9 Ways Women Can Prevent Urinary Tract Infections
Somewhere around 40% to 50% of women will have a urinary tract infection in their lifetime. And for many of those women – they will have more than one. The truth is UTIs are not big champions of gender equality.
They attack women far more frequently than men.
And the reason boils down to the urethra, that small tube that leads the urine from the bladder into the toilet. Women have much smaller urethras, making it easy for bacteria to enter and infect the bladder.
That’s the bad news. But there is good news! There are 9 easy steps you can take to greatly reduce your chances of getting a UTI.
Now, for some women, UTIs come from a more “complicated” cause – maybe kidney stones, diabetes, or a congenital defect. But for the majority, making some lifestyle changes can just about solve the problem.
1. Visit The Bathroom After Sex
Sex won’t give you a UTI in the same way sex would give you a sexually transmitted infection. UTIs are not contagious like that.
However, sex can still leave you with a UTI. How does that work?
We all have lots of bacteria on our skin. And your genital region is especially susceptible to having E. coli nearby due to the proximity to your anus. When both you and your partner and moving against each other during sex the bacteria on each of your bodies may get “pushed” into your urethra.
The easiest way to get rid of that bacteria before it enters the bladder and causes an infection is simply to use the bathroom. Your urine can flush it out before it’s even a problem.
2. Visit The Bathroom Whenever You Have To
On a similar note, visiting the bathroom in general is a great way to avoid a UTI. The rule should be: go as soon as you feel the urge. Don’t wait until it has become unbearable.
When you hold it in you allow any bacteria that is hanging out in your bladder or urethra to sit there. The more it sits there, the higher chance of developing an infection. The body gave you a great tool for flushing out the bad bacteria (urine), so use it!
I know that you are busy; I am busy too. Life is busy for all of us. And sometimes we can put off going to the bathroom. But let’s be realistic – it takes 3 minutes tops.
If you are in a profession where you cannot leave for a certain period of time (like a teacher in a room full of young students), be extremely intentional about using the bathroom every time the opportunity does arise – even if you don’t think you have to do. Same concept is true for long road trips.
3. Get Your H2O
In order to need to use the bathroom, you have to drink enough water.
Drinking plenty of water is a necessary health booster in general. And it helps dilute your urine – which could aid in avoiding a UTI. But the most important factor here is making sure you create enough urine so you can visit the bathroom frequently.
Remember that coffee and sodas will only dehydrate you. This means you are left with less urine to flush out any UTI-causing bacteria. So if you do enjoy a caffeinated beverage, drink an extra glass of water.
4. Pay Attention to Birth Control
Birth control is extremely important for every sexual encounter. But you are going to have to be very conscious of the types of birth control you use if you want to keep UTIs away. All three of these birth control methods can lead to an overgrowth in bacteria and a UTI:
- Spermicide-coated condoms
One easy choice is simply buying lubricated, non-spermicide condoms. You get all the protection and comfort minus in the increased risk of developing a UTI. Talk to your doctor about any other options.
5. Ditch Your Scented Feminine Products
You do not want any sort of irritating feminine products in your bathroom. That irritation can lead to all sorts of issues like yeast infections and UTIs.
Never use sprays or powders. And never douche. There is absolutely no medical reason to use a douche. Vaginas are self-cleaning. When you douche, you set yourself up for too much harmful bacteria in the vagina. And then you have the potential for bacteria spreading up to your urethra.
The best way to clean your vagina is to not clean your vagina. Though you can (and should!) use warm water to rinse the outer vulva area, nothing ever needs to go up in the vagina for cleaning purposes without the specific directions of a doctor.
6. Wipe Properly
It couldn’t be any simpler: just wipe from front to back.
This tip has everything to do with the placement of your anatomy. The vagina and the anus are both under the urethra. If you wipe them from front to back, you avoid bringing any of the bacteria up into the urethra.
While you’re at it, avoid any scented toilet papers. They could potentially cause irritation or inflammation.
7. Say No To The Pads
Though there is absolutely nothing inherently unsanitary about your period, sitting around in a moist pad can lead to too much bacteria.
You can avoid this by choosing tampons or menstrual cups over a pad. This allows you to keep all the moisture inside the vagina and not sitting alongside the opening of your urethra.
If there is some medical condition that prevents you from using a tampon or a pad, make sure you are changing your pad every single time you use the bathroom.
8. Keep It Breezy
Just like switching to tampons or cups from pads can help you avoid too much bacteria, you are going to want to keep the area as dry as possible.
- If you are done swimming, change into dry clothes
- Choose looser pants or skirts over skin-tight pants that can lead to more sweating
- Wear cotton underwear, or other breathable fabrics
- Take a shower instead of a bath
9. Take The Right Supplements
If you have never had a UTI before, all these tips should be enough to keep most people free from infection. But then there are the women who deal with one after another after another, which often means you are on one round of antibiotics after another. But there is another option for you.
There are some fabulous all-natural supplements that have been shown to fight off the bacteria like E. coli that are responsible for your UTI. The top two are:
Preventing Your UTI
Now that you have the top 9 tips for preventing UTIs in women, you can make the changes you need to make right away. If you follow all these tips religiously and still find yourself contracting UTIs, it’s time to talk to your doctor. They can perform a thorough examination to see if there are any issues leading to recurrent bladder infections.
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