Urinary tract infection (UTI) in women is usually caused by bacteria. They enter the urinary tract most commonly through the urethra and then infect the bladder. If the infection goes up, it can affect the kidneys. Fortunately, UTI can be prevented.
Drink plenty of fluids. Drink about 8 to 10 glasses of water per day as this helps to keep the urine dilute and ensures that you'll urinate more frequently. When you urinate frequently, it flushes out the bacteria from the urinary tract before an infection can start spreading. Have fluids so that your urine is clear or light yellow and if it is dark yellow, increase your water intake.
Wipe from front to back: Remember to wipe the genitals from front to back after urinating and passing stool. This helps to prevent contamination of vagina and urethra by bacteria in the anal region.
Urinate after intercourse: Emptying the bladder soon after intercourse flushes out the bacteria that may have entered the urethra. Also, drink a full glass of water as this increases the formation of urine and flushes out the bacteria when you urinate. Urinating after intercourse is especially helpful for women, who have recurrent UTI because of sex (as the urethra gets irritated after having sex).
Avoid irritants: Use of scented soaps, scented powders, coloured or perfumed toilet paper, scented tampons, panty liners and douches can irritate the urethra. Avoid using products with fragrances to decrease your chances of getting UTI.
Take medications: If you have recurrent UTI probably because the urethra gets irritated after having sex, consult your doctor. The doctor may prescribe antibiotic tablets to be taken each time you have sex. This can reduce the risk of recurrent UTI. If you have recurrent UTI not related to sex, your doctor will prescribe a low-dose antibiotic, which will have to be taken daily for a few months.
Change your contraceptive: Some women, who use a diaphragm for contraception or use condoms coated with spermicidal, may suffer from UTI. If you have UTI probably because of the contraceptive you use, consult your doctor for advice regarding the best method of contraception for you.
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