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Can Urinary Tract Infections Be Prevented?

Can Urinary Tract Infections Be Prevented?

You feel a twinge when you urinate, and within hours, that minor discomfort has become full-blown pain, which is accompanied by a strong urge to urinate frequently, making the pain even worse.

These hallmarks of a urinary tract infection (UTI) are all too familiar to women — 6 out of 10 experience a UTI at least once in their lives.

As women’s health experts, Dr. Denise Molina Furlong and our team here at Chicago Center for Women’s Health have extensive experience treating UTIs in women. 

As with most conditions like these, our goal is to help our patients avoid a UTI in the first place. To that end, we’ve pulled together some tried-and-true techniques for preventing UTIs.

Wipe front to back

There are two reasons why women are so prone to UTIs:

If bacteria from your colon, rectum, and anus make their way over to your urethra and get inside, these bacteria can quickly lead to an infection in this sensitive environment.

So it’s extremely important when you go to the bathroom to wipe yourself from front to back, always swiping your urethral opening before your anus.

Urinate after intercourse

Another common way in which bacteria get into your urethra is on the heels of intercourse. When you have intercrouse with someone, their bacteria transfer over to you and make their way up into your bladder.

A good way to prevent this is to urinate directly after sex. This quick urination flushes out any foreign bacteria that have made their way into your urethra, preventing them from reaching your bladder.

Stay hydrated

It’s important to stay hydrated for any number of health reasons, and we’re going to add UTI prevention to the list. The more you drink, the more you urinate and flush bacteria out of your urinary tract.

Don’t linger in wet swimsuits or underwear

The temperatures are climbing and sweaty weather and swimsuit season are upon us. You want to keep the clothing closest to your genitals nice and dry to avoid creating an optimal environment for bacteria.

So rinse and put on dry underwear after you exercise, and avoid hanging out in a wet swimsuit for long periods.

Don’t hold your pee

If we haven’t made this clear yet, flushing your urine out often is key to preventing bacteria from setting up shop and initiating an infection. This means that you should avoid holding your pee — when you have to go, please find the nearest toilet and go.

If, despite taking great care, you still develop a UTI, we can perform a quick urinalysis and get you on a course of antibiotics as quickly as possible.

For questions about preventing UTIs or treatment for an existing infection, please contact one of our two locations in Bedford Park or Oak Lawn, Illinois, to set up an appointment.

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