Urinary tract infections (UTIs) make your life miserable until they finally resolve. If you’ve ever had a UTI, you know that once is enough. Unfortunately, they’re pretty common, and they tend to return:
Those dismal statistics make UTIs seem inevitable, but there’s a lot you can do to prevent them.
A UTI occurs when bacteria enter your urinary tract, which includes your bladder, kidneys, ureters, and urethra.
Escherichia coli (E. coli), a bacteria in your gut, causes most UTIs. If you ignore your symptoms and don’t treat your UTI, it can lead to severe complications such as kidney infections.
Early detection is your best defense against a UTI, so it’s wise to know what to look for.
Common symptoms include a burning sensation during urination, frequent urge to urinate, cloudy or strong-smelling urine, and lower abdominal pain. If you have a severe UTI, you may have a fever, blood in your urine, a backache, and nausea.
The good news is that several preventive measures can significantly reduce your risk of developing UTIs. Here’s what Dr. Ladouceur recommends.
Drinking plenty of fluids, especially water, dilutes your urine and ensures that you urinate more frequently — allowing your urinary tract to flush out bacteria before an infection can begin.
Avoid holding in urine for long periods. It’s best to urinate as soon as you feel the urge.
Your diet affects your urinary tract. For instance, eating more fruits, vegetables, and fiber boosts your immune system and prevents bacterial growth.
Because bacteria is the culprit behind UTIs, do your best to keep it out of your urinary tract. After using the toilet, wipe from front to back to prevent bacteria from entering — and if you have daughters, teach this habit during potty training.
Sex introduces bacteria to your genitals. You can whisk them away by urinating afterward. And if you use a lubricant, choose a water-based one.
Damp or wet underwear breeds bacteria, so change your clothes after a workout or a swim.
Tight clothing traps bacteria that can cause UTIs. Wearing looser pants and fabrics that breathe help you stave off UTIs.
If you experience signs of a UTI, call us right away. Treatment typically involves antibiotics to kill the bacteria causing the infection, but Dr. Ladouceur may recommend additional tests or treatments if you have recurrent UTIs.
Call or click to schedule an appointment at Weekend Urgent Care — we’re open seven days a week.