Americans are no strangers to urinary tract infections (UTIs) — 60% of adult women will encounter the problem, as well as 12% of men. In most cases, we can easily clear the infection, but the problem is best avoided in the first place.
At Arizona Urology, our team of urology experts believes that education is key when it comes to maintaining great health, which is certainly true of UTIs. While there are times when infections can’t be avoided, in many cases some simple preventive practices might have kept the problem at bay.
With that in mind, here’s a look at a few simple tips to help you avoid recurrent UTIs.
A UTI develops when harmful bacteria make their way into your urinary tract, so we urge you to consistently flush this system. If you follow the hydration rule of thumb — eight glasses of eight ounces of water a day — it goes a long way toward keeping your urinary tract bacteria-free.
Since one of the steps in avoiding a UTI is drinking plenty of fluids, this means that you may have to urinate more frequently. We recommend that you urinate when you need to and resist holding it in. When you hold urine in your bladder, it provides the perfect environment for infection-causing bacteria to flourish.
One of the reasons women are more susceptible to UTIs is the short distance between the urethra opening and the anus. The stool that comes out of your anus is typically full of bacteria, so when you go to the bathroom, be sure to wipe from front to back so that you prevent these bacteria from making their way into your urethra.
Another great tip for preventing recurring UTIs is to clean your genitals after sex, which is especially true with a new partner. While we recommend that you wash your genitals after sex, we understand the interuption in “mood” that this may cause. At a minimum, we ask that you urinate after sex as soon as possible to flush out any foreign bacteria.
If you’re a male and you’re not circumcised, it’s important that you practice good hygiene and thoroughly clean your foreskin, which has plenty of folds that can harbor bacteria.
Another culprit when it comes to UTIs is lingering in wet clothes (think swimsuits). Bacteria love damp, warm environments, so try and limit the time you spend in wet clothing. While we single out swimsuits, sweaty underwear can create the same problem.
Should you still develop a UTI, prompt treatment is both easiest and safest. At the first signs of an infection, we urge you to come see us so that we can get you started on a course of antibiotics that will quickly kill the infection. By taking early action, you can prevent the infection from spreading, which can cause far more serious problems, especially if it spreads to your kidneys.
If you’re hesitant about coming in, we’re offering telemedicine visits so that you can get the care you need remotely.
If you’d like to learn more about preventing and treating UTIs, please contact one of our locations in Goodyear, Glendale, Gilbert, or Phoenix, Arizona.