Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are infections of the bladder, kidneys, prostate, or other urinary organs. In women, simple UTIs are very common. UTIs are caused by bacteria. They can usually be treated with antibiotics and drinking plenty of water. Sometimes, surgery may be needed.
An urinary tract infection (UTI) can be painful and frustrating, especially if it keeps coming back. While antibiotics generally clear up a UTI within a few days, there are also some simple measures you can take yourself to help prevent getting an UTI in the first place.
And in case you have any UIT symptoms; at HelloDoc Health you can do a free online assessment to quickly find out if you have an UTI. If so, you can directly book a telehealth consult with one of our doctors for diagnosis, treatment and prescription (if required).
Keep bacteria out of your system
To say goodbye to burning, frequent urination and other unpleasant symptoms, start with these changes today:
- Drink plenty of water, and relieve yourself often. The simplest way to prevent a UTI is to flush bacteria out of the bladder and urinary tract before it can settle in. If you are well-hydrated, it will be tough to go too long without going to the bathroom.
- Wipe from front to back. Bacteria tend to hang around the anus. If you wipe from front to back, especially after a bowel movement, they are less likely to make it to the urethra.
- Wash up before sex, and pee afterward. Use soap and water before sex. This keeps bacteria away from the urethra. And peeing afterward carries any bacteria that entered the urinary tract back out.
- Steer clear of irritating feminine products. Skip douches, deodorant sprays, scented powders, and other feminine products with fragrances or chemicals.
- Rethink your birth control. A diaphragm, spermicide, or spermicide-lubricated condom can make you more likely to get a UTI because they all can contribute to bacterial growth. If you often get UTIs and use one of these birth control methods, switch to a silicone-based lubricant for vaginal dryness, and consider trying another birth control method to see if it helps. Your doctor at HelloDoc Health can advise you about the best birth control options for you.
Check with your doctor at HelloDoc Health
If you get UTIs often, your doctor at HelloDoc Health may want you to:
- Start antibiotic treatment on your own when you have symptoms.
- Take a daily low dose of antibiotics for a while.
- Take a single dose of antibiotics after having sex.
After menopause, women have less estrogen in their bodies, which can cause vaginal dryness and make the urinary tract more vulnerable to infection. A vaginal cream with estrogen can help balance the area’s pH and allow “good” bacteria to flourish again.
Cranberry juice and supplements
There is probably no harm in trying, but they are not a proven fix: cranberry juice!
Over the years, a lot of studies have focused on a substance found in cranberries that is thought to prevent bacteria from sticking to the lining of the urinary tract. None of these studies have shown how much of this substance it would take to help prevent UTIs.
Drinking cranberry juice or taking cranberry pills is usually fine, unless you take a blood-thinning medication, a medication that affects your liver, or aspirin.
Probiotics, especially in a vaginal capsule, and D-mannose, a kind of natural sugar you can buy at health food stores, might help prevent unfriendly bacteria from growing in the urinary tract, but both need to be studied more.
You should talk to your doctor at HelloDoc Health before you try cranberries or any supplements to find out the right dose and to make sure they won’t cause other problems.
Bladder Infection Assessment
HelloDoc Health offers you a fast-track to diagnosis and treatment of bladder infections and UTIs: Bladder infection fast-track. Please fill out our free online questionnaire and get a treatment plan and advice by one of our doctors within 2 business hours (CET). Based on the outcome, you can directly book a 20-minute HelloDoc Health doctor video-based consult for diagnosis, treatment and e-prescription (€ 49.99 for all European countries).
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Sources: HelloDoc Health, WebMD