A urinary infection occurs when bacteria infect your kidneys, bladder, ureters or urethra. While anyone can contract a urinary infection, a woman’s anatomy makes her more susceptible to this type of infection. Symptoms of a urinary tract infection include pain or burning while urinating, a frequent need to urinate, and urine that is cloudy or has a strong odor. Since urinary tract infections are aggravating and uncomfortable, it is important to know what steps you can take in order to prevent them. Read on for 11 simple tips that can help you keep a urinary tract infection at bay.
11. Drink Plenty of Water
One of the best ways to prevent painful urinary tract infections is to drink plenty of water. Keeping yourself well hydrated leads to frequent urination. This flushes water through your kidneys and prevents urine from lingering in the bladder, where bacteria can flourish. Flushing bacteria from your system prevents an infection from taking hold. There are differing opinions on how much water is best to drink each day. In general, you should aim for eight 8-ounce glasses of water each day. Keep a refillable water bottle on hand to sip from throughout the day.
10. Avoid Caffeine and Alcohol
If you are a frequent victim of urinary tract infections, you may want to avoid drinking alcoholic beverages and caffeine. In addition to being dehydrating, alcohol and caffeine are both known to irritate the lining of the bladder. This can make the bladder more susceptible to infection if bacteria are introduced. In addition, this irritation can worsen the pain of an infection if it occurs. Stick to drinking water and other beverages that will pamper your bladder rather than irritating it.
9. Drink Green Tea
While caffeine is irritating to the bladder, drinking decaffeinated tea may be beneficial when suffering from or trying to prevent a urinary tract infection. Green tea is loaded with antioxidants that can help prevent infection and reduce inflammation. Studies show that green tea may also have antibacterial effects against the microbes that cause urinary tract infections. Replace your morning cup of coffee with a steaming cup of decaffeinated green tea and you may see a reduction in urinary tract infections.
8. Get Plenty of Vitamin C
Vitamin C is an important antioxidant that prevents infection and inflammation. Vitamin C also helps make your urine more acidic and less hospitable to bacteria. Consume fruits and vegetables high in this vitamin on a daily basis. Oranges are commonly the go-to fruit when looking for a food dose of vitamin C. However, broccoli, papaya, bell peppers, and strawberries are also packed with vitamin C. Consuming plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables will protect your urinary tract health as well as your whole-body health.
7. Enjoy Cranberry Juice
Cranberry juice is another beverage that may provide relief from a urinary tract infection. Research has not provided a definitive answer on whether cranberry juice truly prevents or diminishes urinary tract infections. However, there is anecdotal evidence from some patients and studies that suggests that the acidic nature of cranberry juice can provide relief. Additionally, the vitamin C and antioxidants in cranberry juice may help fight inflammation and ward off an infection. If you are suffering from a urinary tract infection, cranberry juice may be a delicious way to help clear up the infection.
6. Use Good Hygiene
Good bathroom hygiene is also important for preventing urinary tract infections. After using the restroom, always wipe from front to back to prevent spreading bacteria from the anus to the urethra. Don’t delay when you sense the need to urinate, as this can irritate the bladder. Additionally, holding urine for an extended period of time can allow bacteria to grow. Change sanitary pads often to keep the area fresh. If you are prone to frequent urinary tract infections, wearing cotton underwear instead of silk or satin may help wick moisture away from the urethra and prevent infection.
5. Avoid Harsh Chemicals
To prevent urinary tract infections, avoid the use of douches and feminine deodorants. The human body is designed to cleanse these areas without the assistance of chemicals or sprays. These products act as irritants to the area and can introduce infection. Simply cleanse the area with a mild soap and warm water. If you experience vaginal dryness, use a water-based vaginal lubricant that will be non-irritating to the area.
4. Change Out of Wet Clothing
Moisture can harbor bacteria and foster microbial growth. Wearing wet undergarments can create a warm, moist environment that can introduce bacteria to the urethra and cause a urinary tract infection. Additionally, wearing wet fabrics against the skin can be irritating and contribute to the pain and discomfort associated with an infection. Remove wet clothing such as swimsuits promptly to avoid developing or contributing to a urinary tract infection.
3. Urinate Before and After Intercourse
Urinating before and after intercourse will flush away harmful bacteria before they can enter the urethra and cause an infection. Additionally, cleansing the genitals with a mild soap and warm water will prevent the introduction of bacteria to the urinary tract. Studies show that applying an estrogen cream before intercourse can help prevent urinary tract infections in postmenopausal women. This may be due to low estrogen levels allowing bacteria to grow more freely.
2. Shower Instead of Bathing
Taking a bath can contribute to the risk of urinary tract infection since bacteria thrive in warm, wet environments. Additionally, spending time in a tub containing products such as bath oils, soap bubbles, or bath salts can be irritating to the urethra. This makes it susceptible to infection. Choose showers instead of baths to prevent irritation and infection.
1. Wear Loose-Fitting Clothing
Tight-fitting undergarments can cause friction that irritates the urethra, leading to urinary tract infection when bacteria are present. Pants that fit too tightly and cause increased warmth and sweating can foster the growth of bacteria and allow bacteria to enter the urethra. Additionally, tight undergarments or pants can place pressure on the bladder, increasing the discomfort experienced while suffering from a urinary tract infection. If you suffer from frequent urinary tract infections, wearing comfortable, loose-fitting, cotton pants can help prevent the spread of bacteria and prevent an infection.