If you’ve ever had a urinary tract infection, you know how miserable and bothersome the symptoms can be, especially when a UTI hits at the most inconvenient time. While UTIs are easily treatable, they are also easily preventable.
To minimize your risk and say goodbye to the unpleasant symptoms of UTIs, keep bacteria away with these prevention tips:
Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of fluids throughout the day. This will give you the urge to urinate more often, flushing bacteria out of your urinary tract. Avoid liquids that dehydrate the body, such as tea, coffee, and other caffeinated beverages. Water is the best choice when it comes to hydration. Aim to drink at least eight glasses of water per day.
Avoid holding your urine. Make sure you urinate when you feel the urge to go. Holding your urine can encourage bacterial growth. Don’t wait more than 4 hours to go to the bathroom. This is particularly important for pregnant women.
Wipe from front to back. The most common cause of UTIs is a bacteria called E. coli, commonly found in the rectum. Always wipe your genitals from front to back after using the bathroom. This decreases the risk of bringing bacteria from the anus to the urethra.
Urinate before and after sex. Since we know that sexual activity increases the risk of getting a UTI, especially in women, it’s essential to flush out any bacteria that may cause UTIs before and after sex. To reduce your risk, urinate immediately before and immediately after sex. If possible, gently wash before and after to minimize further risk of spreading bacteria.
Avoid irritating feminine hygiene products. The vagina naturally contains over 50 healthy microbes of bacteria, used to keep the pH level balanced. Scented feminine products can disrupt healthy bacteria, leaving you at higher risk for the growth of harmful bacteria. Skip douches, scented pads or tampons, deodorant sprays, scented powders, bath oils, soaps, and any other potentially irritating products.
Talk to your OB-GYN about your birth control options. In some cases, your birth control methods can be the cause of frequent UTIs. That’s because some types of birth control promote the overgrowth of harmful bacteria in the urinary tract. Diaphragms, non-lubricated condoms, spermicides, and spermicide condoms have been known to be a source of the problem. If you think your birth control methods are causing frequent UTIs, talk with your OB-GYN to explore your options.
Take a probiotic. Over-the-counter probiotics are live microorganisms that increase good gut bacteria. They have also been known to promote the growth of good bacteria in the urinary tract, protecting you from getting a UTI.
Avoid taking baths. Take showers instead of baths. Sitting in dirty tub water is known to increase your risk of getting a UTI. Besides, we always want to reduce water usage to avoid droughts.
Increase your intake of cranberries. Cranberries are known to be a traditional remedy for treating UTIs. That’s because the berries contain compounds called proanthocyanidins, known to prevent E.coli from adhering to tissues in the urinary tract. Pure cranberry juice or fresh or frozen cranberries are the best options. Increasing your cranberry intake with the first sign of UTI symptoms can be particularly helpful in stopping the condition before it becomes a problem.