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What can you do to help prevent urinary tract infections?
Urinary tract infections (UTI’s) are the second most common reason for patients to visit the doctor, second only to respiratory tract infections such as the common cold. Unfortunately, the majority of cases of UTI occur in women.
What can you do to help prevent urinary tract infections? The National Institutes of Health recommends the following tips to reduce your risk of developing a UTI.
1. Drink plenty of water daily to help flush out the system. Nothing is better than water.
2. Don’t hold it when you need to urinate! Women often try to finish a task before they go to the bathroom. Holding it may allow the bacteria to progress into a full-fledged bladder infection. Try to urinate every 2-3 hours during the day.
3. You’ve probably heard that you should wipe from front to back after a bowel movement. This is especially important to help prevent bacteria from getting into the urethra.
4. Taking showers instead of baths helps prevent bacteria from entering the urethra and causing a UTI.
5. Always wash your genital area both before and after sexual intercourse to help prevent transferring bacteria into the urethra. Urinate after sexual activity.
6. Feminine hygiene sprays and douches, particularly scented douches, can irritate the urethra and possibly lead to a UTI.
7. Drinking cranberry juice is a fairly well-known and natural way to both help prevent urinary tract infections, as well as help speed the recovery process when a UTI develops.
8. Another nutritional way to prevent UTI is to take vitamin C supplements. Vitamin C, or ascorbic acid, increases the acidity level of urine and discourages the growth of some bacteria.
9. Women who suffer from extremely frequent urinary tract infections may be prescribed an antibiotic to take immediately after sex to help prevent the likelihood of urinary tract infection occurrence.
New research suggests that a woman’s blood type may play a role in her risk of recurrent UTIs. Bacteria may be able to attach to cells in the urinary tract more easily in those with certain blood factors. Other studies show women and children who tend to get UTI’s may lack proteins called immunoglobulins, which fight infection. A vaccine may help patients build up their own natural infection-fighting powers. Researchers are testing injected and oral vaccines to see which works best.
Ask your doctor if you should see a Urologist to help prevent and treat urinary tract infections.