How to Prevent Bladder Infections

Three Methods:Maintaining Good HygieneHaving a Healthy DietDressing Well

Bladder infections, or urinary tract infections (UTIs) are common bacterial infections that occur in both men and women.[1]This uncomfortable disorder is often more common in women, because of a shorter urethra. Common causes of UTIs include diabetes, catheters, pregnancy, sexual activity, poor hygiene, menopause, kidney stones, prostate enlargement, and spermicide/birth control. UTIs are often easily diagnosed and steps can be taken to prevent infections. It is important to remember that you have frequent UTIs, you should talk with your doctor.[2]

Method 1
Maintaining Good Hygiene

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    Urinate before and after sex. Urinating after sex will help flush out any foreign matter or bacteria from your urethra or urinary tract.[3]
    • Drinking water will help you have to urinate and flush out your system.[4]
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    Urinate often. Holding in your urine can cause infection. When you got to go, you should go!
    • Empty out your bladder completely each time you urinate to stop bacteria from building up. If you have trouble doing this, talk to your doctor about medication that can help. Or, you can do exercises to help strengthen your pelvic muscles.[5]
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    Shower, instead of bathe. Bath water can hold onto bacteria that can travel up the urethra. The water can also hold onto perfumes, shampoos, or other foreign material that can cause infection.[6]
    • When showering, use warm water and a clean washcloth to wipe down your genital error. Avoid getting soaps, shampoos, or body wash near or in your genitals. This can cause infections.
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    Avoid irritating products. These may include douches, perfumes, deodorants, and sprays in the genital area. Harsh chemicals can upset the delicate Ph balance of your natural genital bacteria.
    • Further irritating products may include some birth control (like spermicidal jelly); consider switching birth control or talking to your doctor about better alternatives.[7]
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    Wipe front to back. This is an important habit for woman! A woman’s urethra is close to her anus. Fecal matter can travel up the urinary tract and cause infection. When wiping yourself after the bathroom, wipe front to back to avoid pulling foreign matter toward your urinary tract.[8]
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    Ask your doctor for preventative medication. If you frequently get UTIs or bladder infections, your primary care physician or OBGYN may prescribe you with antibiotics to help prevent them.[9]

Method 2
Having a Healthy Diet

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    Stay well-hydrated. Drinking plenty of fluids is generally a good habit to get into. It can also prevent bladder infections because it flushes out bacteria.[10]
    • Generally, you should drink between 6-8 8oz glasses of water a day.
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    Take cranberry tablets. Cranberries can prevent bacteria from developing or breeding in the bacterial wall.[11] You can purchase these at supermarkets or pharmacies.
    • It is recommended to drink around 250 ML of cranberry juice a day, or take around 500 ML of cranberry tablets (generally about one gel tablet).[12]
    • Do not take cranberry tablets if you are taking Warfarin, a blood thinning drug. This can interact with the drug.[13]
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    Avoid irritating substances. Coffee and caffeine are known irritants to the bladder. Avoid them to prevent bladder infections.[14]
    • Other foods or drinks that might cause bladder irritation include tomatoes, chocolate, and alcohol.
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    Consume fermented milk products. These products have proven to help prevent UTIs. These include milks, cheese, and yogurt; they include good bacteria that prevent the bad bacteria that cause bladder infections.[15]

Method 3
Dressing Well

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    Avoid tight clothing. Tight clothing can cause you to sweat and breed bacteria. Wear loose fitting pants to avoid this, especially when you expect to sweat.
    • This may include when you are working out or exerting a lot of energy. Your body may produce a lot of sweat that can introduce bacteria into your urinary tract.
    • Loose clothing may include sweat pants or larger clothing.
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    Wear breathable clothing. Breathable clothing helps with airflow and can keep bacteria from breeding. Avoid nylon or heavily-synthetic materials.[16]
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    Wear breathable underwear. Doctors recommend cotton underwear to help airflow. There is controversial reports that suggest that thongs may cause UTIs.[17][18]
    • Good cuts of underwear include loose boxers for men and briefs, boyshorts, or hipsters for women. [19]
    • You should always clean underwear and change them daily. Bacteria can build up in there! Further, change sanitary napkins frequently to stay clean.

Warnings

  • If you find yourself getting frequent bladder infections or if a current bladder infection worsens, see your doctor.

Sources and Citations

  1. https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000521.htm
  2. http://www.aafp.org/afp/2010/0915/p638.html
  3. http://bedsider.org/features/420-peeing-is-believing-what-you-should-know-about-sex-and-utis
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Article Info

Categories: Urinary Health