Dr. Barbara Hays is a board-certified Ob/Gyn in Sacramento, Calif. In our "Ask an Ob/Gyn" series, Dr. Hays answers questions readers have posted on the Healthgrades Facebook page. Q: “I think I have a bladder infection. I’ve heard home remedies can work, but what treatment do you recommend?” A: If you have pain when you urinate and you feel like you need to go to the bathroom all the time, you may have a bladder infection. How doctors decide to treat your bladder infection depends on what type of infection you have. Some infections are considered simple, because they don’t have any complications. Others are severe, sometimes requiring you to go to the hospital for treatment. Other cases involve frequent or recurring bladder infection. Simple: If you have a simple bladder infection, your doctor will generally give you antibiotics. Sometimes your infection can be resolved quickly, with only a very short course of antibiotics, perhaps 1 to 3 days. Doctors may also prescribe pain medication to numb the bladder and urethra. This makes urinating less painful. One curious side effect: this kind of pain medication can turn your urine orange or red, so don't be alarmed if that’s the case. Severe: If your bladder infection is severe—for example, if it has spread to your kidneys—you may need to go to the hospital for intravenous (IV) antibiotics. Frequent: If you keep getting bladder infections over and over again, your doctor might treat you with a low-dose antibiotic for a prolonged time, such as six months or longer. If your bladder infections are related to sex, which is a common cause for women, you may be prescribed a single dose of an antibiotic to take right after intercourse to prevent an infection from developing. If you’re post-menopausal and having bladder infections, you may benefit from vaginal estrogen therapy. Estrogen protects against this type of infection. Some patients look to home remedies to treat and sometimes prevent bladder infections. These are not replacements for medication; don’t give up your antibiotic or other drugs for them. But they can be used while you’re waiting for your meds to take effect. Or, when you’re not suffering from an infection, they can help protect you from new infections. Some common non-medical treatments for bladder infections include: Drinking lots of water to flush out bad bacteria Avoiding drinks that irritate your bladder while you have an infection, such as coffee, alcohol, soda with citrus juices, or caffeinated beverages Placing a warm heating pad on your stomach or back to relieve discomfort Drinking unsweetened cranberry juice, both to treat and prevent infections. However, talk to your doctor if you’re on blood thinners, such as warfarin or aspirin, or drugs that affect your liver, as cranberry juice can cause adverse interactions with these medications. Not “holding it.” Waiting to urinate contributes to bacterial growth in the bladder, which could result in an infection. Urinating after sex to get rid of bad bacteria After urinating, wiping from front to back Wearing cotton underwear and loose-fitting clothing to keep the urethra area dry Avoiding birth control methods associated with bladder infections, such as diaphragms, unlubricated condoms, and spermicide Increasing the amount of vitamin C you get from foods or supplements, so that you’re taking in 500 to 1,000 mgs daily Eating blueberries, which may keep bacteria from attaching to your urinary tract lining Including probiotics in your diet, either through foods like plain Greek yogurt or in supplement form As you can see, many factors can influence the cause—and treatment—of your bladder infection. Tell your doctor about any symptoms right away so you can get diagnosed quickly and find effective treatment as soon as possible. Have a question for Dr. Hays? Like Healthgrades on Facebook and tell us what topics you’d like to hear more about in future installments.