Why are UTIs worse at night?

Qualified Nutritionist (BSc, MSc, RNutr)
Ask Emma

04 August 2022

Why are UTIs worse at night?

The symptoms of UTIs including pelvic pain, frequent urination and stinging or burning can often be worse at night due to lower urine output aggravating your bladder symptoms. Other contributing factors can include changing movements or positions, more awareness, or even how you eat or drink at various points in the day.

1. Pelvic pain

One factor that influences worsening symptoms at night is, that they're not necessarily worse, but it's that you notice them more. After all, you're at your most relaxed during this time, with no distractions.

And especially if the symptoms are keeping you from having a good night's sleep. I know only too well that anything that keeps me awake gets my full attention, and not in a positive way!

What can be done to help?


Without the distractions of daytime busyness, pelvic pain can absorb your attention completely. Especially if it's stopping you from relaxing into sweet slumber. 

For this reason, I suggest focusing your mind with a guided meditation as soon as you get into bed. Draw your attention to breathing and relaxing, and divert attention away from pain. Remember, alleviating stress can be helpful in cases of both traditional cystitis (supports immune responses), plus, interstitial cystitis where there is a particularly strong link.)

Changing sleep position

The position you sleep in could increase pressure on your pelvic area and make the pain more intense. Try a position that helps to relax the pelvic muscles. Try lying on your side and pulling your legs up into a foetal position. Or try spreading your legs apart if you sleep on your back.

Nightwear tweaks

Consider your nightwear. Ditch tight and constricting items. They will only risk increasing pain and worsen other symptoms too. 

Instead wear loose, non-restrictive pyjamas made from a soft, natural and breathable fabric. Cotton nighties are a great option.

Applying heat

Heat is a wonderful pain reliever and a simple solution to pelvic pain. A hot water bottle or heat pad on the pelvis helps release tense muscles that have contracted, and having a bath in the lead up to bedtime is a great option too.


Try some gentle stretching before bed to release tense muscles around the pelvis. The less contracted these muscles are the less pain you will experience. I also find Atrogel super helpful for relieving and relaxing sore, constricted muscles, as it works as a gentle anti-inflammatory.

Emptying your bowels

Believe it or not, emptying your bowels can also be a useful step in managing the symptoms associated with cystitis. Particularly with interstitial cystitis, constipation may be a closely related, underlying factor. Go whenever the urge takes you either first thing in the morning or last thing at night if you can!

Remember, at the first sign of symptoms including discomfort you could start taking a dose of Uva-Ursi & Echinacea complex to help relieve the symptoms associated with UTIs or cystitis.

Uva-ursi & Echinacea Cystitis Oral Drops. Cystitis Treatment for Women

£11.99 (50ml)

2. Frequent urination

It might seem like you are peeing more often at night too, something that can go un-noticed during the day. Waking every few hours to pee interrupts your sleep and leaves you groggy the next morning. What can be done about this?

What can be done to help?

Considering your liquids

Treating cystitis requires drinking lots of water throughout the day. This is essential to flush out the infection, but minimise liquid intake 2-3 hours before bed. This ensures your pee trips don't interrupt your sleep. However, our menopause expert, Eileen recommends having a shot gloss of warm water as you go to bed to reduce night time loo trips. This simple tip seems to work a treat for most women and we have plenty of positive feedback to prove it.

Make sure you completely empty your bladder before you get cosy under the duvets too. Try double voiding before bed, this means you pee once, wait a few minutes and then pee again.

Addressing broken sleep

If urinating at night is causing a broken sleep pattern, take Dormeasan Sleep drops as soon as you wake at night. Dormeasan Sleep helps you drift back into deep sleep swiftly. This will lessen feelings of grogginess the next morning.

3. Stinging sensation

Many women experience worse stinging sensations when they pee at night or in the early morning. This is because urine output is at its lowest at these times. 

Remember, more concentrated urine is much more irritating - and that's with or without the extra addition of bacteria being present! 

By the middle of the night, you have spent hours without drinking fluids so the urine in your bladder is very concentrated. The more concentrated your urine, the more irritating it is to your bladder.

What can be done to help?

Limiting irritating food and drinks

Drinking as much plain, still water as you can throughout the day is a solution to this, as it will help keep the urine less concentrated and will help flush out infection too.

Avoid drinks and foods that irritate the bladder lining, to help minimise unwanted stinging and burning sensations.

Foods and drinks such as tea, coffee, other caffeinated drinks including fizzy drinks, alcohol, processed meat, and spicy food are ones to consider reducing your intake of. Simple carbs including sources of refined sugar, sugary foods and foods containing white flour, such as white bread or white rice are ones to consider too.

Tweaking the timing of sex

Sex can worsen symptoms of cystitis, so even if it is your normal night time routine, consider rearranging until the symptoms are under control, or just be more conscious of the good habits such as peeing after sex etc. Otherwise you are likely to hamper a good night's sleep.

Again, if any symptoms such as stinging appear, Uva-ursi & Echinacea would definitely be the one to try initially, introducing it as soon as possible.

My self-care tip: Tips for dealing with cystitis

This video guest features our lovely herbalist Kate, as she describes her tips for dealing with cystitis.

Uva-ursi & Echinacea Cystitis Oral Drops. Cystitis Treatment for Women


£ 11.99

find your local stockist

Fresh extracts of uva-ursi and echinacea to help maintain bladder health and comfort.
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