In many cases, the best way to effectively treat a health condition is to prevent it before it occurs. Urinary tract infections (UTI) can affect both men and women, but women are four times more likely to experience a UTI during their lifetime. In addition to affecting the way you feel, these infections can also lead to more serious health problems if they are not treated. That’s why prevention is so important. We recommend taking the following steps to help prevent these annoying, recurring infections.
Drink Plenty of Water, But Don’t Hold It In
Staying hydrated can help flush your system of the harmful bacteria that can lead to the development of a UTI. Drinking pure cranberry juice may be able to help as well. However, it’s important to remember to urinate frequently and not hold it in for too long. Doing so can allow bacteria to circulate in the bladder and urinary tract.
Practice Good Hygiene
When using the restroom, wiping from front to back can be helpful. Wiping this way (especially after a bowel movement), can prevent bacteria from reaching the urethra. You should also thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water before sex and urinate when you are finished. This can help discard any bacteria that entered the urinary tract. We recommend taking showers instead of baths, as sitting in bath water can alter the pH levels in your vagina and introduce soap residue and other chemicals.
Take Your Birth Control into Account
Using a diaphragm or having sex with a partner who uses spermicide or a spermicide-lubricated condom can make you more likely to experience a UTI. This is because these birth control methods can all contribute to excess bacterial growth. If you get frequent UTIs, switching to a water-based lubricant or a different type of birth control can potentially help.
Beware of What You Put in Your Body
Certain soaps and feminine hygiene products can also lead to infection. We recommend using milder, unscented soaps and to avoid douches, deodorant sprays, scented powders, and other potentially irritating products. Wearing breathable cotton underwear is also recommended.
In the case that a UTI cannot be prevented, the good news is that these infections can be treated. Based on the specifics of your infection and medical history, we may prescribe a course of oral antibiotics that can generally take care of a UTI within a week. For more information on UTIs or if you would like to request an appointment with one of our reproductive healthcare providers, contact Gynecology Associates of Gwinnett today. You can follow us on Facebook and Twitter for more tips, updates, and details on our upcoming Health & Wellness events.