Your Guide to Preventing UTIs
August 9, 2020
August 9, 2020
The initial symptoms of a Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) can cause stress and concern. When you’ve experienced this infection before, then you know what is coming – and these symptoms can cause serious pain and disrupt your life.
Not only are UTIs painful, but it can be a frustrating situation to deal with recurring infections.
Know that you are not alone if you have a UTI. According to the National Kidney Foundation, it’s estimated that more than 10 million medical appointments each year in the US are because of urinary tract infections.
Generally, antibiotics are the recommended treatment for clearing up UTIs. But it’s best to minimize the use of antibiotics as much as possible, which is why you need to focus on prevention if these infections are common.
Learn about the lifestyle changes you can make to reduce the risk of developing UTIs in the future.
Symptoms of a Urinary Tract Infection
When an infection develops in the urethra and bladder, it can lead to a series of common symptoms.
If you’ve had a UTI before, then you will recognize these signs:
- Urge to urinate frequently, but only a small amount of urine passes when using the bathroom
- Stinging, burning, and pain when urinating
- Heavy feeling in the lower abdominal area
- Urinating multiple times during the night
- Pain that radiates into the sides or back
- Urine discoloration such as redness, cloudiness, or dark hues
- Fever and chills
- Tiredness and fatigue
UTIs happen more in women than men because of the anatomy of the female body. The urethra is shorter, allowing bacteria to move through the opening quicker and into the bladder. It’s estimated that 60% of all women experience at least one urinary tract infection at some point in life – with many women having recurring infections.
8 Prevention Tips for UTIs
Here are some of the most effective things you can do to reduce the risk of UTIs:
- Urination: If you feel the need to urinate, then always find a bathroom without delay. Holding in your urine for a long time can increase the likelihood of developing an infection. Urination flushes bacteria out of the bladder before an infection can set in.
- Hydration: Drinking plenty of water throughout the day is important to maintain hydration. As your body moves this fluid through the kidneys and into the bladder, you keep things moving to reduce the risk of infection.
- Hygiene: Keeping your genital area clean is important for avoiding UTIs. Wash using soap and water. When using the bathroom, be careful about how you wipe. Bacteria is commonly near the anus, so it’s best to wipe from front to back – especially after you’ve had a bowel movement.
- Clothing: Wear clean underclothing every day. Cotton is a preferred material because it helps the area breathe. Avoid wearing tight clothing. These recommendations aren’t supported by scientific data, but they are easy to do and might help you avoid a UTI.
- Products: Some health products can increase the risk of infection. Avoid using perfumed sprays, scented powders, or douches. Certain body wash ingredients can also cause irritation. So, consider the soaps you are using in the shower if you get frequent infections.
- Sex: Urinating after having sex can clear away any bacteria that could lead to a UTI development. Also, be proactive in cleaning yourself before and after having sex to keep bacteria away from the urethra. Ask your partner to do the same.
- Birth Control: Did you know that some birth control methods increase the likelihood of a urinary tract infection? Spermicide, a diaphragm, or condoms lubricated with spermicide can contribute to bacterial growth. Instead, switch to a different birth control method to see if it makes a difference.
- Cranberry Juice: Some women find that cranberry juice or pills are helpful in preventing and treating UTIs. You might try drinking a little bit of plain (unsweetened) cranberry juice each day. Or, buy cranberry supplements if you prefer taking a pill. Talk to your doctor before using any supplements because certain products can interfere with prescription medications.
Following these tips can help to optimize your health, helping to reduce the likelihood of developing frequent UTIs. Pay attention to your frequency of UTIs to determine how well your prevention is working.
UTIs: When to Talk to a Doctor
Even if you are proactive about reducing the risk of UTIs, you still might develop an infection that requires medical attention. Since a UTI can spread to the kidneys and cause other health complications, it’s important to seek medical treatment as soon as possible.
These are the most common signs that you should talk to a doctor for a UTI:
- Severe, intense pain when urinating
- Red color when peeing (indicating blood in the urine)
- The presence of pus or thick cloudiness in the urine
Usually, a UTI can be diagnosed without any testing. But if the doctor decides that testing is needed, then it is a simple urine sample – collected in a cup, then tested to determine the type of bacteria causing your infection.
This infection can be cured using antibiotics. But longer treatments might be required if you have frequent UTIs, have diabetes, are pregnant, or the infection spreads to your kidneys.
Need to Talk to a Doctor about a UTI?
If you are currently experiencing symptoms of a UTI, then it might be time to talk to a doctor. You don’t need to suffer from the pain and discomfort! Also, remember that a UTI can turn into a serious kidney infection if left untreated. The best solution is to schedule an appointment as soon as possible.
Our team is here to provide the medical care you need. Call us at Rapid Med Urgent Care to schedule an appointment with a local provider. We offer both in-office appointments and On-Demand virtual appointments. Contact us to schedule a time to talk to a doctor.