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Urinary Tract Health

UTI Prevention in Women

(Good Habits & Tips*)

Bladder infections occur when microbes, mainly bacteria, get through the urethra into the bladder. Nearly all urinary tract infections are caused by a few strains of E. coli bacteria, called uropathogenic Escherichia coli (UPEC). It’s said that some women are more prone to them than others because they – for some reason – don’t expel bacteria well enough from the urinary tract.

Although some doctors say that there’s no good way to prevent infections – they do occur, here are some simple tips and good habits you can incorporate to reduce your risk of UTIs.

Drink plenty of water

Drinking enough water, preferably purified and room-temperature, keeps the bladder empty and free of bacteria. However, there are three general rules of thumb to follow; therefore, you should drink:

  • twice as much as it takes to quench your thirst,
  • frequently throughout the day,
  • one cup for every 20 pounds of your body weight, or at least 8 eight-ounce glasses daily.

Practice good personal hygiene

Keep the genital area clean. Less than careful hygiene, especially after developing loose stools or diarrhea, is one of the most frequent causes of recurrent bladder infections. Although some doctors argue that hygiene is hardly the issue with UTIs. Some women have bacteria in their urine, but it does not necessarily means that they have an infection.

Wipe from front to back

By doing so after you go to the bathroom, it helps prevent bacteria around the anus from entering the vagina or urethra. It is very easy to contaminate your fingers when wiping yourself with toilet paper. And if those contaminated fingers come anywhere close to the opening of the urethra, there is a high likelihood of infection, especially you are predisposed to infections.

Urinate when you feel the need

Do not resist the urge to urinate, especially if you have a history of frequent UTIs. Holding in pee for too long can cause bacteria to multiply. If you do not drink enough liquids the bladder is not telling the body to pee often enough. This can cause bacteria to spread through the urinary tract, leading to infection.

Take showers instead of tub baths

While water comes from above from the shower head and drains into the drain, so there is a continuous flow of water. Avoid prolonged baths as sitting in a tub allows bacteria to reach the bladder opening area.

Use unbleached toilet paper

Use only white unscented and, preferably, unbleached toilet paper that is thick and doesn’t shed particles.. You may react to the dyes and chemicals in the other toilet papers. By using unbleached paper, you’ll reduce any possible chlorine exposure and the environmental contamination that comes from the bleaching process.

Avoid wet or tight clothing

Wear loose pants. Clothes that are too tight can increase the spread of bacteria.

Do not wear a wet bathing suit for a long time

While you likely won’t get an infection from a wet bathing suit, you are more likely to be affected by prolonged wear of a damp swimsuit.

Avoid nylon underwear

Nylon and Spandex clothing promote moistness and irritation of the meatus (urethral opening). Wear cotton underwear instead, as it is less irritating and provides more ventilation than nylon.

Use pantyhose with cotton crotches

The synthetic material in pantyhose retains warmth and moisture, which allows bacteria to thrive. Also, if you don’t wash your hosiery regularly, you could be more prone to UTIs

Avoid fragrances and chemicals

Feminine hygiene sprays, bubble baths, strong soaps and douches may irritate the urethra. Skip then deodorant sprays, scented powders, and other feminine products with fragrances or chemicals. Also, keep your soap bars in a tray with perforations in the base. It prevents bacteria from accumulating on them.

Cleanse the genital area before sexual intercourse

Slash the vulva, hands and/or dildo with soap and water prior to vaginal penetration. This will reduce the risk of introducing bowel bacteria into the vagina and urethra. If condoms are used during anal contact, make sure condoms are changed.

Always pee (void) after you have sex

It is especially important, because the urethra is closer to the anus. So, if possible, urinate after sexual intercourse within ten minutes. If not, drink 10-12 ounces of water immediately after. It will cause you to urinate later and help flush the bacteria out.

Change sexual positions

Choose the position that causes less friction on the urethra.

Lubricate adequately during sexual intercourse

It will decrease urethral irritation.

Avoid sex with a UTI

You can have sex with a UTI, but it will most likely cause more pain and complications. Besides, penetration from sex tends to push bacteria further into your urethra, which can re-infect you or introduce a new source of bacteria.

The bottom line: Some women have already incorporated these practices. Still, they are prone to UTIs, no matter what they do. If you belong to this category, in addition to healthy habits, you should consider taking specialty dietary supplements.

*Based on various sources.

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