Preventing Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs) in Women
Urinary tract infections are a common issue for women and can cause discomfort, pain, and certainly inconvenience. UTIs occur when bacteria enter the urinary tract and multiply, causing an infection. Women are at a higher risk of developing UTIs, simply because of our anatomy! Here are some tips for preventing UTIs:
Practice good hygiene:
It's important to clean the genital area regularly and to wipe front to back after using the bathroom to prevent bacteria from spreading from the anus to the urethra. Cleaning doesn't mean soap, you really just need warm water on this area when you shower.
Drinking plenty of water helps flush out bacteria and keeps the urinary tract functioning properly.
Holding urine for long periods of time can increase the risk of UTIs. Women should aim to empty their bladder every 4-6 hours and after sexual activity. When you have to go, just go. Don't try to wait, this can create issues with UTIs and other urinary issues in the long run.
Wear breathable underwear:
Synthetic fabrics and tight clothing can trap moisture and create an environment for bacteria to grow. Women should choose cotton underwear and avoid wearing tight-fitting pants or pantyhose. Do not wear a pad or liner unless it is absolutely needed.
Avoid irritating feminine products:
Certain products such as powders, sprays, and douches can irritate the urethra and increase the risk of UTIs.
Use protection during sexual activity:
Sexual activity can introduce bacteria into the urinary tract, so it's important to use a barrier method of protection such as a condom. After intercourse, it is important to empty your bladder.
Avoid bubble baths and use mild soap:
Bubble baths and harsh soaps can irritate the vaginal area and increase the risk of UTIs. Women should use mild soap and avoid soaking in bathtub for extended periods. My favorite soap for the vaginal area....NONE! But if you must, you can use a mild Dove soap.
Again, UTIs are a common issue, but they can be prevented most of the time by following some simple steps. If you experience any symptoms of a UTI such as pain or burning during urination, come in and see us for evaluation!