Can you eat spicy food with a UTI?

In this short guide, we will know if it is possible to eat spicy food when we have a UTI (urinary tract infection), and what is a UTI, also, what are its causes and symptoms. In addition, we will discuss which foods are allowed to be eaten to treat, improve or prevent a UTI and which foods are not allowed to be consumed. 

Can you eat spicy food with a UTI?

No, it is not recommended to eat spicy foods when you have a urinary tract infection, since it can cause irritation in the bladder and can raise the acid pH of the body. 

What is a UTI (urinary tract infection)?

A urinary tract infection (UTI) is an infection in the urinary system for example the kidneys, ureters, bladder, and urethra. Most infections affect the lower urinary tract: the bladder and urethra.

Depending on the area is how the infection is identified:

  • Bladder: an infection in the bladder is also called cystitis or bladder infection.
  • Kidneys: an infection of one or both kidneys is called pyelonephritis or kidney infection.
  • Ureters: the tubes that carry urine from each kidney to the bladder are rarely the only site of an infection.
  • Urethra: an infection of the tube that carries urine from the bladder to the outside is urethritis.

The causes of infections can vary but are mainly due to bacteria entering the urethra and then the bladder.

Typical symptoms of a UTI include: 

  • A strong, persistent urge to urinate
  • A burning sensation when urinating
  • Passing frequent, small amounts of urine
  • Urine that appears cloudy
  • Urine that appears red, bright pink, or cola-colored, a sign of blood in the urine
  • Strong-smelling urine
  • Pelvic pain, in women, especially in the center of the pelvis and around the area of the pubic bone

Foods that should be avoided

Medications are prescribed as part of the treatment, however, the idea is to improve other lifestyle habits. For example, to avoid complications, the following foods should be avoided. 

  • Refined flour: pasta, pizzas, slices of bread, and everything made with refined or white flour is bad for our health; not only when we have urinary tract infection, but at all times, because the body converts it into sugar. Avoid all these foods when you suffer the symptoms and then minimize your intake.
  • Alcohol: we should always opt for water, or, failing that, “infusions without added sugars”. In addition, if you are taking antibiotics for urinary tract infection, alcohol consumption may counteract its effects, so it is totally prohibited.
  • Sausages high in sodium: consuming excess salt raises the amount of sodium in the blood, which reduces the kidneys’ ability to eliminate water. Salt causes fluid retention and our goal is to increase urination.
  • Sugar: when consuming foods high in sugars such as juices or sweets, they raise blood glucose levels and can lead to the proliferation of fungi and bacteria in the urinary tract, which can cause cystitis.

The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases indicates that some people with cystitis report that consuming certain foods or beverages can worsen UTI symptoms. These include coffee, carbonated beverages, alcohol, tomatoes, hot and spicy foods, as well as chocolate and caffeine.

What foods and beverages are allowed 

  • Drink enough water, even if you are not thirsty. This will help eliminate bacteria.
  • Cranberry juice has been used as a treatment for urinary tract infections. It was thought to act by acidifying the urine, but recent studies have shown that its active substances: fructose and proanthocyanidins act by preventing the adhesion of E. coli bacteria to the urothelium. 
  • Blueberries, these red berries can have the same effect as cranberries, preventing bacteria from sticking to the lining of your urinary tract.
  • Probiotics that can be consumed through plain Greek yogurt and fermented foods such as sauerkraut and pickles contain bacterias that can help keep bad bacteria at bay.

The bottom line 

As we reviewed in the article, for a UTI there are different food groups that can help us to treat or prevent some of its symptoms or the presence of some of them, for example, red fruits such as cranberries and blueberries. Also, it is important to emphasize that spicy food is not allowed or not recommended when we have the presence of a UTI.

Conclusion 

In this short guide, we learned if it is possible to eat spicy food when we have a UTI (urinary tract infection), and what is a UTI, also, what are its causes and symptoms. As well as discussed, which foods are allowed to be eaten to treat, improve or prevent a UTI and which foods are not allowed to be consumed. 

Citation 

https://www.eehealth.org/blog/2019/05/what-to-eat-during-a-uti/#:~:text=DON’T%20eat%20spicy%20food,the%20bad%20bacteria%20at%20bay.
https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/urinary-tract-infection/symptoms-causes/syc-20353447

Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.