Once you’ve experienced the pain and discomfort of a UTI, you would probably do anything to avoid having another one. And if you’ve never had one, you might be wondering what you can do to keep it that way. Although it might be impossible to reduce your risk to zero, there are some things you can do to help lower the chances of getting a UTI:
5 Ways to Reduce Your Risk of a UTI
1. Stay hydrated. By drinking plenty of water, you’ll have to pee more frequently, which flushes bacteria out of your urinary tract. The longer you wait between going to the bathroom, the more time the bacteria has to sit around in your bladder and urinary tract. How do you know if you’re drinking enough? A good goal is to pee every two to three hours during the day. And water really is best here—beverages like alcohol, citrus juices, and caffeinated sodas can irritate the bladder.
2. Don’t hold it in. If you need to go to the bathroom, do it as soon as possible. This is especially a good idea after having sex—bacteria can enter the urethra during intercourse and peeing can push it back out.
3. Wipe front to back. Going the other direction could bring bacteria from the anal region into the urinary tract—which is a recipe for a UTI. While this is a good habit to get into every time you go to the bathroom, it’s especially important you do it after a bowel movement.
4. Avoid using certain feminine products. Douches and powders used in the genital area can be irritating and potentially lead to a UTI.
5. Consider switching birth control. Certain methods, like items with spermicides and diaphragms, can encourage bacteria to grow. If you get recurring UTIs and use one of those birth control methods, talk to your doctor about alternatives.
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