The urge to urinate frequently, pain and burning when you try to go — the symptoms of a urinary tract infection (UTI) are never pleasant. Fortunately, the condition is highly treatable.
At Prima Medicine, with locations in Fairfax and South Riding, Virginia, our health experts provide fast and effective treatments for UTIs. But, we also want to help keep our patients from getting these uncomfortable infections in the first place.
Urinary tract infections result when any part of the urinary tract becomes infected, including the kidneys, bladder, ureters, or urethra. The good news is that with a few simple changes, you can reduce your odds of developing UTIs. In this blog, we share our top tips for avoiding UTIs.
1. Practice good restroom hygiene
One of the best things you can do to avoid a UTI is use the restroom as soon as you feel the urge to urinate. Holding it for long periods can actually increase your odds of getting a urinary tract infection.
If you’ve experienced UTIs in the past, try to get to the bathroom as soon as you feel the need to urinate or as close to it as you can. In cases where your job doesn’t allow for frequent bathroom trips, the providers at Prima Medicine can provide a medical note explaining that you have a medical reason for restroom breaks.
It’s also important to clean yourself the right way after using the restroom. Be sure to keep fecal matter away from the opening to your urethra. So if you’re a woman, always wipe from front to back, because if bacteria gets into your urethra, this could lead to a UTI.
2. Drink plenty of water
Staying hydrated and drinking as much water as possible can help keep your urinary tract healthy. According to research, regularly drinking at least six 8-ounce glasses of water each day can significantly cut your risk of getting a UTI. And, if you’re someone who experiences recurrent UTIs, you may need to drink even more water.
Of course, your urinary needs will depend on a number of factors, such as how much you sweat, how much you exercise, and your body composition, but a good goal is to drink enough water that your urine is clear or very pale yellow.
3. Avoid scented soaps and hygiene products
While scented personal care products may smell good, the truth is that these fragrances can irritate your urinary tract and upset the delicate pH balance in your body, increasing your likelihood of developing an infection.
To avoid a UTI, stay away from scented body washes, lotions, douches, and feminine hygiene products. Instead, reach for mild or unscented soaps and choose products made from all-natural ingredients to avoid harsh chemicals that may irritate your body.
4. Have a glass of cranberry juice
For women especially, a daily glass of cranberry juice can help lower your risk of getting recurrent UTIs. The reason cranberry juice helps is that these powerful berries have a natural compound that helps keep UTI-causing bacteria away from the urinary tract.
Cranberry juice is also effective if you notice the telltale symptoms of a UTI beginning. The compound it contains can help prevent the UTI from developing or getting worse. Be sure to opt for beverages with 100% cranberry juice instead of “cocktails,” which also contain other juices.
5. Stick with showers
While a bath may be relaxing, especially at the end of a long day, soaking in a tub can actually increase your risk of developing a UTI, because baths can allow bacteria to enter your urinary tract.
Instead, stick with showers. And, if you have a hand shower attachment, be sure to keep it pointed down rather than up when washing your genitals. This is especially important for women who have a higher risk of developing UTIs.
If you have a UTI or get them frequently, we can help. To learn more, book an appointment online or over the phone with Prima Medicine today. We also offer telemedicine appointments.