UTI prevention: Is there anything you can do to be proactive about urinary health?
UTIs are one of the great literal and figurative pains in this world, and UTI prevention is at the top of mind for those of us who suffer from frequent UTIs. If you get recurrent UTIs, you’re probably familiar with the vague stinging and itching that signals the start of a UTI. The next 4 hours are probably spent frantically trying to get ahold of your doctor, followed by a visit to the pharmacist and the long hours between the time you take your first antibiotic and the pain begins to subside.
What can you do to get ahead of UTIs?
UTIs are thankfully very easily treated by antibiotics, but what do you do if you’re someone who wants to be proactive instead of reactive? UTI prevention will be more difficult for some people who are naturally more prone to UTIs. However, no matter what your propensity is, there are a handful of things you can do to prevent UTIs.
There are a handful of ways you can help your body boost its natural defenses against urinary tract infections:
- Stay well hydrated. Urination is your body’s best natural defense against UTIs, and the better hydrated you are the better your body can fend for itself.
- Urinate immediately and fully — don’t hold it in. Go to the bathroom regularly and flush bad bacteria out of your urinary tract. Make sure you completely emptied your bladder and clean from front to back.
- Avoid baths if you’re especially prone to UTIs and opt for showers instead.
- Urinate soon after having sex to flush out bacteria.
- Wear cotton underwear for maximum breathability.
- Evaluate your birth control options if you’re suffering from repeat UTIs. Diaphragm, unlubricated condoms or spermicidal jelly for contraception may increase the risk of developing a UTI.
- Try to avoid or dramatically limit consuming items which increase your bladder pH. This includes sugar, processed and pre-packaged ready-made items, caffeine, alcohol, dairy products, red meat and other animal protein, fish, lots of corn, wheat, and potatoes.
- If you are post-menopausal, speak with your physician about how your hormonal changes could be impacting your risk of UTIs. Some physicians recommend estrogen supplements to help.
- Take the over-the-counter supplement, Uqora, a simple drink mix designed to fight off bacteria and improve urinary health when you need it most, like after sex or prolonged exercise. Uqora’s active ingredients hinder bacteria from adhering to the urethral wall. Uqora also helps you flush out bacteria quickly and supports the immune system with fighting off UTI’s.
Implications of using antibiotics for UTI prevention
Physicians often recommend using antibiotics to prevent UTIs, not just treat them. It is worth noting that while prophylactic antibiotics are effective in staving of UTIs, using antibiotics to prevent UTIs can have serious drawbacks.
For one, while antibiotics do strip our body of the bad bacteria that can cause UTIs, they also strip our body of the good bacteria we need to keep a balanced vagina. Without the good bacteria, yeast infections can more easily set in.
Additionally, while antibiotics kill almost all the bacteria in question, it doesn’t always kill all the bacteria. When some bacteria is able to survive antibiotics, that bacteria develops resistance to the drug. As the resistant bacteria reproduces, they give rise to new populations that are similarly resistant. Pretty soon, that bacteria could have given rise to entire generations of antibiotic resistant bacteria.
So while antibiotics are certainly a tempting UTI prevention method for someone who repeatedly suffers from UTIs, it is worth noting that overusing antibiotics comes with potential risk and side effects.