Urinary tract infections can be a real pain — literally. But there are ways that you can prevent future infections. Here are five everyday habits you can start now to prevent UTIs.
The telltale signs of a urinary tract infection are always unpleasant. You feel like you need to urinate more often, but it burns when you go. Even though urinary tract infections are easily treatable, they can become a real pain if you experience them on a frequent basis.
A urinary tract infection (UTI) is when any part of your body that deals with urine becomes infected. These body parts include the bladder, kidneys, ureters, and urethra. The ureters are tubes that carry urine to your bladder, and the urethra is a tube that carries the urine out of your body.
Fortunately, the causes of urinary tract infections aren’t just random. By making a few simple lifestyle changes, you can reduce the frequency of these infections. Here’s what you can do to keep your urinary tract healthy.
Manage your bathroom habits
There are many situations where we can’t use the restroom as soon as we feel the urge. Certain jobs, in particular, limit bathroom access. Unfortunately, having to “hold it” for too long can actually make you more prone to getting a urinary tract infection.
To defeat this particular cause, be sure to get to the bathroom as soon as you have to go. If you are prone to UTIs and you work in an environment where bathroom breaks are discouraged, you can ask for a doctor’s note explaining that you need to be allowed more frequent breaks.
You also want to make sure that fecal matter stays far away from the opening to the urethra. Women should always wipe from front to back to avoid spreading bacteria.
Drink as much water as you can. It’s not just a cliché that you hear from doctors and other health experts. Drinking an adequate amount of water will help keep your urinary tract in healthy working order.
Exactly how much water should you be drinking? More than you would imagine. Drink nearly double the normal amount of water you drink in a day. You should be drinking enough water that you have to frequently urinate as a result.
Try drinking cranberry juice
Cranberries contain a natural compound that helps keep the bacteria that cause UTIs away from your urinary tract. You can try drinking lots of cranberry juice when you feel the telltale symptoms of a UTI coming on.
Choose 100% cranberry juice because cranberry juice “cocktails” contain other juices, such as apple juice or white grape juice, so they contain less of the helpful active cranberry compounds.
Although the evidence from clinical studies isn’t conclusive on using cranberry juice to reduce the risk of UTIs, it may be helpful, and it definitely can’t hurt.
Use caution with scented products
Many personal care products contain heavy fragrances that can irritate your urinary tract. Avoid scented body washes, lotions, douches, and feminine hygiene products, as they can irritate your urinary tract. Sometimes these products also change the pH level of your body, making infections more likely.
Take showers instead of baths
Taking baths can be relaxing, especially at the end of a long day. However, soaking in a bathtub can increase the chance of introducing bacteria into your urinary tract. So it’s better for your urinary health to choose showers instead of baths.
If you follow these tips, practice good hygiene habits and make sure to drink plenty of water, you can help keep your urinary tract healthy and avoid painful UTIs.
If you think you currently have a UTI, please call us to schedule an appointment, or you can easily book an appointment online. Dr. Ulin Sargeant can prescribe antibiotics that can help relieve your symptoms and answer any questions you have, especially if you suffer from stubborn or recurring urinary tract infections.