How to Prevent Recurrent UTIs

A UTI is an infection that develops in your urinary system. It’s caused by bacteria that spread into your urinary tract from other places, such as your skin or your rectum. A UTI can be anywhere in your urinary tract, which includes your bladder, urethra, ureters, and kidneys.  

If you feel like you’ve had about a million urinary tract infections, you’re not alone. As many as 60% of women develop UTIs at some point in their lives, and many women have recurrent UTIs, defined as at least two infections in six months or three or more infections in one year. In fact, as many as 40% of women who get a UTI will get another one within six months.

UTIs are more than just an inconvenience. Untreated, UTI bacteria can enter your bloodstream and cause a serious blood infection known as septicemia.

Although antibiotics can successfully treat UTIs, it’s best to prevent these infections in the first place. Our care providers at Women’s Healthcare of Princeton in Princeton, New Jersey, would like to share the following UTI prevention tips with you.

Tip #1: Stay well-hydrated

Drinking plenty of water and other fluids increases your urine output, which helps prevent bacterial buildup in your bladder and other urinary tract structures. Aim for six to eight glasses of liquid daily.

Tip #2: Urinate regularly

Don’t allow more than three or four hours to elapse without urinating. This helps flush bacteria out of your urinary tract.

Tip #3: Wipe from front to back

Careful wiping can prevent rectal bacteria from entering your urinary tract.

Tip #4: Go to the bathroom after having sex

Sexual activity can introduce bacteria into your urinary tract, especially when you’re having sex with a new partner. Urinating right after sex can help wash away bacteria.  

Tip #5: Take showers rather than baths

The moisture from baths could help bacteria multiply. If you do take baths, keep them short.

Tip #6: Avoid using douches and other products

Douches, feminine hygiene sprays, and powders can irritate your urinary tract and make it more susceptible to infection.

Tip #7: Wear cotton panties

Bacteria thrive in warm, moist environments. Cotton allows better airflow than synthetic fabrics. Avoiding tight pants may also help.

Tip #8: Consider preventive antibiotics

If you get recurrent UTIs, we may recommend taking antibiotics to prevent further infection, either on a daily basis, after sex, or at the first sign of a new infection. However, don’t take antibiotics unless we prescribe them.   

Get help for your UTIs

Be aware of the signs and symptoms of a UTI, which include:

If you think you have a UTI, quick treatment can help protect your health. Our providers at Women’s Healthcare of Princeton offer care for UTIs and other urinary problems for patients in the greater New York City, New Jersey, and eastern Pennsylvania areas. To make an appointment, call our office at 609-246-5541 or make an appointment using our online booking tool.

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