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6 Tips for Preventing a UTI (And What to Do When You Have One)

American women are no strangers to urinary tract infections (UTIs). They drive millions of visits to healthcare providers annually in this country. And, as many as four in 10 women who get a UTI get another one within six months.

With over two decades of experience, board-certified OB/GYN Darin L. Weyhrich, MD,  has a lot of knowledge to impart in this area. Here’s what he tells patients at his practice in Boise, Idaho.

Learn to recognize a UTI and take action

Before discussing prevention tips, let's discuss common signs of UTIs and why prompt action is essential.

A UTI occurs when bacteria make their way up your urethra and create an infection in your lower urinary tract, including your bladder.  Signs of this come on quickly and include:

If the infection travels up to your kidneys, you may also experience fever, chills, and pain in your lower back.

If you experience any of these signs, you need to make an appointment with Dr. Weyhrich immediately. Most UTIs respond well to a quick course of antibiotics, which should relieve symptoms within a day or two.

Aside from getting much-needed relief, you should seek immediate medical attention to prevent the infection from spreading higher up in your urinary tract and into your kidneys.

Rules of thumb for preventing UTIs

To prevent a UTI, follow the following guidelines:

Wipe from front to back

One reason women get more UTIs than men is that the opening of the urethra is close to the anus, and cross-contamination can occur. So, always wipe front to back when you go to the bathroom.

Refrain from holding urine

You want to avoid delaying urination as much as possible. Holding your urine is a perfect opportunity for bacteria to go to work, whereas frequent urination flushes out your urinary tract.

Drink plenty of fluids

Another great way to prevent bacteria from settling in is to drink plenty of fluids, preferably water. Drinking eight glasses of water daily keeps your urinary tract free and clear of bacteria.

Urinate after sex

This tip is also for women: Always urinate immediately after intercourse. When you have intercourse, bacteria can get introduced, and you want to eliminate them as quickly as possible.

Avoid lingering in swimsuits or sweaty clothes

Another tip is to avoid sitting around in wet bathing suits or sweaty clothes like yoga pants. Bacteria prefer dank, dark environments, which describes what happens when you linger in damp clothing.

Be careful of spermicides

If you use spermicides for birth control, know that these creams can harbor UTI-causing bacteria. So, if you use spermicides and get frequent UTIs, it’s time to explore other birth control methods.

Don’t procrastinate treatment

If you have more questions about UTIs or need treatment, book an appointment with Dr. Weyhrich today. Call the office at (208) 342-2516, or reach out online.

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