One in five women develop UTIs at some point in their lives, but there are many things you can do to prevent them.
Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are never fun to deal with. The symptoms include a burning sensation when you urinate, lower back pain, dizziness, nausea, vomiting and feeling like you need to urinate all the time, just to name a few. If you’ve never had a UTI, you never want to. They aren’t fun by any means. Unfortunately, some women are more prone to UTIs than others, but the good news is that there are steps that you can take to prevent future infections, regardless of what your risk level may be.
What causes UTIs?
Before we go into the steps you should take to prevent UTIs, it’s important to understand what causes them. There are two main ways that UTIs occur — bacteria in the bladder multiply or bacteria is pushed into the bladder. The vast majority of UTIs are caused by bacteria that is already living in the bladder, and one of the best ways to stave off UTIs is to flush that bacteria out.
What can you do to prevent UTIs?
- Drink plenty of fluids – When you drink plenty of water, it dilutes the urine, which makes it impossible for bacteria to grow and multiply. It also helps to keep things moving along in your urinary tract.
- Go to the bathroom when you need to – When you hold it, the urine that sits in your bladder is stagnate, which makes it the ideal environment for an infection to develop.
- Empty your bladder after intercourse – When you have sex, it can move the bacteria from your vagina into your bladder. Best practice — empty your bladder both before and after sex.
- Never douche – Douching involves shooting a stream of water (sometimes mixed with antiseptics) into the vagina to wash out bacteria that can lead to odors. In the process, both good and bad bacteria are washed out, which disrupts the balance that the vagina naturally needs in order to be healthy. The good bacteria in the vagina, specifically lactobacillus, play an essential role in killing off the bacteria that causes UTIs. Douching is advertised as a healthy and hygienic, but it’s actually unhealthy and can put you at a higher risk of developing UTIs.
- Wipe from the front to the back – The bacteria that gets into the urethra come from one of two places — the vagina or the rectum. Wiping front to back prevents bacteria in the rectum from entering the urethra.
- Do your homework about contraception – Some forms of contraception, including spermicides and diaphragms, can increase your risk of developing a UTI. Spermicides can actually introduce bacteria into the vagina, and it alters the pH level, which makes bacteria growth more likely. Diaphragms can also cause UTIs because they prevent you from being able to empty your bladder completely.
No one wants to deal with a UTI, but luckily, there are lots of ways to prevent them. Do you have questions or concerns about UTIs? Contact our OBGYN in Venice today!