Person experiencing uncomfortable stomach symptoms wondering if a UTI can cause bloating

Can a UTI Cause Bloating?

Medically reviewed on April 4, 2024 by Rosanna Sutherby, PharmD. To give you technically accurate, evidence-based information, content published on the Everlywell blog is reviewed by credentialed professionals with expertise in medical and bioscience fields.

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Urinary tract infections (UTIs) occur when bacteria, most often E. coli, make their way up the urethra, eventually infecting the bladder and/or kidneys if left untreated. [1] As such, it’s common for people with UTIs to experience uncomfortable symptoms associated with the urinary tract, including bloating. [1]

Fortunately, there are ways to manage and even prevent UTIs and their accompanying symptoms.

Understanding UTIs

Generally, women and people assigned female at birth (AFAB) more commonly contract UTIs as they have a shorter urethra with closer proximity to the rectum, which allows bacteria easier access to the bladder. [2]

Additionally, certain factors such as sexual activity, hormonal changes, pregnancy, and menopause can increase the risk of recurrent UTIs in this population. As such, you might wonder, “Why do my UTI symptoms come and go?” Hormonal fluctuations can affect the pH balance of the vagina, making it more susceptible to bacterial growth. Moreover, the use of certain types of contraceptives, like diaphragms or spermicides, can also contribute to the development of UTIs in AFAB individuals. [1, 2]

As bacteria makes its way up the urethra, the urinary tract becomes inflamed. As a result, those with a urinary tract infection may experience any of the following symptoms [2]:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Pelvic pain
  • Lower back pain
  • Pressure in the lower pelvis
  • Foul-smelling urine
  • Cloudy urine
  • Incontinence
  • Frequent urination
  • Frequent urge to urinate
  • Pain or burning sensation while urinating
  • Bloody urination
  • Fatigue
  • Fever and chills
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Cognitive problems

Men and people assigned male at birth (AMAB) may also experience pain in the penis. [2]

Can a UTI cause bloating, too? In some cases, yes. The body’s immune response, inflammation, can cause a build-up of pressure, gas, and water within the urinary tract, as well as abdominal distension, which can contribute to bloating and the pain felt in the abdomen, pelvis, and lower back. [3]

That said, bloating is not a common symptom of a UTI. [3]

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How To Manage Bloating and UTI Symptoms

If you do experience a bloated stomach from UTI inflammation, consult with a healthcare provider. They can direct you toward several ways to alleviate the abdominal discomfort, including [2, 3, 4, 5, 6]:

  • Prescription antibiotics – A healthcare provider may prescribe antibiotics like amoxicillin for a UTI to target the specific bacteria causing the infection. These medications work by killing or inhibiting the growth of bacteria in the urinary tract, helping to resolve the infection and reduce inflammation. It's essential to complete the full course of antibiotics as prescribed, even if symptoms improve, to ensure the infection is completely eradicated and to prevent antibiotic resistance.
  • Consistent hydration – Adequate hydration is crucial for supporting urinary tract health and flushing out bacteria that may cause UTIs. Drinking plenty of water throughout the day helps dilute urine, making it less concentrated and reducing the risk of bacterial growth. It also promotes frequent urination, which can help expel bacteria from the urinary tract. Healthcare providers often recommend aiming for at least six to eight cups of water per day, or more if you’re experiencing symptoms of a UTI.
  • Avoiding certain foods – Some foods and beverages can aggravate UTI symptoms and contribute to bloating and discomfort. Spicy foods, caffeine, alcohol, and acidic foods like citrus fruits and tomatoes can irritate the bladder and exacerbate urinary symptoms. Beans, cabbage, broccoli, and carbonated beverages can also cause bloating. Limiting or avoiding these items while experiencing a UTI can help alleviate bloating and discomfort. Instead, opt for bland, non-irritating foods and beverages like water, herbal teas, plain yogurt, and whole grains.
  • Probiotics – Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that can help restore the balance of microorganisms in the gut and urinary tract. These healthy bacteria may help prevent the overgrowth of harmful bacteria that can lead to UTIs. Incorporating probiotic-rich foods into your diet, such as yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, and kimchi, can promote gut and urinary tract health. Additionally, your healthcare provider may recommend probiotic supplements that contain specific strains, such as Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium, to support urinary health and reduce your risk of contracting another UTI.

To prevent UTIs and accompanying abdominal bloating, it’s helpful to practice good hygiene, such as regularly washing the genital area with mild, unscented soap and wiping from front to back. Also, be cognizant of the products you use. Opt for water-based lubricants, avoid tight-fitting clothing, and think about changing birth control methods if you currently use a diaphragm. [2]

Support Urinary Tract Health With Everlywell

Can a UTI cause bloating and constipation? It’s possible, although not common. That said, if you believe you have a urinary tract infection, it’s critical to seek the care of a healthcare provider. Allowing the infection to remain untreated can cause significant damage to your bladder and kidneys.

If you’re unsure of where to start, begin with Everlywell.

Our virtual care visits provide you with a one-on-one consultation with a licensed healthcare provider who can help identify your symptoms and treat the infection with prescription medication. It’s convenient, private, and easy.

Schedule an appointment for online UTI treatment to see for yourself.

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  1. Urinary Tract Infection. CDC. Medical Citation URL. Accessed March 10, 2024.
  2. Urinary Tract Infection. Cleveland Clinic. Medical Citation URL. Accessed March 10, 2024.
  3. Graziani C, Laterza L, Talocco C, et al. Intestinal permeability and dysbiosis in female patients with recurrent cystitis: A pilot study. J Pers Med. 2022;12(6):1005. Published 2022 Jun 20. doi:10.3390/jpm12061005. Medical Citation URL. Accessed March 26, 2024.
  4. Zinsli G. (2023, April 25). Link between food and bladder symptoms. Mayo Clinic Health System. Medical Citation URL. Accessed March 26, 2024.
  5. Cleveland Clinic. (2022, March 15) 15 foods that can cause bloating. Medical Citation URL. Accessed March 26, 2024.
  6. Cleveland Clinic. Abdominal distension (distended abdomen). Medical Citation URL. Accessed February 26, 2024.

Rosanna Sutherby, PharmD holds a PharmD and is a retail pharmacist who has worked in the industry for roughly 20 years. Sutherby has extensive knowledge about medications, diseases, and conditions, and knows how to confidentially educate patients. Sutherby also creates content revolving around anything in the medical sphere with a focus on conditions and articles. Her published work has appeared in Managed Healthcare Executive, Formulary Watch, and PsychCentral, and spans a variety of topics, including cardiovascular health, immunology, sleep disorders, mental health, alcohol and opioid use disorders, vaccine education, and medication use and safety.
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