If you’ve ever had the misfortune of developing a urinary tract infection (UTI) then you know that it is not a pleasant experience. You constantly feel as though you have to urinate, but relief never comes because when you go to the bathroom you’re lucky if you can squeeze out more than a few drops. And you’ll pay a hefty price for those drops in the form of a painful burning sensation. UTIs are very common and fortunately very treatable. There are also a few easy things you can do to prevent urinary tract infections from developing in the first place.
- Wipe from front to back following a bowel movement to prevent the spread of bacteria
- Drink plenty of fluid – especially water and cranberry juice – this helps flush bacteria out of your urinary system
- Do not try to hold your bladder – try to go to the restroom as soon as you feel the urge
- Try to urinate both before and after sex
- Wear breathable underwear, preferably with a cotton lining in the crotch region – other fabrics trap moisture and can foster the growth of bacteria
- Avoid the use of douches or feminine hygiene sprays
UTIs develop when bacteria from the bowel is spread to the urinary tract through the urethra. The reason women are so prone to developing UTIs is due to the short length of the urethra, giving the bacteria a very short distance to travel to get to the urinary tract. If you are experiencing the symptoms of a UTI, visit your doctor right away. A simple urinalysis can determine whether or not you have an infection, and antibiotics can be prescribed accordingly. The sooner you start taking the antibiotics, the faster you will feel relief and be on the road to recovery.
If a UTI goes untreated, there is a chance that the infection could spread from the bladder to the kidneys, which then becomes a more serious matter. An untreated kidney infection could cause permanent damage to your kidneys and the bacteria could continue to spread into your bloodstream, which is potentially life-threatening. The early signs of a UTI are hard to ignore, so if you feel any of the symptoms call your doctor right away and put an end to the infection before it has a chance to spread and inflict more pain and discomfort.