Urinary tract infections (UTIs) affect nearly 50% of women at least once in their lifetimes. UTIs can infect any part of the urinary tract. This type of infection can be treated with antibiotics. If left untreated, the infection may progress and affect the kidneys; in such cases, the individual might need to be hospitalized immediately.
The exact cause why some people get recurrent UTIs, and others don’t is not well understood. However, women are more prone to UTIs than men, as they have a shorter urethra that is close to the anus, allowing the bacteria to enter the urinary tract easily.
But, men are more likely to get recurrent UTIs, because the bacteria may reach the deep tissues of the prostate that cannot be eliminated easily. Also, people with diabetes who have trouble peeing are more prone to repeated UTIs.
In people with chronic UTI, the infection might progress to other parts of the urinary tract despite the treatment, or it may recur after the treatment.
Some simple steps can be adopted in the daily routine to reduce the risk of UTI. But, it must be noted that these techniques may work for some individuals and may not be effective for others.
This article will provide an insight into the habits that may increase the risk of infection and suggest ways to prevent recurrent UTI.
Waiting to pee:
- Holding in urine for long hours allows the bacteria to multiply rapidly in individuals with a history of UTI.
- During sexual intercourse, the urethra is exposed to several bacteria that can cause the infection. So, it is advised to urinate after sex and when you feel the urge.
- Individuals who take baths in a tub or a jacuzzi are at high risk of recurrent UTI.
- Soaking in a bath for long durations allows the bacteria and other chemicals to enter the urinary tract easily.
- Thus, it is recommended to take showers instead of baths with scented soaps, salts, or bath oils.
Not drinking enough water:
- Individuals who do not consume enough fluids are at increased risk of recurrent UTI.
- Drinking plenty of water, fills the bladder frequently. When urinating, the pee flushes the bacteria in and around the urethra.
- Hence, it is suggested to drink 6 to 8 glasses of water, fruit juices, herbal teas, and other beverages to reduce the risk of infection in individuals previously diagnosed with UTI.
Shunning citrus fruits:
- People who do not eat vitamin C containing fruits are prone to recurrent UTIs.
- Ascorbic acid or vitamin C increases the acidity of the urine and inhibits the growth of bacteria.
- Cranberry juice without sugar is believed to prevent the adherence of bacteria onto the urinary tract.
- Thus, it is advised to include citrus fruits such as lemon, oranges, grapefruits, kiwifruit and cranberry juice in your diet.
Using feminine products:
- Feminine hygiene products used on the genitals may irritate the urinary tract and increase the risk of UTI recurrence.
- Avoid the use of products like the intimate washes, scented sprays, douches, fragrant tampons, and scented sanitary napkins.
- Instead, cleanse the area with sterile water and use unscented tampons.
Wearing undergarments of synthetic material:
- Underwear made of synthetic fabrics trap the moisture and keeps the genital area moist and warm.
- These undergarments increase the risk of infections.
- Instead of using silk, polyester, or nylon undergarments, wear cotton fabrics that are more breathable, letting air to circulate and avoiding the bacterial growth.
Wiping from back to front:
- Wiping in the wrong direction, i.e., from back to front, allows the bacteria from the anus to enter the urinary tract, especially for women.
- This increases the risk of developing UTI. So, while using a tissue paper, wipe from front to back to prevent recurrent UTI.
UTIs are troublesome for most individuals. Some individuals are more prone to the recurrence of the infection.
The habits mentioned above can enhance the risk of recurrence. So, it is advised to avoid these habits to reduce the incidence of UTI. In case the infection progresses, seek immediate medical intervention.