Both women and men can get urinary tract infections, but it’s far more common for a woman to have problems with recurrent UTI. According to the Office on Women’s Health, women get UTIs up to 30 times more often than men do. If you’ve had a UTI you know it is uncomfortable at best and downright painful at worst. If you find that you have frequent UTIs, try these tips to prevent them.
1. Wipe Front to Back
When we’re potty trained as children, we learn that we should wipe front to back when you go to the bathroom. This isn’t just an arbitrary rule, it is an important hygiene tip. The bacteria E.coli is often found around the rectum, and if you wipe back to front, you may spread it to your genitals and your urethra.
2. Avoid Holding In Urine
When you feel the urge to pee, don’t ignore it and hold it in. Holding in urine for an extended period can encourage bacterial growth. Ideally, you should urinate every 3 to 4 hours and empty your bladder each time. Pregnant women should especially avoid holding their urine.
3. Stay Well Hydrated
Urinating can help wash away bacteria in and around the urinary tract that cause recurrent UTI. Staying hydrated so that you urinate regularly can help prevent infections from occurring. When hydrating, water is the best choice. If you have trouble drinking 8 glasses of plain water every day, you can try unsweetened fruit or vegetable juice, sparkling water, herbal tea, or milk. Try to steer clear of caffeine, alcohol, and beverages high in sugar.
4. Avoid Scented Feminine Products
There are a lot of feminine care products on the market that are scented. While it might seem like a good idea to use a nice smelling douche, deodorant spray, scented pad, or perfumed tampon, it’s not. The scents used in these products can interfere with the natural pH level of your vagina, which balances on its own when things are healthy.
5. Urinate Before and After Sexual Intercourse
Bacteria can easily get into the urinary tract during sexual intercourse if you’re a woman. Therefore, sexual intercourse increases your chances of getting a urinary tract infection. To prevent this, you can pee immediately before and after sex to flush out bacteria. You and your partner can also choose to clean your genitals before sex.
6. Consider Different Birth Control Methods
If you have recurrent UTI, check with your doctor to see if the type of birth control you’re using might be causing them. Some spermicides may increase your chances of getting a UTI and diaphragms may carry bacteria if not cared for properly. Ask your doctor about other types of birth control that might work for you.
7. Be Conscious of Clothing Choices
Wearing tight-fitting pants, wet bathing suits, sweaty workout clothes, or underwear that doesn’t breathe can increase your chances of getting a UTI. Most environments like that are good breeding grounds for the bacteria that can lead to infection. Take off bathing suits, workout clothes, or other wet clothing as soon as you’re able. Choose underwear that is made of cotton rather than synthetic materials that don’t breathe, or at least underwear that has a cotton crotch.
8. Practice Good Hygiene
Along with all the other hygiene tips for preventing recurrent UTIs, make sure you practice good all-around hygiene. Wash daily in the shower or in the bath. If you do take bath, pay attention to the products you use in the bathwater and limit baths to 30 minutes. When you bathe, make sure to wash the outside of your genitals (but don’t use soap or cleanser on the inside) and around your anus.
Alliance Urology Specialists is home to an expert team of urologists that are committed to providing comprehensive care to adults with urologic disorders like recurrent UTI. If you are experiencing the symptoms of a UTI or another urologic condition call our office at (336) 274-1114 to make an appointment.