4 easy ways to help prevent Urinary Tract Infections

Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are very common particularly in women, babies and the elderly. Around one in two women and one in 20 men will get a UTI in their lifetime. The kidneys control the amount of water in the blood and filter out waste products to form urine. Each kidney has a tube called a ureter, which joins the kidney to the bladder. The urine leaves the kidneys through the ureters and enters the bladder. The bladder ‘signals’ the urge to urinate and urine leaves the body through a tube called the urethra. The urinary system is designed to minimise the risk of serious infection in the kidneys. It does this by preventing the urine from flowing back up into the kidneys from the bladder. The majority of urinary infections are confined to the bladder and, while causing symptoms, are not serious or life threatening. UTIs are caused by micro-organisms or germs, usually bacteria. The different types of UTI can include: (1) Urethritis – infection of the urethra(2) Cystitis – infection of the bladder(3) Pyelonephritis – infection of the kidneys. ...

There are a number of general guidelines and suggestions that will help avoid urinary tract infections in most instances, applicable especially for women. These may include hygiene, clothing, diet and physical activities:

(1) Hygiene: Wipe and wash front to back. Always wipe from the front to the back after using the bathroom; take showers and avoid prolonged baths to avoid bacteria reaching the bladder opening area; Use tampons for periods rather than sanitary napkins or pads because they keep the bladder opening area drier and limit bacterial overgrowth; try to empty the bladder at least every 4 hours during the day while awake, even if the need or urge to void is absent.

(2) Clothing: Wearing tight-fitting undergarments made of nonbreathing materials determines moisture to build up . This leads to maceration of the skin and bacterial over growth adjacent to the opening of the bladder Cotton underwear for general use is suggested.

(3) Diet: Drink more water. Start with 1 extra glass with each meal. If the urine appears any darker than a very pale yellow, this means not enough liquid is being ingested; increase the fluid intake.

(4) Physical Activities: When engaging in physical activity and exercise, make sure to empty the bladder frequently and drink plenty of water and other fluids. Take special precautions after sexual activity; such activity may also increase risk because it can introduce bacteria into the bladder area. The bladder should be emptied after intercourse; drink 2 extra glasses of water. ...

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