Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are bacterial infections that develop in your urinary tract — somewhere in your urethra, bladder, ureters, or kidneys. UTIs are pretty common, but they can be very painful.
Anyone can get a UTI, but women are more likely than men to suffer recurring UTIs. In fact, most women will experience at least one during their lives. Anatomy, sexual activity, and menopause all influence your chances of getting a UTI.
The most common symptoms are pelvic or bladder pain, accompanied by a persistent urge to urinate. UTIs are often impossible to ignore, but the good news is that treatment is very effective and generally eliminates symptoms in just a few days.
At Advanced Urology, with offices in Los Angeles, Culver City, and Redondo Beach, California, our team specializes in diagnosing, treating, and even preventing UTIs. Increase your chances of staying healthy and avoiding a bothersome UTI with these tips.
Drink plenty of water
Staying hydrated is important for overall health, and it also helps prevent UTIs from developing. You urinate regularly when you’re fully hydrated, and urinating flushes potentially harmful bacteria from your bladder and urethra.
Most people should aim to drink 6-8 glasses of water a day, but your needs vary based on your body type and activity level. When thirsty, be sure to choose water whenever possible. Sugar-free sparkling water and decaffeinated tea are healthy options, and cranberry juice contains compounds that may help prevent UTIs.
Visit the restroom regularly
Urinating washes bacteria from your urinary tract. Relieve yourself whenever you feel the urge, or about every 3-4 hours. Holding in urine may contribute to bacterial overgrowth in your bladder and urethra, leading to an increased risk of developing a UTI.
After using the toilet, wipe from front to back. Bacteria that cause UTIs are often found near the anus, so starting at the front helps keep harmful bacteria from reaching your urethra and urinary tract.
Clean up before and after sex
Sexual intercourse increases and spreads bacteria around your urethra, and it can enter your urinary tract and cause a UTI. Washing your genitals with gentle soap and water helps decrease bacteria before having sex. Washing up and urinating after having sex helps remove excess bacteria around your urethra.
The type of birth control you use may contribute to UTIs as well. Diaphragms and spermicidal products disrupt the bacteria in your vagina, and they may lead to an increased risk of UTIs. Try water-based lubricant and lubricated condoms to see if you notice changes.
Some people suffer from chronic UTIs, despite implementing lifestyle changes to reduce their risk. If you’ve tried our tips but you still get UTIs and bladder pain, talk to our specialists.
We may recommend taking a low-dose antibiotic daily for several months to treat chronic UTIs. Other options include at-home urine tests if you think you might have a UTI, and antibiotics taken after sexual intercourse to lower your risk of infection.
You don’t have to put up with chronic UTI pain. Schedule a consultation at Advanced Urology to find treatment that works. Call the office nearest you or request an appointment online.