The Best Tips to Prevent and Treat UTIs

December 01,2020 |
best practices to prevent uti's

A urinary tract infection (UTI) occurs when there is an infection in any part of your urinary system. The UTIs that most people experience are an infection in your lower urinary tract system and are mainly localized in the urethra. If you’ve ever experienced a UTI, you understand how uncomfortable and annoying they can be. Here is Byram Healthcare’s best tips to prevent and treat UTIs.

Before jumping into preventative measures, it’s important to take a moment to understand some of the symptoms and causes of a UTI. Knowing the symptoms will allow you to seek proper medical care if preventative measures are not enough. Understanding the causes of a UTI can help contribute to a more effective preventative plan.

Symptoms of a UTI

Make sure that you’re aware of early symptoms of a UTI to ensure that you can properly treat them as soon as they occur. Some common signs and symptoms of a UTI include:

  • Burning, pain, or itching during or in-between urination
  • Urinary urgency
  • Increased frequency of urination, even if your bladder is empty
  • Abdominal pressure
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Confusion
  • Weakness
  • Pelvic, abdominal, or back pain
  • Unexplained cramps
  • Unpleasant urine odor
  • Cloudy-looking urine

If you notice any of these symptoms, call your doctor to schedule a diagnostic appointment.

Causes of UTIs

The underlying cause of a UTI is the introduction of harmful bacteria into the urinary tract system. This can happen in a number of ways, which is why hygiene and healthy lifestyle habits are so important. The main culprit behind a UTI is E. coli, a type of bacteria commonly found in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. However, E. coli isn’t the only bacteria that can cause a UTI.

How to Prevent a UTI

Unfortunately, some people are at a higher risk for developing UTIs than others. Due to anatomical differences, women tend to experience more UTIs and are more likely for recurrent infections. However, men can suffer from urinary tract infections as well. If you have heightened risk factors or suffer from recurrent infections, there are a few preventative measures you can take. Here are the top 10 tips to prevent UTIs.

  1. Stay Hydrated

    Staying hydrated is one of the best ways to prevent a UTI. When you drink enough water, you’ll constantly be flushing out your urethra along with any harmful bacteria that’s inside. Make sure that you hydrate with water and avoid sugary sports drinks or soda.

  2. Eat Cranberries

    While there is conflicting information about the efficacy of cranberries to prevent UTIs, it doesn’t hurt to try. Cranberries may help prevent UTIs as they can keep bacteria from sticking to the lining of the urinary tract. Try drinking pure cranberry juice, adding whole cranberries to meals, or finding a doctor-approved cranberry supplement to add to your daily regimen.

  3. Avoid Irritants

    Bladder irritants can cause problems with your urinary system, which could increase the prevalence of a UTI. If you suffer from frequent infections, try limiting your intake of alcohol, coffee, spicy foods, and acidic juices.

  4. Always Wipe from Front to Back

    As a woman, it’s important to practice good hygiene to reduce your risk of developing a UTI. One of the best ways to do this is to always wipe from front to back. When wiping back to front, you introduce E.coli bacteria into your urethra from the rectum, which then causes a UTI.

  5. Use the Bathroom Before and After Sex

    Due to the friction and intimate nature of sex, bacteria can spread easily. To help reduce your risk of developing a UTI after sex, make sure that you use the bathroom both before and after—even if you feel like you don’t have to go. You may also want to gently wash the genital area before sex to make sure that you eliminate any germs.

  6. Don’t Hold it in

    If you constantly hold in your urine, whether out of convenience or a lack of access to a restroom, you become more susceptible to infection. Voiding the bladder helps to flush out your urethra and any harmful bacteria that are inside. If you suffer from recurrent UTIs, try to urinate frequently, even if you don’t feel the need to go.

  7. Avoid Irritating Products

    While it’s important to take good care of your personal hygiene, sometimes using an excessive number of products does more harm than good. This is especially true with feminine hygiene. Avoid any products that are scented and stay away from deodorant sprays, douches, and anything that can disrupt your natural pH levels.

  8. Rethink Your Birth Control

    Spermicides and diaphragms can increase your chances of developing a UTI. While they help against unpanned pregnancy, they actually contribute to bacterial growth. Instead, use a water-based lubricant and consider switching to a less problematic form of birth control. Talk to your doctor to learn more about your options.

  9. Take a Probiotic

    There are millions of tiny microorganisms living in our GI system. Some are bad, but sone are good. Probiotics help to increase healthy gut bacteria and promote the growth of good bacteria, especially in the urinary tract system. Talk to your doctor about adding a probiotic to your daily supplement.

  10. 10.Consider Daily Antibiotics

If you suffer from recurrent UTIs and aren’t responding well to treatment or preventative measures, talk to your doctor about taking a daily preventative antibiotic. This is usually administered in small doses and can help prevent a UTI by controlling harmful bacteria. Before you start this method of prevention, make sure you fully understand the risks of developing antibiotic resistance. Do not take antibiotics unless they are prescribed to you.

The Best Ways to Treat a UTI

If preventative measures still don’t work, it’s important to treat your UTI as soon as possible. While many of the treatments advertised online include similar methods as prevention, seeing a doctor is necessary to confirm an infection.

Increase Fluid Intake

In the early stages of a UTI, increasing your fluid intake can help to flush out harmful bacteria. However, if the bacteria have already caused an infection, it might not be enough to completely cure it.

Urinate Frequently

This same thought process applies to urinating frequently. While increasing your fluid intake will subsequently make you use the bathroom more often, it still isn’t a cure. It will contribute to your overall treatment though, so make sure that you try your best to stay in areas that have accessible restrooms.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C has been proven to help boost immune system function, which may help in your treatment of a UTI and prevent it from spreading. Vitamin C also reacts with the nitrates in urine to form nitrogen oxides that can kill bacteria. However, it’s important not to rely on vitamin C alone and instead work with your doctor for the proper treatment.

Prescribed Medication

While there are hundreds of websites that claim to offer “natural” cures for a UTI, they’re often unsubstantiated. The truth is, if your UTI is caused by a bacterial infection then you’ll need to be prescribed antibiotics to cure it. There are some great products on the market that are available over the counter to alleviate your symptoms, but these will not substitute a treatment to rid the bacteria. If you think you may have a UTI, see your doctor for the proper diagnosis and treatment plan.

The Importance of Seeing Your Doctor

While there are preventative measures you can take to reduce your chances of developing a urinary tract infection, many in-home remedies won’t banish the bacteria. To make sure that you’re staying healthy, it’s imperative that you see a doctor for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan. When left untreated, a UTI can travel up from your urethra into the bladder, kidneys, and even your blood. This can lead to serious complications that may be life-threatening. If you notice any signs or symptoms of a UTI, schedule an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible. UTIs are easy and straightforward to treat and it’s much better to eliminate the infection before it gets worse.

Urinary tract infections are painful, burdensome, and downright annoying. Unfortunately, especially for women, they’re fairly common. By taking the preventative measures listed above, you can greatly reduce your chances of developing a UTI now and in the future. Living a healthy lifestyle is always a good idea and is beneficial to your body in more ways than one. If you suffer from recurrent UTIs and preventative measures aren’t working, talk to your doctor about alternative options. If you need any educational support on urologic health, Byram Healthcare is here to assist.