Also known as UTIs, urinary tract infections are a common occurrence, especially among women.
This type of infection is caused by bacteria and affects your urinary system (urethra, bladder, ureters, and kidneys). Most urinary tract infections can easily be cleared up with a round of antibiotics. However, there are some steps you can take to reduce your risk of getting urinary tract infections in the first place.
Staying hydrated by drinking plenty of water will both dilute your urine as well as make you urinate more frequently, which will regularly flush out any bacteria that make their way into your urinary tract before they make it to your bladder.
If you get urinary tract infections often, it might help to drink cranberry juice to prevent future infections. Many people drink cranberry juice or take cranberry pills to prevent UTIs because there appears to be infection-fighting properties present in cranberries. Though there is not yet any conclusive research to support this theory, researchers continue to look into how effective cranberries are at preventing urinary tract infections.
Since drinking cranberry juice is perfectly safe, there is no harm in trying it, if it seems to help prevent UTIs for you. However, cranberry juice is high in calories, so try to limit your intake. Additionally, some people get an upset stomach or diarrhea from drinking too much cranberry juice. If you are taking blood-thinning medications, such as warfarin, or any other medication that affects the liver, consult your doctor before you use this as a preventative measure.
Avoid Irritating Feminine Products
Some feminine products, such as deodorant sprays, douches, powders, and other scented products, used in the genital area can be very irritating to the urethra, making it easier for an infection to develop. Since women are much more prone to UTIs than men, you should avoid using these types of products as much as possible.
Birth Control Methods
There are certain types of birth control that can contribute to bacterial growth and increase your risk for developing a UTI. These include diaphragms, unlubricated condoms, and spermicides. If you use any of these methods and get recurring UTIs, you should look into trying a new method of birth control instead.
Urination After Intercourse
If your UTIs seem to be related to sexual intercourse, try emptying your bladder directly after, as this will help to flush any bacteria completely out of your urinary tract. Also, drinking a full glass of water will help with this.
Wiping Front to Back
Since a woman’s urethra is located so close to the anus, this makes it very easy for bacteria from the gastrointestinal tract to be transferred to the urinary tract. Additionally, women have smaller urethras than men, which means that bacteria have a shorter distance to travel to the bladder, making it even easier for women to develop UTIs. For these reasons, women should always try to wipe front to back after going to the bathroom. This will help to prevent bacteria from the anal region spreading to the vagina and urethra.