Bacteria invading the kidneys, ureters, bladder, or urethra result in urinary tract infections. Frequent urinary tract infections may damage the kidneys; hence, it is essential to know about appropriate preventive measures against them. Individuals who have had such an infection in the past or those with earlier improperly treated urinary tract infections are at an increased risk of experiencing frequent urinary tract infections.
How to Prevent Urinary Tract Infections
Nonetheless, the prevention of the uncomfortable and equally painful infections is extremely simple if one follows certain guidelines related to genital hygiene, diet, and clothing. Maintaining genital hygiene is particularly important among women, as their urethral and vaginal opening lie in close proximity to the rectum. As a result, the harmful bacteria from the rectum can easily enter the urinary tract through the urethra to result in urinary tract infections.
- Always wipe the genital area from front to back to prevent exposing your urethral opening to bacteria from your rectum, especially after passing motion.
- Tampons work better than sanitary napkins to prevent urinary tract infections, as the urethral opening remains dry with tampons unlike with sanitary napkins.
- Pass urine frequently and avoid holding the urine for too long, as urine collected in the bladder often serves as a breeding ground for the harmful bacteria.
- Refrain from using products with artificial fragrances like, talcum powders, deodorants, and napkins around your genitals.
- Make sure to empty your bladder and clean your genitals after intercourse.
- Avoiding synthetic and tight underwear, thongs, and tight jeans or trousers is important too, as they are likely to increase perspiration and bacterial buildup around the genitals subsequently increasing the risk of urinary tract infections. Select cotton and loose underwear instead, as they absorb sweat better and dry quickly too.
- Drink 1 to 1.5 liters of water and fluids daily to flush the harmful bacteria out of your urinary tract and prevent unnecessary accumulation of urine in the bladder.
- Avoid caffeine, alcohol, nicotine, carbonated drinks, spicy food, and artificial sweeteners.
- Superlative sources of vitamin C such as citrus fruits, tomatoes, and lime juice boost your immunity to help fight infections. Plus, they keep the urine acidic to prevent bacterial growth. Hence, consuming some good vitamin C rich foods daily should help prevent urinary tract infections.
- Have enough fiber in your diet to avoid constipation. Prunes, whole oats, nuts, and berries are some good fiber options. Constipation is one of the many factors that increase one’s risk of developing urinary tract infection; hence, avoiding it with fiber and fluids is a great way to keep the urinary tract infections away.
Antibiotics for Urinary Tract Infection Prevention
Individuals who experience more than two episodes of urinary tract infection in six months or those who may experience three or more episodes in a year are advised long-term antibiotics for prevention of these infections. Additionally, those who experience urinary tract infection after sexual intercourse may have to take an antibiotic immediately after coitus. Nitrofurantoin and sulfamethoxazole with trimethoprim in low doses are the antibiotics commonly used for the purpose of urinary tract infections prevention. Topical or local application of estrogen in and around the genitals may also reduce the episodes of urinary tract infections in the post-menopausal women.