Urinary Tract Infections (UTI) happen when you develop an infection in your urinary tract. It most often affects the lower urinary tract, including the bladder and the urethra.
Having a UTI can be really frustrating and if left untreated for long, it can lead to many other complications as well. Here are a few things that you should know about UTIs and what can you do to prevent them:
Who is at a higher risk of UTIs?
Women are at a higher risk of contracting UTIs. The reason behind this is the fact that women have a shorter urethra - the tube that brings urine out of the bladder. This makes it easier for bacteria to enter the urethra and bladder easily. Additionally, a woman’s urethral opening is much closer to the anus, the place where most UTI-causing E.coli bacteria is found.
Some common symptoms of UTI are:
- Burning sensation while urinating
- Cloudy urine
- Strong and persistent urge to urinate
- Strong-smelling urine
- Cloudy urine or urine that appears red or bright pink
What can you do to prevent UTIs?
1. Practise good hygiene
Good hygiene lies at the core of keeping any kinds of infections away. And UTIs are no exception! Especially if you are a woman, then always look out for clean seats and washrooms. This will prevent any infection-causing bacteria from getting in touch with your urethra. Additionally, always wipe your intimate area from front to back after any bowel movement in order to take the bacteria away from the urethra. Additionally, change your pads and tampons after a few hours to avoid any infection.
2. Drink plenty of water/fluids
Adding extra fluids will help your body flush out the toxins frequently and easily. In addition, it helps in flushing out the infection-causing bacteria from the body rather than giving it the time to settle in. If you find it difficult to consume enough water i.e. 7-8 glasses per day then you can also consume other kinds of liquids like juices. Cranberry juice is one of the most common juices that people assume to be good for preventing (and even curing) UTIs. If you are looking for an unsweetened and healthy UTI drink then you can count on andMe’s cranberry juice drink. It acts as a UTI relief supplement and comes loaded with the goodness of ayurvedic herbs and micronutrients.
Try to limit your consumption of alcohol or caffeinated drinks as they tend to irritate the bladder.
3. Do not hold your urine
Holding in your urine can promote and encourage bacterial growth. Wait for three to four hours and then empty your bladder completely. Doing this becomes even more important when you are pregnant as your risk of UTIs increases with pregnancy and holding up the urine can cause complications.
4. Urinate before and after sex
Sexual activities increase the chances of getting a UTI. Especially if you are a woman, bacteria can easily get into the urethra during sex. Hence, it is advisable to pee immediately before and after sex. This will reduce the risk of infections by flushing out the bacteria that may cause UTIs.
5. Avoid scented products
Your vagina is home to many types of bacteria. These bacteria are responsible for keeping your vagina healthy and keeping the pH balance intact. Scented feminine products can cause these bacteria harm and lead to the growth of infection-causing bacteria. Hence, always use natural, gentle and non-scented products to clean your vagina.
The bottom line is, preventing UTI is relatively easy. All you need to do is be a little careful and follow these preventive steps.