Women are more prone to urinary tract infections (UTIs) than men, largely thanks to anatomy. Your urethra is shorter than a man’s, and also your rectum is closer to your urethra. UTIs are a common reason for women to schedule appointments with their gynecologist.
At Apple Hill Gynecology, Dr. Marsha Bornt and her staff encourage our patients who have frequent urinary tract infections to make a few simple changes to their habits. Each of the habits we discuss in this post can help keep infection-causing bacteria away from your urethra.
Change your bathroom hygiene habits
Wipe front to back when you go to the bathroom. This helps keep bacteria that can cause a UTI away from your urethra.
Drink more throughout the day
Hydration is important, and many people don’t realize they are dehydrated. When you drink more fluids, you urinate more often. Each time you pee, you help flush bacteria out of your urinary tract and lower the risk of a UTI.
We recommend focusing on water, but you might also want to try decaffeinated herbal teas, smoothies, sparkling water, or other options to stay hydrated.
Don’t hold it
People who hold their urine tend to get more UTIs. Holding your pee allows bacteria time to proliferate — remember, each time you urinate, you flush out bacteria.
Take the time to go to the bathroom frequently throughout the day, and when you do, make sure you completely empty your bladder. Drinking more fluids can help with this.
Urinate before and after sex
Sexual activity increases your risk of developing a UTI, but if you urinate before and after sex, it can help mitigate the risk. During sex, bacteria can enter your urethra, so it’s a good idea to flush out your urinary tract by peeing both before and after.
If you’re especially prone to UTIs, you might consider showering before and after sex, as well.
Reconsider products you use
Some feminine hygiene products can upset the balance of microbes in your body and lead to UTIs. For example, using a douche can spread bacteria and cause a UTI.
Avoiding scented tampons or pads, powders, and deodorant sprays can help decrease the likelihood of developing a UTI. You may also want to reconsider using scented bath oils and soaps or taking bubble baths.
See to your overall health
A weakened immune system can also lead to a UTI, and the best way to keep your immune system strong is to take care of yourself in general. Eat a nutritious, well-balanced diet rich in vegetables and lean protein. Get plenty of physical exercise, don’t smoke, or drink too much alcohol.
Talk to your doctor
Sometimes frequent UTIs can be caused by changes in your hormone levels related to menopause or pregnancy. Some women have more UTIs when they use certain types of birth control.
Along with the day-to-day lifestyle habits we suggest here, you should see your doctor regularly. Dr. Bornt can help you understand why you’re experiencing UTIs and make suggestions based on your specific circumstances to help you avoid them. It’s also important to get treatment for a UTI right away.
If you have frequent UTIs or questions about how to avoid them, or if you suspect you have a UTI, schedule your appointment at Apple Hill Gynecology today.