UTI & Drinking Hot Water
- Drinking hot water does not have any proven benefits for UTI or kidney infection.
- There is no scientific evidence to support the claim that hot water can help alleviate UTI symptoms.
- There are no studies directly measuring the effect of drinking hot water on UTI.
- The mainstream scientific community and treatment guidelines do not recommend drinking hot water for UTI.
- Hot water pads applied to the lower abdomen or lower back may help to ease UTI pain.
- Antibiotics are the fastest and most effective way to treat UTI.
- Phenazopyridine, Ibuprofen, or other NSAIDs can quickly control UTI pain.
- Drinking more fluids, avoiding irritant foods and drinks, wearing loose-fitting clothes and trying comfortable sleeping positions can also help relieve UTI symptoms.
Is drinking hot water good for UTIs?
Hot water is an old medical claim.
Drinking hot water was previously believed to have magical effects in curing/preventing diseases back in the 1800s and before.
However, in recent days, the scientific evidence supporting these claims is basically non-existent.
Drinking warm water may positively affect your digestive system (the stomach and the intestines), as hot water may help relax your smooth intestinal muscles.
Your bladder and kidneys benefit from the “hotness of water.”
When hot water mixes with the contents of your stomach and intestines, it soon loses its temperature. The hot water eventually becomes absorbed into the bloodstream; at this point, the temperature of the hot water becomes the same as your blood temperature.
When the water reaches the kidney, it is no longer hot and has no effect on the kidney. It is important to note that warm or hot water doesn’t seem to help with UTI pain either.
So, you will gain NO benefit from drinking “hot” or “warm” water as the temperature doesn’t affect the kidney or bladder.
Did the major UTI treatment guidelines recommend ‘hot’ water?
As a doctor, I always search for high-quality and solid evidence for any medical claim.
By researching the guidelines, and medical research studies, I’ve found no evidence that supports the use of “hot” or “warm” water for UTIs.
Here is a summary:
- The American Urological Association/Canadian Urological Association (AUA/CUA) 2022 treatment guidelines for UTIs didn’t mention any benefits of hot water for UTI. The guidelines instructed the patients to increase their overall water intake (regardless its temperature) to reduce the symptoms and recurrence.
- The European Association of Urology (EAU) guidelines on urological infections (2022 update) didn’t mention any benefit of hot or warm water for UTI patients. The only recommendation was to increase fluid intake in general.
- The UK NICE guidelines for recurrent UTIs recommend drinking enough fluid to avoid dehydration without mentioning “Hot water”.
So, the mainstream scientific community and treatment guidelines don’t see a benefit from drinking hot water for UTI or kidney infection.
Are there studies investigating the benefits of drinking hot water for UTIs?
By searching the PubMed database of medical studies and google scholar, I found no study directly measuring the effect of drinking ‘hot’ water on kidney infection or UTI.
So, No research evidence supports drinking hot water for the treatment or symptomatic relief of UTI.
Hot water can be useful for UTI pain, But not by drinking it.
Heat, when applied directly to a muscle or an organ, typically leads to dilatation of its blood vessels and may help to counter the irritation and pain.
So, some experts recommend hot water pads applied to the lower abdomen (the bladder area just over the central bones of the pelvis) or the lower back to ease UTI pain.
Hot water pads serve as a symptomatic relief for pain and it is not a cure for UTI or kidney infection.
You can use a bottle of hot water wrapped with a towel (avoid applying the hot bottle directly on your skin) over the bladder area or lower back for 15 minutes at a time (reference).
Also, you can repeat the sessions as long as you have pain.
What is the most effective treatment for UTI?
We’ve discussed the fastest and most effective ways to treat and relieve UTI symptoms in this article.
Here is a summary of the most effective treatments for UTI.
Here are some tips to help you relieve UTI symptoms quickly:
- Take antibiotics as soon as possible to get quick relief from symptoms; they usually start working within 24 hours for 87% of patients.
- Use Phenazopyridine (Pyridium or AZO Urinary Pain Relief) or other urinary analgesics to control UTI pain quickly.
- You can also take Ibuprofen or other NSAIDs instead of Phenazopyridine.
- Pee more often, use a heating pad, drink more fluids, avoid irritant foods and drinks such as spicy foods, wear loose-fitting clothes, and try comfortable sleeping positions to help relieve symptoms.