, planes, trains. It could be the recycled air or some weird subconscious deal I’ve made with myself.
Either way, sleeping for an entire transcontinental flight = Bad News! So set an alarm if you have to and pee on the regular. And if you’re sexually active, do your thing, but remember this:
5) Safe Sex is Smart Sex
Don’t be a risk taker. Be safe, be smart, use a condom. Pee before and after sex. If this is the only consistent behavior you adopt after reading this article, awesome.
Expelling the bad bacteria from your body will help to avoid future infections and complications.
6) Get The Right Medications Before You Travel
Contact your doctor before you leave and get the proper antibiotic and symptom relief medications just to be safe. The most common antibiotics used in treating UTIs are amoxicillin and doxycycline, which are fairly easy to find in pharmacies worldwide.
And luckily, antibiotic names seem to translate pretty closely from English to other languages.
A common drug to help with discomfort and pain is Pyridium (Pirimir in Spanish).
Remember, UTIs are nothing to be taken lightly and traveling with a UTI absolutely sucks. These are some tips I’m sharing to help in times doctors and medical professionals can’t.
You know your body better than any outside force so be smart and travel on!
7) Take Showers, Not Baths
Keep yourself clean and take showers instead of baths. Use mild soaps, fragrance-free are your best bet.
If you have a tendency to contract UTIs and you’re about to leave on some epic journey, pack accordingly.