The key to preventing urinary tract infections is to keep bacteria out of your system. Drinking plenty of water and relieving yourself often can help prevent a UTI.
Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are common infections that affect one out of five women at some point in their lives. However, you can prevent UTIs by following these tips:
- Do not hold urine for too long: Pee as soon as you feel the urge and empty your bladder. Urination is an easy way to flush bacteria from the body.
- Drink plenty of water: Drinking plenty of water will ensure that you urinate often. It is recommended to drink six to eight ounces of water daily.
You can also prevent UTIs by practicing good personal hygiene, which includes:
Wiping from front to back:
- Bacteria such as Escherichia coli (E. coli) are found commonly around the anus. To prevent their transfer from the anus to the urethra, it is necessary to wipe from front to back and not from back to front after a bowel movement. This is especially important for women because their urethra is shorter than that of men, allowing easier transfer of bacteria between the anus and urethra.
- Wash the genital area before sex and urinate after sex.
- Washing the genital area before sex is especially important for women. Urinating after sex is equally important because this helps flush bacteria out of the urinary tract.
Avoid using irritating feminine products:
- Scented products end up irritating the vagina and can disrupt the balance of useful bacteria by allowing harmful UTI-causing bacteria to grow. Hence, avoid using products such as douches, scented powders, deodorant sprays, scented pads or tampons.
- Your vagina is a self-cleaning organ, and it does not require harsh chemicals.
Rethink your birth control:
Have a diet rich in fruits and vegetables:
- Eating enough vegetables and fruits every day ensures a good supply of vitamins that helps improve your immunity. Citrus fruits contain vitamin C that seems to improve UTI-related immunity. Examples of citrus fruits include oranges, kiwis, limes and strawberries.
Include probiotics in your diet:
- Probiotics are live microorganisms that, if consumed in adequate amounts, prove to be healthy. You can include them in your diet in the form of yogurt or probiotic drinks that are available over the counter.
- They help increase the growth of gut bacteria that can fight the infection, and they replenish the gut bacteria that are lost with antibiotic treatment.
Drink cranberry juice:
- Cranberries, in the form of cranberry juice, have been used to prevent UTIs. Some studies have found them to be effective, whereas some deem them of very little or no use. You can, however, give them a try.
Medically Reviewed on 8/24/2021
Urinary Tract Infections. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/9135-urinary-tract-infections
Borchert D, et al. Prevention and treatment of urinary tract infection with probiotics: Review and research perspective. Indian J Urol. 2008;24(2):139-144.
Urinary Tract Infections. Available at: https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/urinary-tract-infections