I see dozens of women every month with urinary tract infections. These are common infections associated with burning during urination, frequency of urination, getting up at night to urinate, occasionally fever and chills and blood in the urine. Most of these infections can be prevented with a few simple life style changes. This article will discuss some of the steps that can be used to prevent these infections.
Drink Up, That is Water: The more water you drink the more you dilute those nasty bacteria found in your bladder and your urethra, the tube from the bladder to the outside of the body. Your goal is to dilute the urine so that is almost clear in color. Dark yellow means your urine is too concentrated and you need to consume more fluids. Drink enough water so that you have to use the bathroom regularly, even when your pee is diluted and light-colored.
Deep Six the Sex: Sexual intimacy pushes bacteria from your vagina up into the urethra and bladder. That can bring on a UTI even if you’re feeling fine, so if you’re already worried there’s an infection brewing, you definitely don’t want to make matters worse by hoping into the sack.
Cranberry Juice to the Rescue: There’s some evidence that a chemical in cranberries keeps bacteria from sticking to the walls of the bladder and urinary tract. Try a high-quality juice containing real cranberry juice, or cranberry extract pills from the drugstore. Cranberry helps prevent the bacteria from sticking to the wall of the bladder, which is often the culprit for a full blown UTI.
Turn to Medication: If you have significant burning when urinating and you can’t go to an urgent care center or make an appointment with your doctor, there is an over the counter medication called phenazopyridine that can helps control the pain with urination. Also, there is another over the counter medication called Methenamine that functions as an antibiotic. The dosage is 1 gram 2-4 times a day.
Avoid Scented Shower Products: Scented soaps, creams, shower gels, douches and sprays (specifically designed for your vagina) can have a negative effect on your vaginal health by altering the normal bacteria residing in the vagina and thus weakening its natural defenses. These scented products kill off healthy bacteria and increase the risk of getting a UTI. Gentle soap and water is all that is needed.
One further piece of advice: If you’re pregnant, you should give your doctor or obstetrician a call at the onset of symptoms, since a UTI can quickly turn to a kidney infection.
Bottom Line: UTI’s are a common problem that affects nearly all women at some time in their lives. Following a few of these steps can be very helpful in reducing the symptoms and reducing the incidence or recurrent UTIs.
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