Preventing Repeat UTIs
In addition to taking antibiotics, changing some of your daily habits and lifestyle choices may help you prevent repeat UTIs.
Eating, Diet, and Nutrition
Drinking lots of fluid can help flush bacteria from your system. Water works best. Most people should try for 6 to 8, eight-ounce glasses a day. But do not drink this much if you have kidney failure. Check with your health care provider to learn how much fluid is healthy for you.
Urinate often and when you first feel the urge. Bacteria can grow when urine stays in the bladder too long. Urinate shortly after sex to flush away bacteria that might have entered your urethra during sex. Drinking a glass of water will also help flush bacteria away.
After using the toilet, always wipe from front to back. This step is most important after a bowel movement to keep from getting bacteria into the urethra.
Wear cotton underwear and loose-fitting clothes so air can keep the area around the urethra dry. Avoid nylon underwear and tight-fitting jeans, which can trap moisture and help bacteria grow.
For women, using a diaphragm or spermicide for birth control can lead to UTIs by increasing bacteria growth. If you have trouble with UTIs, try switching to a new form of birth control. Unlubricated condoms or spermicidal condoms increase irritation, which may help bacteria grow. Consider switching to lubricated condoms without spermicide or using a non spermicidal lubricant.
Points to Remember about Urinary Tract Infections
- A urinary tract infection (UTI) is an infection in the urinary tract. Infections are caused by microbes - organisms too small to be seen without a microscope.
- The urinary tract is the body’s drainage system for removing wastes and extra water.
- Bacteria that live in the digestive tract, in the vagina, or around the urethra are the most common cause of UTIs.
- You should see your health care provider if you have any of these signs or symptoms:
- a burning feeling when you urinate
- frequent or intense urges to urinate, even when you have little urine to pass
- pain in your back or side below the ribs
- cloudy, dark, bloody, or foul-smelling urine
- fever or chills
- Health care providers diagnose UTIs by asking about your symptoms and then testing a sample of your urine for bacteria.
- If you have repeat infections or are in the hospital, your urine may be cultured. The culture is performed by placing part of the urine sample in a tube or dish with a substance that encourages any bacteria present to grow.
- If you have repeat chronic bladder infection, your health care provider can order medical tests to see if your urinary tract is normal.
- kidney and bladder ultrasound
- voiding cystourethrogram
- computerized tomography (CT) scan
- magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- radionuclide scan
- UTIs are treated with antibiotics that can kill the bacteria causing the infection. The antibiotic prescribed will depend on the type of bacteria causing your UTI.
- About one out of every five young women who have a UTI will have another one. Some women have three or more UTIs a year.
- Men are less likely than women to have a first UTI. But once a man has a UTI, he is likely to have another because bacteria can hide deep inside prostate tissue.
- Anyone who has diabetes or a problem that makes it hard to urinate may have repeat infections.
- Changing some of your daily habits and lifestyle choices may help you prevent repeat UTIs.