How to Prevent Urinary Tract Infection?

The risk of urinary tract infection is high in women when compared to men. The infection is associated with severe burning sensation and pain during urination – which in most cases is limited to the urethra and bladder in women. It is an annoying condition and often distressing in the initial stages, but can cause serious complications – if left untreated for long. There is a huge possibility of UTI spreading to the ureter and kidneys with complications.

The first-line treatment for UTIs is antibiotics. Your doctor will suggest some additional measures while you continue taking antibiotics for a specific duration of time. Let us try to understand the measures you can take to prevent UTIs in the first place and reduce the chances of getting infected.

How to Prevent Urinary Tract Infection?

Take the following measures to lower your risk of getting Urinary Tract Infections:

Drink plenty of water to flush out bacteria that are a potential source of UTIs.

The advantage of drinking water is that it helps in diluting your urine and allows you to urinate more frequently. Adequate water helps in flushing out harmful bacteria before they even set in to cause infection.

Cranberry juice or extracts of cranberry has been claimed to prevent UTIs though the studies are not yet conclusive. However, it is better to drink this juice.

Why women are prone to UTIs?

One major reason why women are more prone to UTIs compared to men is the proximity of the vagina to the anal region and short urethra. Pathogenic bacteria capable of causing UTI can gain access to the vagina easily. However, you can still change this route of infection by wiping from front to back after urinating and after a bowel movement – if you are a woman. In this way, you can prevent the bacteria from the anal region from entering and spreading to the vagina and urethra.

Some sprays, body wash, deodorants, powders, douches, and other such products that contain potentially irritating chemicals and perfumes can damage and irritate the sensitive skin of the groin area involving the urethra and vagina. Therefore, you should avoid any of such products if you are prone to UTIs.

Empty your bladder immediately after intercourse and wash the genital area and also drink a glass of water to help flush bacteria through urine. Avoid using public washrooms.

Avoid Holding in Urine

Don’t try to hold urine for hours and delay urinating if you feel the urge. Completely empty your bladder each time you pee. If you hold urine for a few hours, it can encourage bacterial growth and lead to UTIs. You should never do this if you are pregnant as it can increase the risk of UTIs and increase complications.

Recheck Your Birth Control Methods

Unlubricated condoms, spermicide-treated condoms, diaphragms, spermicides can promote excess growth of bacteria increasing the risk of UTIs. If your birth control method is causing UTI, consult your gynecologist to explore any other alternative methods that are apt for your case.

Use Probiotics

Probiotics help in promoting good bacteria in the gut and also in the urinary tract system. Use fermented foods such as yogurt or take supplements.

Bottom Line

Premenopausal women are at risk of UTIs. Similarly, urinary tract issues such as blockages in the ureter and kidneys and kidney stones can cause infections in the ureter, bladder, and kidneys and thus increase the risk of UTIs.  Patients with Chronic illness, immunocompromised status, and diabetes have more risk of UTIs.