Urinary tract infections are the most common type of bacterial infection diagnosed today with more than half of the women experiencing at least one issue of UTI during their lifetime. But there are plenty of ways one can help to prevent UTIs from developing in the first place.
Proven methods to reduce urinary tract infections
Some things which have proven to be effective includes:
- Urinate after intercourse: Vaginal intercourse can make the bacteria develop from the genital area and anus into the bladder. Urinating afterward the sex can flush your system and reduce the risk that those bacteria will multiply and will cause urinary tract infections.
- Urinate more: You should empty your bladder every two to three hours which will flush out the bacteria from the urinary tract before the infection has the chance to begin. Do not hold your urine to the point if your bladder is full. Longer the urine remains in the bladder, the more likely the bacteria will grow.
- Drink water throughout the day: Consuming the fluids, mainly water will help to dilute the urine and there would be more urination, which flushes out the bacteria from the urinary tract. By increasing the water intake, you can half the chance of having a recurrent UTI. According to a study in 2017, women who drank less than 1 liters of water daily had recurrent urinary tract infections. If you will up the intake of water then urinary tract infections will get reduced by half.
- Clean the genital area: This can reduce the presence of the bacteria, by eliminating the chances of pulling bacteria into urethra and into the bladder during the intercourse. In addition to this keep the area clean regularly, make sure to clean the area pre and post intercourse. (Also Read: 5 blazing facts about UTI every woman needs to know)
- Use a lubricant: Friction during intercourse can irritate the urethra which introduces bacteria that cause urinary tract infections. Using a small amount of lubricant during sex can help to reduce the friction and risk of infection.
- Avoid the products which irritate the urethra: Feminine deodorant sprays, bubble bath liquids, bath oils can be the reason for irritation in urethra and vagina which increase the odds of infection.
- Avoid spermicides: If you are prone to recurrent UTIs, consider changing your birth control. Spermicides containing types of contraception can contribute to bacterial growth and it kills the good bacteria which is present in the genital area that works to protects from UTIs.
- Engage in physical activity: When engaging in exercise, make sure to empty the bladder frequently and drink plenty of water and other liquids also. You should also take precautions after the sexual activity, such activity can increase the risk because it will introduce the bacteria into the bladder area. The bladder should be emptied after the intercourse, drink 2 glasses of water. Some of the patients are advised by their doctor to take the urinary antiseptic after the sexual activity. Make sure to take the medication according to your doctor’s recommendation. Avoid the use of sperm jelly. This will kill the sperm as well as the normal vaginal florae which is extremely important in suppressing the colonization with the bacteria.
- Hygiene: Wipe from front to back. Always wipe from the front to the back after using the bathroom. Do not try to reach from the behind because of the germs from the rectum can be transferred to the hand and tissue. After the bowel movements, clean the area which is around the anus gently, wiping from front to back. Never wipe with the same tissue twice. Any wiping motion that starts near to the rectum and then approaches the bladder-opening area moves pathogenic bacteria closer to the bladder. (Also Read: Prevent UTI – Symptoms and Causes)
- Take showers and avoid prolonged baths: Sitting in the tub allows the bacteria to reach the bladder opening area. You should use tampons for periods. Tampons are advised during the menstrual period rather than the sanitary napkins because they keep the bladder opening area drier than a sanitary pad, thereby limiting the growth of the bacteria. An extremely effective technique is also by avoiding long intervals between urinating. Try to empty the bladder at least four hours during the day while awake, even if there is a need to urge to void is absent. When feeling the need to empty the bladder, don’t try to hold it until a more convenient time or place.
Preventing UTIs with drugs
Antibiotics are used as a preventative measure for those with frequent UTI recurrences. Postmenopausal women can benefit from a different type of medicinal prevention strategy.
- Postcoital prophylaxis: For those whose UTI recurrences are because of the sexual intercourse, taking antibiotics after the intercourse may be preferable. Depending on the frequency of the intercourse, postcoital prophylaxis is likely to result in less antibiotic use than antimicrobial prophylaxis.
- Estrogen: The use of vaginal estrogen cream is an effective strategy for reducing the recurrent urinary tract infections in postmenopausal women. In fact, vaginal estrogen has been shown to reduce the recurrent UTIs by 36 to 75 percent.
- Antimicrobial prophylaxis: In some of the cases in urinary tract infection recurrences, a physician may recommend antimicrobial prophylaxis, which is the use of antibiotics to prevent another infection. This is known to reduce the risk of recurrent UTIs in women with two infections over the previous year.
So, these were the best steps to reduce the risk of urinary tract infections. If you are suffering from these infections for a long time, then it’s best to visit the doctor as soon as it’s possible. Before consulting these methods you should consult your doctor first.
Also read: Home Remedies for UTI treatment