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How do I prevent UTIs?

If you are looking to reduce your risk of developing a urinary tract infection (UTI), here are some doctor-recommended prevention tips:

  1. Stay hydrated: Drinking water helps dilute your urine and ensures that you’ll urinate more frequently allowing bacteria to be flushed from your urinary tract before an infection can begin.
  2. Change your birth control method: Diaphragms or unlubricated or spermicide-treated condoms can all contribute to bacterial growth.
  3. Urinate when you need to: It is always a good idea to urinate as soon as you feel the need. While “holding it in” does not directly cause an infection, it can cause over distension that can damage the lining of the bladder, making it more vulnerable to bacteria.
  4. Wipe from front to back: Doing so after urinating and after a bowel movement helps prevent bacteria in the anal region from spreading to the vagina and urethra.
  5. Pay Attention to Your Pee: Your urine can change color for a variety of reasons, including from the medications you take, so pay close attention to it to monitor your overall health. One key thing to note is that if your urine is typically a darker yellow, your body is dehydrated, so you need to step up your water intake. To see the description of some other problematic urine color changes and the causes, click here to know your urine.
  6. Urinate before sex and promptly after: Also, drink a full glass of water to help flush bacteria. This can help minimize bacteria buildup and reduce your risk of getting a UTI.
  7. Don’t use douches or feminine hygiene sprays or powders: As a general rule, do not use any product containing perfumes in the genital area.
  8. Choose breathable garments: Wear underpants with a cotton crotch. Don’t wear tight- fitting pants, which can trap in moisture.
  9. Shower instead of a bath: Take showers and avoid prolonged baths. Bath water may fairly quickly become contaminated by the bather’s own skin florae. Sitting in a tub allows bacteria to reach the bladder opening area.
  10. Use tampons for your period: Tampons are advised during the menstrual period rather than sanitary napkins or pads because they keep the bladder opening area drier than a sanitary pad, thereby limiting bacterial overgrowth.

Sources: http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/urinary-tract-infection/basics/prevention/con-20037892
http://womenshealth.gov/publications/our-publications/fact-sheet/urinary-tract-infection.html#b
http://www.everydayhealth.com/urinary-tract-infections/the-link-between-utis-and-sex.aspx
https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/patientinstructions/000391.htm
http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/1958794-overview