Once you’ve had a urinary tract infection (UTI), you’ll never forget how uncomfortable it is. That urgent feeling that you need to urinate sends you searching for the nearest bathroom, only to be replaced by burning and discomfort instead of the relief you were hoping for.
Men and women can both get UTIs, but anatomy and other factors make women more prone to develop them. Some types of birth control, menopause, and a shorter urethra can all put women at risk for developing UTIs.
And that’s why you’ll find women sharing tips with one another about treating UTIs and discussing possible prevention techniques like are there foods to avoid with UTIs?
The following 6 tips for avoiding a UTI answer that question, and more:
6 Ways To Avoid A UTI
Here are six easy things you can do at home to help prevent a UTI:
1. Use Proper Bathroom Hygiene
This may be the most important tip because it’s prevention you can practice daily that tends to become a lifelong habit: always wipe front to back after a bowel movement (and teach your daughters to do the same).
Anatomy is to blame here, as wiping back to front also wipes bacteria like E. coli from your anal area to your urethra, where it can easily infect you. It’s also essential to use good hygiene during your period and change tampons and pads frequently to keep bacteria from growing.
2. Avoid Feminine Hygiene Products Containing Irritants
There are many cleansing products marketed to women implying that special products are needed to keep you clean down there. The truth is that the vagina is a self-cleaning organ.
Washing your genital area with gentle soap and water is all you need. In fact, the ingredients in douches, body washes, powders, and deodorizers that are targeted for women’s hygiene are often irritating to your delicate tissue and can destroy the naturally occurring protective bacteria in the area.
3. Drink Plenty of Fluids, Especially Water
One of the most important things you can do to prevent UTIs is to drink plenty of fluids and urinate when needed. Urination flushes bacteria out of your system before it has a chance to cause an infection.
Drinking plenty of fluids, especially water, keeps your urinary tract running smoothly.
4. Try Cranberry Juice
Women often recommend cranberry juice to one another as a way to prevent UTIs. The evidence on this is conflicting. Several studies suggest cranberry products help prevent UTIs, but other studies disagree. There may be certain compounds in cranberries that interfere with bacteria and reduce inflammation, reducing symptoms.
Whether it works or not, cranberry juice isn’t likely to cause harm. If you do try cranberry juice for UTI prevention, look for unsweetened, pure cranberry juice. Popular cranberry juice cocktails typically have a lot of added sugar and a small amount of actual cranberry juice.
5. Consider Changing Your Birth Control
Some types of lubricants or birth control, like diaphragms, condoms, or spermicides, can promote the growth of bacteria and can lead to a UTI. You may be able to prevent a UTI by using a different type of birth control or a water-based lubricant.
You can also help prevent a UTI by washing your genital area before sex and immediately urinating after to flush out bacteria.
6. Eat Less Meat – Maybe
There is some evidence that suggests there may be foods to avoid with UTIs. Some studies say that a vegetarian diet may be associated with a lower risk of developing a UTI, but more evidence is needed.
Researchers think that some foods, including pork and poultry, may transport E. coli. And some foods may help prevent the growth of bacteria that cause UTIs.
While more research is needed on the possible connection between meat and UTIs, there are other health benefits of eating less meat that makes cutting back beneficial whether or not it helps prevent UTIs.
Following the tips above can help you avoid UTIs. But if you are experiencing one, don’t delay getting care! Not only are UTIs uncomfortable, but they can lead to further problems if left untreated.
Don’t suffer with a UTI any longer – schedule an appointment today!