A UTI (Urinary Tract Infection) is an infection that develops in the urinary system – often affecting the bladder and urethra. UTIs can affect people of all sexes. However, women are more likely to get UTIs because they have shorter urethras, which allow bacteria to enter the urethra and bladder faster. The female urethral opening is also closer to the anus, where E. coli bacteria are commonly found. This bacterium is the primary cause of UTIs, but fungi can also cause the condition. UTI treatment can help you relieve its symptoms. However, you can also prevent the condition from occurring in the first place.
While UTIs are common, you can minimize your risks of getting one. Below are some practical methods for preventing UTIs from recurring;
Staying hydrated by frequently taking water and fluids throughout the day can help prevent UTIs. The more water you take, the more regularly you pee. Urinating often flushes the bacteria out of your urinary tract. Therefore, you should aim to drink around 6 to 8 glasses of water per day. If drinking plenty of water is hard for you, you can hydrate by taking unsweetened fluids like sparkling water, milk, and fruit or vegetable smoothies. Avoid sweetened drinks, caffeinated drinks, and alcohol as they may cause bladder irritation. Constantly drinking water and fluids can also serve as a UTI treatment.
Urinating as soon as you feel the need
Holding in your urine can promote bacterial growth, which causes recurring UTIs. Therefore, you can prevent UTIs by not waiting more than three to four hours to pee. When you get to pee, ensure to empty your bladder completely each time. This is especially important for pregnant women as pregnancy is a risk factor for UTIs.
Urinating before and after sex
Increased or frequent sexual activity is a risk factor for UTIs, especially for women. During sex, bacteria can easily enter the urethra. Therefore, peeing immediately before and after sex can help prevent UTIs by flushing out the bacteria. In addition, you can go the extra mile of washing your genital area before sex to minimize the spread of bacteria to your urethra.
Not using scented feminine care products
Using scented feminine care products like soap, powders, deodorant sprays, tampons, and pads can increase the risk of developing UTIs. This happens because the fragrance disrupts the vagina’s pH level. The vagina naturally contains more than 50 microbes, including a type of bacteria known as lactobacilli. The role of the bacteria is to maintain a healthy vagina and a balanced pH level. Unfortunately, the fragrances tamper with this level, resulting in UTIs and other bacterial or fungi infections. Therefore, staying away from scented feminine products will help prevent UTIs.
Washing your genital area every day
Washing your genital area every day eliminates UTI-causing bacteria. It also creates a toxic environment for bacteria and fungi. Ensure to use unscented soap and water to keep bacteria away. In addition to washing your genitals, wiping from front to back after bowel movements can also help.
If you develop a UTI infection, you can try out home remedies like drinking a lot of water or cranberry juice and taking antibiotics. Eating foods rich in vitamin C and consuming probiotics can also help relieve UTI symptoms and prevent a recurrence. However, if these prevention measures and UTI treatment tips do not work, you should seek medical attention from an expert. Most doctors will recommend antibiotics. But they will also uncover the underlying reason for UTI recurrence and find the right solution. Some common underlying issues are age-related changes in immune function, bowel incontinence, catheter use, birth control, and menopause.