Around 50-60% of women will develop a urinary tract infection within their lifetime. Women are far more prone to developing one because of their anatomy. Bacteria cause infection in any part of the urinary tract, including the ureters, kidneys, bladder, or urethra.
UTIs are bothersome, uncomfortable, and annoying. Symptoms include a strong and persistent urge to urinate, burning while urinating, and cloudy, odorous, and pinkish or cola-colored urine.
If not treated, a UTI can spread to your kidneys and cause significant complications. At St. Michael’s Elite Hospital in Sugar Land, Texas, we often treat women with symptoms of UTIs. Antibiotics usually clear up the infection. If you’re recovering from a UTI, here’s how to avoid having another in the future.
Drinking plenty of fluids, especially water, helps you urinate more often. That ensures bacteria flush from your urinary tract before they can multiply.
Research is mixed on whether pure cranberry juice helps discourage UTIs. Cranberries contain proanthocyanidins — compounds that discourage bacteria from settling into the urinary tract. Cranberry juice contains sugar, so keep that in mind when adding it to your diet.
While lace and silk are sexy, they don’t offer breathability. Cotton underwear allows for airflow and keeps your privates dry and ventilated.
Tight jeans and leggings can set you up for a UTI, especially if you wear them after a good sweat. The same goes for a moist swimsuit. Bacteria thrive in a moist and warm environment. Therefore, breathable and dry clothes are a smart idea. Always change after working out and swimming.
When you use toilet paper, always wipe from the front to the back to prevent transferring bacteria from your anus to the vagina and urethra. Use this pattern whether you’ve had a bowel movement or urination.
That helps remove any bacteria and prevents infection. You also benefit from drinking a glass of water immediately to dilute your urine and prompt the need to go.
Using feminine products like sprays, powders, and douches can irritate your urethra and lead to a urinary tract infection. Your genitals are self-cleaning and don’t need help from drugstore products. Wash gently with warm water and mild soap if needed.
Unlubricated condoms, diaphragms, and spermicide-treated condoms contribute to bacterial growth. An IUD (intrauterine device), the pill, Depo Provera injections, and other forms of birth control are less likely to contribute to UTIs. Talk to us about which type is best for your needs.
After menopause, your vaginal pH level may change, making you more likely to experience recurrent UTIs. If you’re post-menopausal and have frequent UTIs, talk to us about vaginal estrogen as a way to restore your natural pH levels.
If you have symptoms of a UTI, contact our hospital to schedule an appointment right away. Hopefully, however, these tips help you avoid these uncomfortable infections in the future.