Doing so means you’ll have to use the restroom more often and therefore flush out your bladder periodically. “Fluid helps move things through the urinary tract, but it also dilutes the urine so bacteria can’t grow,” says Kimberly Cooper, MD, a urologist at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center. Doctors recommend 6 to 8 cups a day.
Empty your bladder after sex
According to Sandip Vasavada, MD, urologic director for the center for female pelvic medicine and reconstructive surgery at the Glickman Urological Institute, Cleveland Clinic, sex can move bacteria from the vagina into the urethra. Urinating after sex flushes out any bacteria that could have migrated to the bladder during intercourse. “But what if I don’t have to go?” Chances are, you do. Cooper says most people have a relatively full bladder even when they can’t feel it. She recommends peeing both before and after sex.
Don’t hold it
Let us paint a picture for you: “As urine sits in your bladder it starts to become kind of like mucky pond water—it just stays there and stagnates. And stagnate fluid is an ideal environment for an infection to develop,” says Vasavada. He recommends you use the bathroom at least once every 4 to 6 hours, and more often (about every 3 hours) if you’re prone to UTIs.
Although outside bacteria migrating into the bladder can also cause a UTI, it’s less common. Still, it’s good to practice these behaviors to avoid introducing additional bacteria into your urinary tract:
Wipe from front to back
Bacteria that finds its way into your urethra comes from two places: your vagina and your rectum. And wiping back to front, especially after a bowel movement, is the main reason rectal bacteria get introduced into the vagina and urethra.
You already know that douching is bad. But in case you’re a little fuzzy on why, here’s a refresher. Douching sends a stream of water, or water mixed with antiseptics like vinegar, into your vagina to wash out bad-smelling vaginal bacteria. But it also washes out good bacteria, disrupting the natural balance in your vagina and allowing more bad bacteria to grow. “The lactobacillius (good bacteria) in the vagina kill off bacteria that can cause UTIs. And since the vagina and the urethra sit next to each other, you want lactobacillis there to control the growth of bad bacteria,” says Tomas L. Griebling, MD, MPH, professor and vice chair of the department of urology at the University of Kansas.
Take cranberry supplements
( Photograph by Paula Thomas/Getty Images )
Yes, there is some scientific data to back up the whole cranberry theory, but it’s not a magic cure. “Cranberries contain proanthocyanidins, which are thought to prevent bacteria from sticking to the bladder, and I do believe they work,” Cooper says. The problem is that cranberry products are unregulated and don’t all contain the same amount of proanthocyanidins. (One that Cooper does recommend is Ellura.) But be careful not to take more than the daily recommendation, since some studies have suggested a link between overuse of cranberry supplements and kidney stones.Choose contraceptives wisely
If you’re prone to UTIs you might want to avoid spermicides and diaphragms. Spermicides can not only introduce bacteria into your vagina but they also alter your vaginal pH, which can foster bacterial overgrowth, says Cooper. Diaphragms are less harmful, but can cause problems if they inhibit your ability to empty your bladder completely. Then you’re back to that “murky pond water” situation.
Add some estrogen
Another reason menopause sucks: the estrogen drop that comes with it leaves your urinary tract vulnerable to infection-causing bacteria. Estrogen maintains a balance of good bacteria in your vagina, meaning low levels of the hormone allow bad bacteria to multiply. Griebling recommends that post-menopausal women who don’t have a personal history of breast or uterine cancer use a small amount of estrogen cream vaginally 2 to 3 times a week.
Kind Of Important
Unless you’re extra prone to UTIs the following tips probably won’t make much of a difference for you. But if you find yourself coming down with infection after infection, they’re certainly worth a try:
( Photograph by Choreograph/Getty Images )
Stick to showers if you’re super prone to getting UTIs. “Many women take baths and have no problems,” says Vasavada. “But others can’t even look at a bathtub,” because the water may collect bacteria from your skin or any bath products that you use and introduce it to your vagina.Wear breathable underwear
Tight fabric can create a moist area that breeds bacteria, so you should probably opt for cotton undies. But according to Griebling, “there’s very little science to support that.” So it comes down to you. If you often get UTIs and think your clothing has something to do with it, then try going for 100% cotton.
( Photograph by Harry Bischof/Getty Images )
Fermented drinks like kombucha and probiotic-heavy yogurts like kefir might help more than your digestion. Preliminary studies say taking probiotic supplements or eating probiotic foods can help populate good vaginal bacteria. But most doctors are still wary of probiotics being used to prevent UTIs. “There’s not real harm in it but I don’t know how much benefit there would be,” says Griebling.Change out of sweaty workout clothes and wet swimsuits ASAP
Unless you get a UTI at the drop of a hat, sitting in a wet swimsuit for a few hours isn’t going to do you harm. But if you do have frequent UTIs, it won’t hurt to quickly change into dry clothes, which will eliminate the risk of bacteria multiplying and migrating into your urethra.
Source : http://www.prevention.com