Urinary tract infections (UTIs) can be extremely painful and inconvenient for women. They affect the urethra, kidneys, and bladder and create a painful, burning sensation during urination. UTIs typically begin in the bladder or urethra, but they can spread to the upper urinary tract if they are not treated in a timely fashion. This can lead to serious complications including long-term kidney damage.
A urinary tract infection can be caused by a number of things, but they usually result from either outside bacteria getting pushed into the urethra or from bacteria already existing in the bladder growing to unhealthy levels. The bacteria can accumulate as a result of sexual activity or from the bladder not emptying completely due to a blockage or narrowing in the urinary tract.
With this in mind, there are certain precautions you can take to help stave off potential UTIs. Following these tips can help women avoid infection and promote general reproductive health and wellness.
Drink Lots of Fluids
Loading up on fluids (water specifically) is a great way to flush out your system of potentially damaging bacteria. Drinking more will lead to using the restroom more. In doing so, you’ll be helping move things through the urinary tract and diluting the urine so bacteria levels can’t grow to potentially dangerous amounts.
Vitamin C Helps
Taking vitamin C, whether in juice or supplement form, can be a great way to prevent bacterial growth in the urinary tract. Vitamin C helps keep your urine acidic. This acid helps prevent excess bacteria from forming. As an added perk, Vitamin C is great for the immune system and may help prevent other health concerns for women. Vitamin C can be a helpful tool in UTI prevention, but it unfortunately won’t help in treating an infection once it has begun.
Empty Your Bladder Following Sex
One of the most common ways for external bacteria to enter the urethra is through sex. By urinating after sex, you can flush out any of the bacteria that may have made its way into the bladder during intercourse. Even if you don’t feel like you necessarily need to urinate, you should still make it a point to try.
Try Not to Hold it In
You should urinate often and not try to hold it in any longer than you have to. The longer urine stays in your bladder, the more time there is for bacteria to accumulate and an infection to develop. We recommend using the bathroom at least every 4 to 6 hours, and more often if you are prone to UTIs.
Now that you know what (and what not) to do to prevent urinary tract infections, it is your responsibility to take these suggestions to heart. UTIs may seem like a minor health concern, but it’s important to treat them as soon as possible. Scheduling an appointment with your board-certified gynecologist as soon as you notice UTI symptoms can help you avoid more serious complications. Patients who experience back pain, chills, fever, nausea, or vomiting may have a kidney infection and should seek urgent medical care immediately. For more info on UTIs, contact Dr. Kristine Gould at Gynecology Associates of Gwinnett today.