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How to Prevent a Urinary Tract Infection

5 Ways to Prevent a UTI

Women are more prone to bladder infections than men, and one in five will get one in her lifetime. Bladder infections, also known as urinary tract infections (UTI), account for 10 million doctor visits every year, most of which could be avoided if you knew how to prevent this problem. When bacteria makes its way into the urethra, the tube that carries urine from your bladder to the outside of your body, you can end up with a UTI and symptoms that include cloudy or bloody urine, a frequent or urgent need to use the bathroom, pain or burning during urination, and pressure in the lower pelvis. Obviously, this is something you would like to avoid, so here are five ways to prevent a UTI:

  1. Drink cranberry juice. It interferes with the bacteria E. coli that is responsible for the most serious types of UTIs. The berry and its juice contain tannins, which fight the infections on the front lines by creating barriers that prevent E. coli from getting close to the urinary tract lining.
  2. Stay hydrated. Dehydration can make you more susceptible to getting a bladder infection, especially if you're prone to them. It's important to drink plenty of fluids to help flush any bacteria or germs out of the urethra.
  3. Wipe correctly, from front to back. You want to prevent the spread of intestinal bacteria from the rectum to the urinary tract.
  4. Urinate immediately after sex to flush out bacteria.
  5. Avoid douching and scented feminine products such as pads, deodorant sprays, and powders. They can irritate the urethra.


Join The Conversation
golfbecca golfbecca 6 years
Cranberry has never, ever worked for me. I do all the other prevention techniques, and the supplement that has totally changed my life is called D-Mannose. It is more appetizing to bad bacteria in your bladder than human flesh, and clings to it and flushes it out when you urinate (cranberry makes an "unfriendly" environment for bacteria, but can be weak against chronic bacteria strains). I can go on forever about how amazing it has been for me. I take it every day now. Honestly, try D-Mannose if you're having persistent UTI's.
ayaka ayaka 8 years
Oddly enough #2 is what started it off for me - and i still get regular UTIs if it is somehow a super hot day and i haven't had enough water to drink. #4 is also very true. It might be unromantic but i have to jump up immediately after and try to pee even if it's a little bit. Also allergy to latex (condoms) or lube can cause uti-esque symptoms.
sparklestar sparklestar 8 years
Number 4 is the important one for me. I always hop up and pee straight away !
kscincotta kscincotta 8 years
In the "berry" quiz the other day, you mentioned that blueberries were just as effective as cranberries. True? Also, whole blueberries or juices?
bisou002 bisou002 8 years
Yeah, I agree that number 4 was the one that got me. I didn't know about that and ended up having a UTI in college. Not fun but boy did I learn something from it.
Spectra Spectra 8 years
I do all of those things and I've never had a UTI. Good hygiene is really important to keeping them at bay: wipe front to back and don't stay in moist undies/swimsuits for any length of time. Also, be sure you're getting plenty of probiotics so your normal vaginal flora is healthy. The "good" flora that live down there help crowd out coliforms/E. coli and other UTI-causing bacteria so they can't grow properly. Good article, but just one thing: E. coli doesn't necessarily cause the most serious UTIs; it's just the most common one. Pseudomonas spp. and certain other coliforms can cause some pretty icky infections as well; they just aren't found in that area that often.
nutrihuney nutrihuney 8 years
#4 was the one that really helped me out. Who would have thought
tlsgirl tlsgirl 8 years
Soniabonya - I got mine at the regular drugstore, CVS I think. The goal is just to find one that's at least 500 mg. There's also a product called Crandophilus at Whole Foods that gives you acidophilus and cranberry in one, but it's a bit expensive for my tastes.
Soniabonya Soniabonya 8 years
I agree with all. After having several UTI episodes, the first actually was a severe kidney infection, I have taken the precautions to keep myself from getting back there. tlsgirl-good idea with taking the extract. i think i should too. Drinking the juice gets tiresome. Can I find the extract in any vitamin section of a store or do I need to go to a specialty store?
Asche Asche 8 years
I have never heard a doctor say that "irrigation" is helpful to the female body (I hate the word douche...except when using it in ref. to a person, of course!). It still boggles my mind that those products are even still available!
tlsgirl tlsgirl 8 years
I've been taking 500 mg of cranberry extract per day and it's really helped, from someone who used to get them all the time, like at least once a month.
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