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How to Prevent Bladder Infections

Did you know that more than half of the women in the world will have at least one UTI in their lifetime?

Urinary Tract Infections, commonly referred to as UTIs are mostly identified in the female population. A UTI is also known as a bladder infection and can be extremely painful if left untreated.

Jourdan Schmitz, an OB/GYN physician with St. Clair Medical Group says, “UTIs are caused by bacteria or, rarely, yeast getting into your urinary tract. Once the bacteria are there, they can multiply and cause inflammation (swelling) and pain. A small amount of bacteria doesn’t normally cause an infection because the urine itself doesn’t give the bacteria an opportunity to travel up into the urinary tract. When you urinate, the flow simply flushes away bacteria that might harm you.”

UTIs are common, but there are certainly simple tips to minimize the risk of getting one. Some easy tips to preventing a bladder infection include:

  1. Avoid holding your urine
    • Holding your urine allows for bacteria to grow and multiply the longer you hold it. It’s recommended to urinate every three to four hours and completely empty your bladder each time. This will help prevent possible bacteria growth.
  2. Drink Plenty of Water
    • Hydration is the key component to flushing out the bacteria from your urinary tract. Drinking more fluids will help the process of you urinating every three to four hours.
  3. Explore Birth Control Options
    • Unfortunately, some birth control, like spermicides, may drive an increase in harmful bacteria growth. It’s important to discuss any possible UTI symptoms with your OB/GYN provider, both to get treatment and to make sure you’re using the right birth control for you and your body.
  4. Get Antibiotics
    • UTIs often need treatment with antibiotics. Sometimes, they can even come back after treatment. If this is the case, your provider may provide oral antibiotics to take daily that will eliminate the bacteria and prevent it from growing.
  5. Take Probiotics
    • Many providers encourage taking probiotics regularly as they can provide health benefits when consumed, generally by improving or restoring the gut flora. Probiotics may also increase the growth of “good” bacteria in the body. Talk to your provider about whether a probiotic may be helpful for you.
  6. Urinate After Intercourse
    • Intercourse can increase the chances of getting a UTI, especially if you’re a woman. Bacteria can easily enter the urethra during sex. To reduce your risk, some studies have suggested that urinating within 30 minutes after sexual intercourse could flush out any harmful bacteria.
  7. Wipe Front to Back
    • Since the rectum is a main source of UTI causing bacteria, like E.coli, it’s best to wipe your genitals from front to back after using the bathroom. This habit decreases the risk of bringing bacteria from the anus to the urethra.

“UTIs can seem embarrassing, and some patients may be nervous or uncomfortable expressing this type of discomfort to their provider. Patients should know that these are very common conditions that we are able to help treat,” says Dr. Schmitz. “At St. Clair Medical Group OB/GYN, we are here to make personable connections with our patients and ensure compassionate and expert care.”