UTI Prevention

Urinary tract infections are not only very painful, but also a huge pain to deal with.  They’re also super common—UTIs are the second most common infection in the U.S., affecting half of all women.

Prevention is key to avoiding a UTI, so ensuring that you’re taking the right precautions is essential. Since 50% of women (and about 10% of men) will experience at least one UTI in their lifetime, this infection is not unfamiliar to most — but the fact that UTIs are common doesn’t make it less frustrating, especially when you’re taking all of the steps to prevent UTIs, but still getting UTIs. Here are some of those common prevention tips:

Incorporating everyday prevention techniques

Some of the most common prevention techniques are at-home habits, which might include: 

  • Drinking cranberry juice or taking cranberry capsules
  • Staying well-hydrated
  • Wiping from front to back
  • Peeing after sex
  • Using unscented body wash and feminine products
  • Opting for cotton underwear (and avoiding spandex and other less-breathable materials)
  • Avoiding holding your bladder for long periods of time
  • Avoiding douches, and certain birth controls (like spermicide and the diaphragm
  • Taking urinary health supplements (like Uqora)

For many — especially women who experience recurring UTIs — these preventative measures won’t always be enough. Sometimes no matter how hard you try, it just feels like your body is turning against you. If these at-home methods don’t work, your doctor may suggest antibiotics to assist with UTI prevention. 

Preventative Antibiotic Use

Preventative antibiotics are used to help prevent the development of a urinary tract infection. Usually, your doctor may prescribe one of two preventatives medications depending on the cause and consistency of your UTI, such as: 

  • Antimicrobial Prophylaxis, which is for recurrent UTI prevention
  • Postcoital Prophylaxis, which is for UTIs that develop from sex

These conventional preventatives are used to eliminate bacteria, which helps with UTI prevention. However, since these antibiotics are usually used on a long-term basis to treat chronic infections, some complications can come with excessive use of antibiotics. 

Risk #1: Antibiotics could affect your gut health

The human gut doesn’t just affect the gut. It can affect a person’s overall mood, health, and wellbeing — which is probably why it’s nicknamed as “the second brain.” Consistent use of antibiotics can affect the gut in a negative way. Antibiotics work to destroy all of the harmful bacteria, but they can’t differentiate between what’s good and bad. So in turn, antibiotics often eliminate bacteria that helps keep the gut healthy. Without the good bacteria present in large enough quantities to keep us balanced, we can become, more susceptible to other illnesses. 

Risk #2: You could develop antibiotic resistance

Antibiotics are designed to help your body ward off unwanted bacteria, and generally, they’re super effective at doing just that. The bad news? Bacteria are evolving quickly: they are adapting to today’s common antibiotics and becoming harder to kill. And the more antibiotics we take, the more quickly this process of antibiotic resistance develops.

Risk #3: There are side effects

When you go to fill any prescription, your pharmacist will give you instructions and tell you what to expect. Often, various side effects might take place, including nausea, fever, and even fungal infections like vaginal yeast infections. And adding those in the wake of a UTI is the last thing you need.

Risk #4: Antibiotics get costly

The cost of antibiotics can add up, especially if you aren’t insured. And when you add the price of antibiotics to the costs associated with a doctor’s visit, it can really add up — especially if you have recurring UTIs. If you’ve been prescribed long-term antibiotics like antimicrobial or postcoital Prophylaxis, you will have to refill throughout the year, which could get costly fast. 

As we’ve discussed, there are a lot of good reasons to use antibiotics sparingly. While many physicians will recommend antibiotics as an aspect of preventive care, it’s always a good idea to look into more natural solutions and a strong at-home preventive regimen before signing up to continual antibiotic use. 

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