How to Prevent UTIs: 10 Ways to Keep Them Away
When common bacteria such as E. coli enter the urinary system, they can cause a urinary tract infection (UTI). This condition is preventable despite the fact that it’s also easy to get. Read on to learn more about bacterial infection and things you can do to avoid it.
What Does a UTI Feel Like?
If you experience a strong urge to go to the bathroom, or a need to urinate more frequently probably, a Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) could be responsible. Other symptoms like abdominal pressure and discomfort while urinating often accompany a UTI. While the condition can affect anybody, including babies, it mainly occurs in women.
Here are a few precautions that you can take to prevent the occurrence and recurrence of UTIs:
1. Stay Well-Hydrated
Make water your friend throughout the day, as urinating helps to flush bacteria out of your urinary tract. Drinking a lot of water will force you to use the bathroom more frequently. If you’re unable to drink about eight glasses of water per day, try incorporating other beverages that will help keep you well hydrated. Some healthy options include decaf herbal tea, fruit juice, or smoothies. Don’t drink too much alcohol as it can irritate your bladder lining.
2. Estrogen Therapy
This is more of an issue as women age. Declining estrogen levels due to menopause can cause thinning and other anatomic changes in the urinary tract anatomy that increases the odds of getting a UTI. According to a study, post-menopausal women can reduce their chances of getting UTIs by applying low doses of topical estrogen creams.
3. Use the Lavatory as Often as Needed
If you feel the urge to use the bathroom, don’t hesitate to go. Keeping urine in your bladder for too long creates ideal conditions for bacterial growth. Using the lavatory every few hours can help minimize the risk. This works for women of all ages, including teenagers.
4. Wipe Front to Back
When you go to the restroom, avoid wiping UTI-causing bacteria into your urethra, where urine exits the bladder. These usually thrive in the rectum, and you can reduce the odds of getting them into the urinary system by wiping your genitals from front to back. People having diarrhea are much more vulnerable to getting bacteria into the urinary system. If you are having loose stools, it’s important to be cautious after a bowel movement.
5. Pre/Post Sex Hygiene
If you’re sexually active, you need to be careful not to let bacteria enter the urethra during sex. The best UTI protection for women, in this case, is to urinate after intercourse. Doing that may wash out the urinary tract of any bacteria that could cause an infection.
6. Use Safe Birth Control Solutions
If you often get UTIs and are on birth control, you may need to revisit the products you’re using, according to WebMD. Some of them contain chemicals that may cause a UTI when in contact with the vaginal environment. Be sure to discuss with your doctor safer options than diaphragms or spermicide-lubricated condoms. Oil-based lubricants can be a problem too. To address vaginal dryness, consider changing to a water-based alternative.
7. Avoid Irritating Feminine Products
Some of the feminine products you use may increase your UTI vulnerability by irritating your urethra. Most of them contain chemicals that may interfere with your vaginal health and pH level. This interference can lead to the overgrowth of UTI-causing microorganisms, including the E. coli bacterium.
Some irritants you may want to avoid include
- Scented powders
- Colognes and fragrances
8. Use Probiotics
Not all bacteria are bad for your health, including vaginal bacteria. Some of them are necessary, and that’s why they’re called good bacteria. If you experience an unhealthy decline of useful microbes in your system, you may be susceptible to UTIs and other bacterial infections. In that case, you may want to try probiotics to avoid infection.
9. Drink Pure Cranberry Juice
While this is an active area of research with mixed results, drinking pure cranberry juice may help avoid getting UTIs. Some studies suggest that the proanthocyanidin compounds in berries may make it difficult for bacteria to survive in the urinary tract.
10. Take Antibiotics
Antibiotics are drugs used to fight off bacterial infections, including UTIs. These aren’t usually the first line of defense, so your doctor will probably suggest other remedies first. However, you may need to use oral antibiotics if your condition fails to improve or keeps recurring. Keep in mind that extended use of these drugs may cause bacterial resistance in your body. It might also interfere with the balance of good bacteria in your system, exposing you to severe infections.
Urinary tract infections are often painful and can make everyday life a little more difficult. However, by implementing these healthy practices, you can keep UTIs away. As always, you can visit one of our urgent care centers if you are suffering from a UTI complications, visit our Urgent Care Center in Irvine, Urgent Care Clinic in Fountain Valley, or Urgent Care Center in Costa Mesa.
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