Are you experiencing pain when urinating? Burning sensation? The urgency to urinate? These could be a sign of a urinary tract infection.
Urinary tract infection (UTI) occurs when bacteria enter the urinary tract and cause an infection. They can cause a wide range of symptoms, including pelvic pain, pain when urinating, cloudy or bloody urine, and a strong urge to urinate even when the bladder is not full. UTIs are more common in women than men, and they can be treated with antibiotics.
Though anyone can get a UTI, women are more prone to them because of their anatomy. The female urethra is shorter than the male urethra, which makes it easier for bacteria to travel up to the bladder and cause an infection. In fact, about half of all women will experience a UTI at some point in their lives.
There are several things that can increase your risk of developing a UTI, including:
- Sexual activity
- Use of diaphragms or spermicide
- Use of a urinary catheter
- Blockages in the urinary tract
- Kidney stones
What Are the Things You Can Do to Reduce Your Risk of UTI
There are a number of things you can do to reduce your risk of getting a UTI. Here are the top ten ways:
1. Drink Plenty of Fluids
Your body is mostly made up of water, so it’s no surprise that one of the best things you can do for your body is to drink plenty of fluids. It helps to keep all of your organs, including your urinary tract, working properly. Also, water flushes out the bacteria that can cause an infection. So aim to drink eight glasses of water a day.
2. Wipe from Front to Back
Wiping from front to back after using the restroom is important for preventing UTIs. This helps to keep bacteria from the anus from entering the urethra and causing an infection.
3. Urinate after Intercourse
Urinating after intercourse helps to flush out bacteria that may have been introduced during sex. This is particularly important if you have a new sexual partner.
4. Choose Cotton Underwear
Cotton underwear is more breathable than other fabrics and helps to keep the area around the urethra dry. This can help to prevent UTIs.
5. Avoid Spermicides
Spermicides can irritate the lining of the urethra and increase the risk of UTIs. If you use condoms, be sure to choose ones that do not contain spermicide.
6. Avoid Holding Your Urine
When you have the urge to urinate, it’s best not to hold it in. This can allow bacteria to grow and cause an infection.
7. Empty Your Bladder Completely
When you do urinate, be sure to empty your bladder completely. This helps to prevent bacteria from growing in your urinary tract.
8. Wear Loose-Fitting Clothing
Tight-fitting clothing can trap moisture and bacteria next to your skin. This can lead to UTIs. Wear loose-fitting clothing, especially in hot weather, to help prevent UTIs.
9. Use a Sanitary Pad Instead of a Tampon
Tampons can introduce bacteria into your urethra. If you are prone to UTIs, it’s best to use a sanitary pad instead.
10. See Your Doctor If You Have Symptoms
If you have any symptoms of a UTI, see your doctor right away. Early treatment can help to prevent the infection from spreading.
UTIs are no joke. They can be painful and frustrating. But there are things you can do to reduce your risk of getting one and things you can do to treat one if you do get one. If you think you may have a UTI, it’s important to see a doctor as soon as possible. UTIs can often be treated with antibiotics. If left untreated, UTIs can lead to serious kidney infections.
Aspen Medical Center is a walk-in clinic in Santa Fe, NM, that provides quality, affordable healthcare to patients of all ages. We offer a variety of services such as primary care, women’s health, men’s health, mental health, and more. Our goal is to provide high-quality, compassionate healthcare to everyone who comes through our doors. Let us provide you with the care that you deserve. Schedule an appointment with us today!