By Regina Edmond, MD
Urinary tract infections (UTIs), which are more common among women, account for between 8 million and 9 million visits to health care providers annually. After experiencing a UTI, a woman is more susceptible to recurrent infections. However, there are preventive measures that can be taken to reduce this risk.
1. Drink plenty of fluids. Drinking lots of water helps to dilute urine and causes more frequent urination that flushes bacteria out of the bladder. In addition, drinking cranberry juice daily can prevent infections because the fruit contains special substances that prevent bacteria from adhering to the urinary tract walls.
2. Don’t hold it. Resisting the urge to urinate prevents bacteria from being flushed out and can lead to an infection by allowing bacteria to multiply.
3. Wipe from front to back. This is especially important after a bowel movement in order to avoid transferring bacteria from the anus to the vagina or urethra.
4. Urinate after sexual intercourse. Doing so flushes out bacteria that gets pushed into the urethra during sexual intercourse, which reduces the risk of a UTI.
About the Author:
Dr. Regina Edmond received her medical degree from Michigan State University and completed her residency training in obstetrics and gynecology at Martin Luther King/Drew Medical Center. Dr. Edmond currently practices in Los Angeles.