Burning, itching, and painful peeing: The symptoms of a urinary tract infection (UTI) are, put very simply, no fun. And that’s the nice way of saying it. Women tend to battle UTIs more than men, which seems unfair, right? According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, half of all women will deal with a UTI at least once in their life.
Thankfully, there are steps you can take and habits you can form that will lower your risk of getting a UTI. The experts at New England Women’s Healthcare have put together some information on UTIs, such as how they’re contracted, and what you can do to fend them off.
How do you get a UTI?
UTIs are also called “bladder infections,” because the primary cause of UTIs is bacteria that get into your bladder and sometimes the urethra — the latter part is what causes the painful urination that’s so characteristic of UTIs.
While UTIs that remain in your bladder and urethra (the lower part of your urinary tract) are painful and annoying, the health threat of UTIs increases exponentially if they reach your kidneys, which are critical for so many bodily functions.
This is why it’s so important to prevent UTIs and, if you happen to get one, to treat it as quickly as possible.
How to prevent UTIs
The first course of action to prevent UTIs should include basic health habits:
- Stay hydrated by drinking several glasses of water daily, so you empty your bladder regularly
- Don’t hold your urine in for long periods of time if you can help it
- Wipe from front to back, especially after a bowel movement, to prevent bacteria from reaching your vagina and urethra
- Avoid products like feminine sprays and deodorants, which may cause an irritating reaction in your pelvic region
If those simple steps don’t work to prevent UTIs, you should get in touch with your OB/GYN to talk about other tactics that may help. Many women find that switching to a new type of birth control can stop recurring UTIs.
Urinating after sex might help some women, since being sexually active increases your risk of developing a UTI. The idea is to flush out any bacteria that may have entered your vagina or urinary tract during sex.
For women with severe recurring UTIs, taking probiotics or preventive antibiotics may be necessary.
To learn more about UTI prevention, get in touch with New England Women’s Healthcare. Call 781-787-3003 to schedule a consultation at our Woburn, Massachusetts, clinic or request your appointment online. You can also send a message to the team here on our website.