UTI prevention

A urinary tract infection (UTI) is an infection of the urinary system which includes the kidneys, ureters, bladder, prostate (in men) and urethra. Urinary tract infections occur when bacteria develops in the urinary system. Normal urine does not contain any bacteria (germs). Bacteria can get into the urine and the urinary tract from the skin around the rectum and genitals by traveling up the urethra into the bladder.

For women, the risk of having a UTI is greater than men. This is partly due to a shorter urethra in women, so it is easier for the bacteria to move up to the bladder. Bacteria can also get into the urinary tract following sexual intercourse or use of a diaphragm for birth control or from improper cleansing technique after a bowel movement.

Some basic preventive measures you can take to reduce your risk of developing a UTI include:

  • Make sure you drink plenty of water or other liquids, as water helps flush the bacteria from your urinary tract, before the development of any infection.
  • Avoid using feminine products such as douches and powders in the genital area, as these may irritate the urethra.
  • Regular intake of vitamin C or its supplements can help acidify urine and suppress the growth of bacteria.
  • Cranberries contain hippuronic acid, a natural antiseptic that help prevent the adherence of bacteria to the lining of the bladder.
  • Always wipe from front to back after urinating or after a bowel movement, to help prevent the spread of infection from the anal region to the vagina or urethra.
  • Maintain good personal hygiene and urinate immediately after sexual activity to flush away any bacteria.
  • Treat constipation responsively, as it may increase your chances of developing a UTI.

Following these steps will help you to prevent urinary tract infections from interfering with your life.