Burning, urgency to pee, frequent urination, low back pain. Symptoms of urinary tract infections (UTIs) are painful and annoying, especially if you experience them frequently. Caused by bacteria, women are more likely to have them because bacteria from stools can come in contact with the tube that connects to the bladder (the urethra). While antibiotics usually take care of the UTI, you can also step up your prevention to keep the bacteria away.
First, drink plenty of water. The best way to prevent a UTI is to relieve yourself often. Research is mixed if holding in your pee will cause a bladder infection. Still, holding in urine extends the time your body is exposed to bacteria, it’s best to go soon after you feel the urge to go. When you’re well-hydrated, you keep the bacteria moving out of your system.
Remember to wipe from front to back, especially after a bowel movement. When you wipe from front to back, bacteria is less likely to enter the urethra.
Use soap and water to clean yourself before sex. After sex, urinate to get rid of bacteria that entered the urinary tract.
Skip deodorant sprays, powders, douches, and other irritating feminine products. Hypoallergenic soap and water are safe and effective.
Change your birth control. If you frequently get UTIs, consider trying another birth control method to see if it helps.
After menopause, many women have vaginal dryness caused by low estrogen. This makes the urinary tract more vulnerable to infection. If you’ve gone through menopause, and experience frequent UTIs, ask your doctor about estrogen vaginal cream. This treatment can help balance the vagina’s pH factor.
Some health care providers also advise women who get a lot of UTIs to wear cotton underwear, drink cranberry juice, take showers instead of baths, and avoid tight clothes. While scientific data has NOT verified these prevent UTIs, they are simple to follow and could help.
If you think you have a UTI, tell your doctor about your symptoms. If you’re prescribed an antibiotic, you may need to take a urine test a week after you finish the medicine. To set up an appointment, call (479) 582-9268.