How to Prevent UTI – 8 Ways You Can!

How to Prevent UTI

Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs) are a common occurrence, especially among people with vaginas. However, with conscientious hygiene practices and lifestyle adaptations, it’s possible to significantly lower the risk of contracting one. This article presents an in-depth guide on how to prevent UTI, offering practical and effective strategies that can be integrated into daily routines.

Understanding UTIs

A UTI is an infection that affects the urinary system, specifically the lower urinary tract comprising of the bladder and urethra. The most common symptom is a constant urge to urinate, accompanied by a burning sensation during urination and cloudy urine.

The primary culprit behind UTIs is the E.coli bacteria, commonly found around the anus. People with vaginas are more susceptible to UTIs due to the shorter length of their urethra, allowing bacteria to reach the bladder more easily.

While UTIs can’t be completely evaded, their frequency can be significantly reduced with the right preventive measures.

Adopting Proper Hygiene

Wiping Technique

The rectum is a significant source of E.coli; hence it’s crucial to wipe the genitals from front to back after using the restroom. This practice reduces the chance of transferring E.coli from the anus to the urethra. This is particularly important during bouts of diarrhea, which may increase the chance of E.coli spreading to the urethra.

Frequency of Urination

Resisting the urge to urinate can encourage bacterial growth, making it essential to heed nature’s call promptly. Experts recommend not waiting more than 3 to 4 hours to urinate and ensuring complete emptying of the bladder each time. This frequency should be increased during pregnancy, as the condition puts individuals at a heightened risk of UTIs.

Pre and Post-Coital Urination

Sexual activity escalates the chances of contracting a UTI due to the potential transfer of bacteria into the urethra. A simple solution can be urination before and after sexual activity to flush out potential UTI-causing bacteria. Additionally, a gentle genital wash before sex can further reduce the risk.

Fluid Intake

Maintaining hydration is key in UTI prevention. A well-hydrated system ensures frequent urination, which aids in flushing out bacteria from the urinary tract.

Water is the ideal choice of fluid, with a recommended intake of 6 to 8 glasses per day. In case of difficulty consuming this water volume, other fluids like herbal tea, milk, or smoothies can be included. Alcohol and caffeinated drinks should be avoided as they can potentially irritate the bladder.

Cautious Use of Scented Products

The vagina naturally houses a variety of microbes, including Lactobacilli, which help maintain a healthy pH level. Scented feminine products can disrupt this balance, leading to an overgrowth of harmful bacteria, and, ultimately, UTIs.

Avoid the use of products such as:

  • Douches
  • Scented pads or tampons
  • Scented powders
  • Deodorant sprays

Scented bath oils, soaps, and bubble baths can also irritate the genital area and cause an imbalance in vaginal bacteria.

Re-evaluating Birth Control Options

Certain types of birth control might promote an overgrowth of harmful bacteria. This includes:

  • Diaphragms
  • Non-lubricated condoms
  • Spermicides
  • Spermicidal condoms

If you suspect your birth control method is contributing to frequent UTIs, consult your healthcare provider. They can guide you towards an alternative method suitable for you.

Probiotic Intake

Probiotics are live microorganisms that promote good gut bacteria and may also aid in maintaining a healthy bacterial balance in the urinary tract. Strains of Lactobacilli have been particularly associated with lesser UTI occurrences. Probiotics can be incorporated into the diet through fermented foods like yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, and tempeh or via probiotic supplements.

UTI Supplements

Companies like Uqora focus on developing natural supplements specifically for UTI prevention. Always consult a healthcare provider before starting such supplements.

Antibiotics

In recurrent or treatment-resistant UTIs, a small daily dose of oral antibiotics might be recommended by your doctor. These antibiotics help control harmful bacteria and prevent UTIs. However, prolonged use can lead to antibiotic resistance, which should be discussed with your healthcare provider.

Cranberry Consumption

Cranberries have traditionally been used as a home remedy for UTIs, thanks to their compounds called proanthocyanidins that may prevent E.coli from adhering to tissues in the urinary tract. However, scientific research shows mixed results, and while they are a low-risk remedy, it’s advisable to consume unsweetened, pure cranberry juice or fresh cranberries rather than sugary cranberry cocktails.

Conclusion

UTIs, while common, can be effectively managed and prevented with the right strategies. By adopting good hygiene practices, staying hydrated, being cautious with the use of scented products, and making informed choices about birth control, it’s possible to lower your risk of contracting a UTI. Remember, consultations with healthcare providers are crucial before making any significant changes to your lifestyle or diet. Stay informed, and stay healthy!