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While it may not always be possible to prevent urinary tract infections (UTIs), there are ways to reduce the chances of developing them. Prevention involves things like drinking plenty of fluids, urinating frequently, urinating shortly after sex, and wearing cotton underwear and loose-fitting clothes.

Urinary Tract Infections Prevention: An Overview

A urinary tract infection (UTI) is a serious health problem that affects millions of people each year. Infections of the urinary tract are the second most common type of infection in the body. Urinary tract infections account for about 8.3 million doctor visits each year. While it may not always be possible to prevent urinary tract infections, there are ways to reduce the chances of developing a UTI.

Suggestions on Preventing a Urinary Tract Infection

Suggestions for urinary tract infections prevention include:
  • Drinking lots of fluid (such as water) to flush the bacteria from your system. Aim for 6 to 8 glasses a day.
  • Drinking cranberry juice or taking vitamin C, which increase the acid in your urine so bacteria can't grow easily. Cranberry juice also makes your bladder wall slippery, so bacteria can't stick to it.
  • Urinating frequently. It is important to go when you first feel the urge. Bacteria can grow when urine stays in the bladder too long.
  • Urinating shortly after sex. This can flush away bacteria that might have entered your urethra during sex.
  • Always wiping from front to back after using the toilet, especially after a bowel movement.
  • Wearing cotton underwear and loose fitting clothes so that air can keep the area dry. Avoid tight-fitting jeans and nylon underwear, which can trap moisture and help bacteria grow.
  • For women, using a diaphragm or spermicide for birth control can lead to a UTI because it may increase bacteria growth. Patients who have trouble with urinary tract infections should consider modifying their birth control method.
  • Taking showers instead of baths.
  • Cleansing the genital area before sexual intercourse.
  • Avoiding the use of feminine hygiene sprays and scented douches, which may irritate the urethra.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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