Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are more than just a nuisance; they’re a painful and often frustrating experience. If you’ve experienced one, you know it’s something you’d rather avoid in the future. The good news? With the right knowledge and a few simple habits, it’s possible to reduce your risk. Dive in as we explore 8 ways on how to prevent urinary tract infections.
1. Stay Hydrated
Not only is drinking enough water important for overall health, but it plays a specific role in preventing UTIs. Adequate water intake helps to dilute the urine, allowing for more frequent urination, which flushes bacteria from the urinary tract. By keeping the urinary system active and moving, you reduce the opportunity for harmful bacteria to settle and multiply (1).
2. Don’t Hold It In
Holding in urine can create an environment for bacteria to thrive. By urinating regularly, you clear the urinary system of bacteria before they can become established. Timely urination is vital for maintaining a healthy urinary tract and minimizing the risk of infection (2).
3. Wear Breathable Underwear
Breathable fabrics like cotton and loose-fitting clothing are vital for maintaining urinary health. Cotton and other natural fibers wick moisture away from the skin, keeping the area around the urethra dry and reducing the opportunity for bacterial growth. In contrast, synthetic fabrics, especially when tight-fitting, can trap moisture and warmth, providing a conducive environment where bacteria thrive, potentially leading to UTIs. Making mindful clothing choices by selecting underwear made from natural, moisture-wicking materials and opting for loose, comfortable clothing can significantly contribute to overall genital hygiene and reduce the risk of infections.
4. Avoid Irritating Feminine Products
Many products marketed for feminine hygiene, including soaps, powders, and wipes, may contain chemicals and fragrances that disrupt the delicate balance of the urinary tract. This can increase susceptibility to infection by altering the normal bacterial environment and breaking down the body’s natural defenses. Avoiding products with fragrances or unnecessary chemicals helps maintain the urinary tract’s natural barrier against UTIs.
5. Empty Bladder After Intercourse
During sexual activity, bacteria can be introduced into the urinary tract. By urinating shortly after intercourse, you can flush these bacteria out before they become a problem. This practice is particularly useful for those who have had UTIs in the past and are looking to minimize recurrence (3).
6. Consider Cranberries
Cranberries are often praised for their potential role in preventing UTIs. These bright red berries contain compounds called proanthocyanins, which have been found to prevent bacteria, especially E. coli, from attaching to the lining of the urinary tract (4). By inhibiting this attachment, the bacteria are less able to cause infections in the bladder and other parts of the urinary system. If drinking cranberry juice is not your thing, you can try Approved Science® Uritrac™, a cranberry-containing supplement specifically formulated for combatting UTIs.
While cranberries are not a cure for existing UTIs, regular consumption of cranberry juice or supplements might be a helpful preventive tool.
7. Try Probiotics
Probiotics usually go hand-in-hand with gut health, but they can be beneficial for urinary tract health too. Certain probiotics, especially the Lactobacillus group may help by creating an environment that’s hostile to harmful bacteria, including those that cause UTIs (5). By introducing and maintaining healthy bacteria in the urinary tract, you may boost natural defenses against infections. Some probiotics are specifically designed for urinary and vaginal health and might be particularly effective for women prone to UTIs (6).
8. Consult A Healthcare Provider
If you find yourself with frequent and persistent UTIs, it may be time to consult your healthcare provider. While our other 7 tips are great for prevention, constant struggles might be a sign of something more going on beneath the surface. Your doctor knows you and your medical history the best and can offer more personalized options.
Bottom Line: How To Prevent Urinary Tract Infections
UTIs are common, but they shouldn’t take over your life. With these 8 tips, you have the knowledge to start taking charge of your urinary health. Just remember that your body is unique, so take some time to figure out what strategy works best for you.