When a urinary tract infection (UTI) strikes, it's hard to think about anything else. If you haven't experienced your own UTI, then consider yourself a very lucky lady. But if you've dealt with them in the past and you're still not sure why they happen, then it's time to educate yourself on the causes of these pesky infections and learn how to promote better practices for the future.
Use common sense: Practicing good hygiene may be your best defense against UTIs. After using the bathroom, always be sure to wipe front to back to avoid passing bacteria to places it shouldn't be.
Grab a smarter pair: Loose-fitting cotton underwear is not very sexy, but it does a much better job of keeping you clear of UTIs and other infections than tight nylon undies do.
Don't hold it: Holding a full bladder for too long may make you more prone to developing recurrent UTIs. When you wait too long to relieve yourself, it can cause the muscle to overstretch, which over time can actually weaken your bladder.
Postcoital bathroom break: Sex is one of the main culprits when it comes to developing a urinary tract infection. Everything is so close down there that bacteria slides around and gets into spots where it just shouldn't stay. Even though it can be tough, be sure to head to the bathroom once you're done getting busy.
Get clean before you get down: Some doctors recommend showering "between a bowel movement and sex; E. coli can spread easily to the bladder." A simple shower can save you from a UTI and all the annoyance and discomfort that comes with it.
Dealing with a UTI right now? Here's how to deal with it:
- Go to the doctor: For the quickest way to clear up a UTI, head to your doctor as soon as possible. A professional will be able to confirm that the issue at hand is, in fact, a UTI and will prescribe antibiotics to clear things up stat.
- Stay hydrated: Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! It's important to drink plenty of fluids to help flush any bacteria or germs out of the urethra. Staying hydrated will leave you feeling way more comfortable.
- Get relief: If the pain is really intense, don't be afraid to get some UTI-specific pain medication. There are plenty of over-the-counter products on the market that target the pain and really, really help out. Keep in mind that this will not cure a UTI — just deal with the pain. Don't let the infection go untreated; check in with your doctor.
- Drink cranberry juice: Although cranberry juice alone can't treat a UTI, if you feel early symptoms coming on, then it can be a huge help. Cranberry juice interferes with the E. coli bacteria that is responsible for the most serious types of UTIs.
Want more UTI defense? Learn about foods that may prevent UTIs here.