Stopping UTI’s before They Start

Written by yvonnethornton on November 19th, 2012

I could tell you that urinary tract infections (UTI’s) are common in women all over the world, but it would be an understatement. The fact is, they are extremely common, and few women make it to age forty never having experienced one.  They’re relatively easy to treat and harmless when taken care of early, but they’re also inconvenient and uncomfortable. Treating them is as easy as taking abstinence from intercourse. If caught early enough, your gynecologist might even simply prescribe more water. However, most women don’t catch their UTI’s until they feel the symptoms of burning and frequent urination. By that point, antibiotics are usually necessary.

That means treatment requires a quick trip to the doctor and a prescription. However, to make your life even easier, you should try to prevent UTI’s before they even start. Some women are more susceptible to UTI’s than others because their urinary tract is short or shaped in a way that traps bacteria. If you get them often, you need to be even more diligent in taking the proper steps to prevent them. UTI’s will clear up easily with treatment, but without treatment they could creep up your system and turn into a kidney infection (pyelonephritis), which could eventually kill you. A UTI will require antibiotics, but a kidney infection could require hospitalization.

The easiest and most beneficial way to prevent UTI’s is to drink plenty of water. You should be drinking at least eight glasses a day already, and getting that recommended amount will help flush out any bacteria that might get caught in your bladder. While it has long been believed that cranberry juice can help prevent all-too-common bladder and kidney infections, a new study from the well-respected Cochrane Library says its unlikely to do any good. (   Taking proper measures to keep your bladder free from bacteria is also important. Always remember as well to wipe from front to back, and urinate after intercourse to flush out bacteria that made its way into your system. Of course, good personal hygiene in the shower helps, and you should always wear clean, cotton underwear that keep those germ-sensitive areas covered.   Recent studies have concluded that the best way to prevent uncomplicated urinary tract infections is to abstain from sexual intercourse (link to New England of Medicine).   However, being the healthy females that we are, intercourse is a fact of life and refraining from intimacy may be a price to big to pay for not having a urinary tract infection.

Urinary tract infections are inconvenient and sometimes painful. They’re extremely common, but by practicing good health and hygiene you’ll increase your chances of avoiding them. Even if you feel like one might be coming on, plenty of fluids, short hiatus from intercourse can ward it off before you even call the doctor.

 – Yvonne S. Thornton, M. D., M. P. H.


Leave a Comment