One in five women will have a urinary tract infection at some point during her lifetime, and nearly 20 percent of women will have more than one. Some women experience recurrent UTIs. Even if you’ve only experienced one, it’s worthwhile to learn simple steps you can take to reduce the risk of getting UTIs. Read on to learn what you could unknowingly be doing to contribute to an increased risk of developing a UTI and how you can prevent them in the future.
Dr. Daniel Kushner is dedicated to providing the highest quality of gynecological and obstetric care. He routinely treats UTIs and counsels patients on how to prevent them from recurring. A UTI occurs when bacteria get into the urinary tract and multiply. Typically, most UTIs remain in the bladder. However, if left untreated, the bacteria can travel to other areas, such as the kidneys and cause a more serious infection.
In about 90% of UTIs, a bacterium called E. coli is responsible for infection. E. coli is normally present in your intestines and is usually harmless. However, if it gets into the urinary tract, it can cause an infection. Some UTIs are caused by less common types of bacteria, such as Pseudomonas.
Some people have no symptoms when they have a UTI. If you have symptoms, you may notice:
If the bacteria travel to the kidneys, you may experience
Call your provider immediately if you experience any of these symptoms. Although UTIs can be treated effectively with antibiotic medication, it’s wise to learn how to prevent them. Here are our tips for reducing your risk of UTIs
It’s important to remember to always wipe from front to back. This helps prevent the bacteria from your bottom from getting into your urethra where it can multiply and cause a UTI. Keep in mind that E. coli is commonly found in your stool.
Regularly “holding it” when you need to urinate can increase the risk of developing a UTI. Holding urine in your bladder when it becomes full gives bacteria the opportunity to hang around and multiply. When you feel the urge to urinate, make it a habit to visit the bathroom and fully empty your bladder.
Bacteria thrive in a moist, warm environment. Wear breathable cotton underwear to keep your crotch dry. It’s also necessary to avoid wearing tight pants and change out of wet bottoms right away. This will help discourage bacteria from growing.
Increasing your fluid intake helps to flush out bacteria before it gets the chance to multiply and grow. For women who get recurrent UTIs, studies show that increasing fluid intake reduces the risk of repeat infections. Adding an additional 1.5 liters to your current fluid intake can help keep UTIs at bay.
Urinating before and immediately after sexual activity helps flush bacteria from the urinary tract. During sexual activity, bacteria may sneak into your urethra and can quickly become a problem. It’s also helpful to cleanse your genitals prior to and after sexual activity. Warm water and mild soap are enough to get the job done.
Bathing may seem like a soothing way to unwind. However, if you’re prone to recurrent UTIs, it’s best to avoid bathing and take showers instead. Bathing can throw off the pH balance of the vagina, and bath water can easily become contaminated with bacteria and increase the chances of getting a UTI.
These tips can go a long way in keeping UTIs at bay.
You don’t have to live with the discomfort of recurrent UTIs. Making some practical lifestyle changes can lower your chances of developing a UTI. In some cases, you may suffer from frequent UTIs despite making the recommended changes. If this happens, your provider can rule out other health conditions.
For gynecological and obstetric care throughout all life phases call our White Plains, or New York, New York office to schedule an appointment with Dr. Kushner or book online at your convenience.