A UTI is an infection that occurs in the urinary tract, which includes the bladder, urethra, ureters, and kidneys. common health issue that affects many people, especially women. UTIs are caused by bacteria entering the urinary tract and can lead to symptoms such as pain or burning during urination, frequent urge to urinate, cloudy or strong-smelling urine, and low-grade fever. In severe cases, UTIs can also lead to kidney infections, which can be life-threatening.
There are several factors that can increase the risk of developing a UTI, including:
- Gender: Women are more prone to UTIs due to their anatomy, as the urethra is shorter in women than in men, making it easier for bacteria to reach the bladder.
- Sexual activity: Sexual activity can increase the risk of UTIs, especially if you use certain types of contraceptives, such as diaphragms or spermicides.
- Age: As people get older, they are more likely to develop UTIs due to changes in the bladder and urinary tract that occur with aging.
- Pregnancy: Pregnant women are at a higher risk of UTIs due to the pressure that the uterus puts on the bladder.
- Poor hygiene: Failing to clean the genital area properly can increase the risk of UTIs.
- Medical conditions: Certain medical conditions, such as a weakened immune system, can increase the risk of UTIs.
If you suspect you have a UTI, it is important to seek medical attention promptly. There are several ways to prevent UTIs, especially if you are prone to getting them.
1. Keep the Urinary Tract Clean
The first step in preventing UTIs is to keep the urinary tract clean. This can be done by wiping from front to back after using the toilet and avoiding the use of scented or deodorant products around the genital area. Women should also urinate after sexual intercourse to flush out any bacteria that may have entered the urinary tract.
2. Stay Hydrated
Drinking plenty of water is crucial for preventing UTIs. Water helps flush out bacteria from the urinary tract and reduces the concentration of bacteria in the urine, making it less likely for infections to occur. Aim to drink at least 8 glasses of water a day to stay hydrated.
3. Wear Breathable Underwear
Wearing breathable underwear made of cotton can also help prevent UTIs. Synthetic fabrics like polyester can trap moisture and create a warm, moist environment that is ideal for bacteria to grow. Cotton, on the other hand, is a breathable fabric that allows air to circulate and keeps the area dry, reducing the risk of UTIs.
4. Avoid Holding in Urine
Holding in urine for extended periods of time can lead to a build-up of bacteria in the urinary tract, increasing the risk of UTIs. Make sure to urinate regularly, especially after sexual intercourse, to prevent the buildup of bacteria in the urinary tract.
5. Use the Toilet Regularly
Using the toilet regularly, especially after sexual intercourse, is important to prevent UTIs. This helps flush out any bacteria that may have entered the urinary tract and reduces the concentration of bacteria in the urine.
6. Practice Good Sexual Hygiene
Sexual activity can increase the risk of UTIs, as bacteria from the rectal area can enter the urinary tract. Practicing good sexual hygiene, such as urinating before and after sexual intercourse, and using a barrier method like condoms can help reduce the risk of UTIs.
7. Avoid Irritants
Avoiding irritants, such as harsh soaps, powders, and douches, can also help prevent UTIs. These products can disrupt the natural balance of bacteria in the urinary tract and increase the risk of infections.
UTIs are a common health issue that can cause discomfort and pain. By following the tips, you can reduce your risk of UTIs and enjoy a healthy, comfortable life. If you experience symptoms of a UTI, it is important to see a doctor promptly, as treatment can help prevent complications and serious infections.
About The Author
Dr. Coco is a highly-educated and well-qualified primary care physician who graduated from the University of the Philippines Baguio with a Bachelor of Science in Biology and her Doctor of Medicine degree from the University of the East Ramon Magsaysay Memorial Medical Center. She completed her three-year residency training in Family Medicine at Brokenshire Medical Center. She passed her diplomate exams in Family Medicine, given by the Philippine Academy of Family Physicians in 2018.
Dr. Coco is dedicated to providing comprehensive and holistic care for her patients. She is a primary care physician who believes in delivering continuing comprehensive health care for all. To her, patients are not just a number as she takes time to analyse how she can improve their overall health every chance they can get.