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Tips to Prevent a UTI

Tips to Prevent a UTI

If you’ve suffered from the unpleasant symptoms of a urinary tract infection (UTI), you’re in good company. The Urology Care Foundation estimates that this uncomfortable infection accounts for over 8.1 million visits to the doctor each year.

Board-certified OB/GYN Daniel Kushner, MD, specializes in treating UTIs as part of the comprehensive gynecological care offered at his private practices in White Plains and Queens, New York. The team also knows that prevention can be the most effective treatment for UTIs. Here are Dr. Kushner’s top tips for preventing a UTI.

All about UTIs

urinary tract infection, more commonly known as a UTI, is caused by an infection in any part of your urinary system. Sometimes UTIs are called bladder infections, but they may occur in your kidneys, ureters, and urethra, too. 

About 60% of women will have a UTI at least once in their lifetime and are at a much higher risk for developing UTIs than men. Many women may even experience multiple or recurring infections. Symptoms of UTIs include:

UTIs are treatable, and it’s important to get care sooner rather than later. UTIs that go without treatment can cause complications like kidney infections or other damage to your kidneys.

5 UTI prevention tips

The bacteria E. coli causes about 90% of all UTIs. Though this bacteria naturally occurs in your body, living in your intestinal tract, it causes infection when it comes in contact with your urinary system. 

Fortunately, simple changes in lifestyle and hygiene practices can prevent many UTIs before they occur. Here are five of the best ways to prevent UTIs. 

1. Stay hydrated

Staying hydrated is the best way to avoid UTIs. Drinking lots of water flushes bacteria out of your bladder and urinary tract before it can cause an infection. Urinating more frequently reduces your chance of infection as well. 

In addition to drinking lots of water, have a glass of low or no-sugar cranberry juice every day. A natural compound that occurs in cranberries helps prevent the bacteria that cause UTIs from sticking to your urinary tract. Eating cranberries provides the same benefits.

2. Don’t hold your urine

If you have to use the bathroom, don’t hold it in! Holding your urine for extended periods allows bacteria in your urinary tract to build up. Urinate when you need to go to ensure that UTI-causing bacteria don’t take root in your bladder.

3. Wipe front to back

For most women, UTIs occur when bacteria from the rectum enter the urethra and to travel to the bladder. Because female urinary tracts are in close proximity to the rectum, women have a higher risk of developing UTIs. 

Avoid contaminating your urinary tract by wiping front to back after using the toilet. Always use a new piece of toilet paper to wipe your rectum. 

4. Wash up before and after sex

Washing your genitals before and after sex helps prevent unwanted bacteria from entering your system. Make sure to use mild soap and warm water. Avoid scented soaps and douches as they can cause irritation. 

5. Urinate after sex

A simple way to avoid an unpleasant UTI is visiting the bathroom after sex. Urinating flushes out any bacteria that may have entered the urethra. Go as soon as possible, and try not to hold your bladder after sexual intercourse. 

If you’re worried you have a UTI, Dr. Kushner can accurately diagnose and treat your infection to alleviate your discomfort and pain. Contact us at the office closest to you, or request an appointment online now.

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