Ugh. The burning sensation, the urge to run to the bathroom, even if you've just gone. If uncomfortable, frequent and even painful urination sounds all too familiar, these clever urinary tract infection (UTI) prevention tips might be just what you need to feel confident and more in control of your well-being.
Is it a UTI? Before you diagnose or try UTI prevention tips, it's a good idea to check with your doctor. There are other conditions that share some of the same symptoms as UTIs. Good care of your health means proper diagnosis and care by a qualified and trusted physician.
Prevention tips fall under several categories. Use any or all of these ideas in combination to avoid getting a UTI in the first place. Once your doctor has checked you out and says it's okay, the following lifestyle changes as suggested by MedlinePlus, a service of the U.S. National Library of medicine at the National Institutes of Health, may help keep troublesome UTIs at bay.
- Water. Drinking 8 to 10 glasses of water each day keeps urine diluted, and urinating often washes bacteria out and away from the urinary tract.
- Cranberry juice. As long as your or your family history is clear of kidney stones, this fruit juice's acidity is thought to be helpful in preventing UTIs.
- Avoidance. Stay clear of bladder irritants. Alcohol and caffeine fall into this category.
- Stay loose! Clothing shouldn't be restrictive or tight. Too tight-fitting pants have been linked to increased irritation that may lead to UTIs.
- Natural fibers only. Underwear and pants should ideally be made of cotton or other breathable fabric and should be changed at least once a day.
- Switch to sanitary pads. Doctors think the use of tampons increases the likelihood of UTIs.
- Don't douche. The vagina is self-cleaning. Douches upset the natural balance of things and may cause UTIs to happen more often.
- Shower rather than bathe. A bath is cozy, but the likelihood of UTI is higher in those that take baths than in those that prefer to shower. You should also avoid perfumey soaps and oils.
- Wipe from front to back after going to the bathroom. It keeps the problematic germs out of the urinary tract in the first place.
- Urinate before and after sexual activity. This helps to clear away unwanted bacteria from the urinary tract.
- Practice good hygiene. Cleanliness is key in prevention of UTIs.