Urinary tract infection (UTI) is one of the most common bacterial infection in women and young children, and the consequences of getting a UTI are far more dire when you’re older. Millions of older adults need to be hospitalized each year due to UTIs, and the infections can be deadly if it spreads to the kidneys or bloodstream.
Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to prevent the urinary tract infection (UTI). The following are some tips to reduce your risk of developing UTIs:
- Urinate as soon as one you feel the need and always emptying your bladder completely.
Holding urine inside when you feel the need to pee increases the chances that bacteria present near your urethra could infect it. Urinating pushes bacteria out from the area, reducing the chance of infection.
- Drink plenty of water each day.
Drinking water helps dilute your urine and ensures that you’ll urinate more frequently, allowing bacteria to be flushed from your urinary tract before an infection occurs.
- Urinate immediately after sexual intercourse.
Sexual intercourse is another condition that leaves you more susceptible to getting bacteria in your urethra. Urinating after sex also helps flush the bacteria that may be present near the urethra.
- Wipe from front to back.
For women, it is important to wipe from front to back after having a bowel movement or urinating, so you don’t risk getting fecal matter in your urethra as this is a common cause of urinary tract infection.
- Shower rather than a bath.
Lying in a bathtub can make the urethra susceptible to infection, since it’s easy for water and bath products to enter the body. Showering eliminates the problem and can go a long way toward preventing urinary tract infections.
- Don’t use any perfumed products in the genital area.
These products contain chemicals that can irritate the urethra and cause an infection. The body produces natural cleansers to keep the internal vaginal area clean, so using soap and water on the exterior body parts should be sufficient.
- Wear cotton underwear instead of silk or polyester panties.
Cotton fabric lets moisture escape while silk and polyester fabrics trap moisture, which allows bacteria to grow and thus increase the risk of getting an infection.
- Avoid wearing tight fitting underwear.
Wearing tight underwear can also cause a problem as it interferes with flow of air and the moisture gets trapped inside and becomes a cause for UTI.
- Drink cranberry juice.
Studies show that regularly drinking cranberry juice prevents infections. UTIs are usually caused by E. coli, and cranberry juice contains proanthocyanidins, which prevent E. coli from attaching to the bladder and urethra.
- Change your birth control method.
A diaphragm, or spermicide-lubricated condom can make you more likely to get a UTI because they all can contribute to bacterial growth. If you have frequent UTIs and use one of these birth control methods, switch to a water-based lubricant for vaginal dryness, and consider trying another birth control method to see if it helps.