If you’ve ever experienced a urinary tract infection, you know just how painful it can be if left untreated. The most common symptoms of urinary tract infections (UTIs) include an urgent need to urinate and pain while urinating. More severe symptoms include fever and lower back pain.
The bacteria E. coli is typically the cause of most UTIs. E. coli normally lives in the digestive tract, but it occasionally works its way into the urinary tract, leading to an infection.
Though not usually a serious health concern, the discomfort of this common condition is enough reason to take preventative action. Here are some easy tips for stopping UTIs before they even start:
Drink water regularly to help flush out any bacteria that accumulate in the bladder. Notice signs of dehydration in the color of your urine. The lighter your urine, the more hydrated you are. If your urine is very dark yellow, brown, or red in color, visit your doctor.
Don’t hold it in.
When you have to go, GO! Listen to your body’s signals when you need to urinate. Resisting the urge to urinate when your bladder is full encourages bacteria to grow.
Cut back on caffeine.
Overdoing it on caffeinated beverages can lead to irritation of the bladder. You don’t have to kick your caffeine habit altogether, but if you’re prone to UTIs, try to reduce your intake. Balance each cup of coffee with a glass of water to flush out the caffeine.
Eat your cranberries.
Cranberries can be effective in preventing urinary tract infections, as they hinder E. coli bacteria from sticking to the urinary tract. Try to drink a glass of cranberry juice each day, or take cranberry tablets if you dislike the taste, calories, or acidity of the juice (can irritate the bladder during an active infection). Cranberry tablets are available over-the-counter at most pharmacies and health food stores.
Practice healthy hygiene.
These basic tips for healthy hygiene are simple: Shower frequently. Wipe front to back. Urinate after intercourse. Practicing habits like these can help you in all aspects of your health. Find more helpful tips regarding hygiene here.
If you do get a UTI, see a doctor to receive a prescription for an antibiotic. In as little as a day, your symptoms should disappear and the pain will be a distant memory!