Tips to Avoid Getting a Urinary Tract Infection This Summer

A urinary tract infection (UTI) occurs when bacteria infect your urinary system, which includes your urethra, bladder, ureters, and kidneys. Most UTIs originate from bacteria that enter your body through your urethra and grow to infect points along your urinary system. As the affected areas become irritated, you experience varying degrees of pain and discomfort.

Most UTIs affect the urethra and bladder, causing symptoms that include a burning sensation and discharge if your urethra is infected or bloody urine and pelvic pressure if your bladder is infected.

But a UTI that infects your kidneys can result in more serious symptoms. A kidney infection causes intense pain, fever, nausea, and vomiting. It also increases the possibility that the bacteria will travel into your bloodstream and put you at risk for life-threatening problems.  

At East Houston OB/GYN, Beryl Randolph, MD, and her staff provide expert diagnosis and treatment for women suffering from UTIs. As a board-certified obstetrician and gynecologist, Dr. Randolph also has the expertise to determine whether your UTI indicates an underlying condition that requires further treatment.

Don’t assume that you’re immune to UTIs if you haven’t had one. Up to 60% of women experience a UTI at least once in their lives, according to the American Urological Association.

If you want to enjoy summertime activities without the discomfort of a UTI, Dr. Randolph recommends these tips to avoid this infection and to stay healthy and active this summer.

Drink plenty of fluids

You can prevent a UTI by drinking plenty of fluids, especially water. Water encourages you to urinate more frequently, which flushes bacteria out of your urinary system. It also dilutes your urine and makes it more difficult for any existing bacteria to grow.

Remind yourself to drink more water during the summer. Higher temperatures cause sweating and dehydration, which deplete your body’s water supply and its ability to fight UTIs.

You may have heard that drinking unsweetened cranberry juice helps prevent UTIs. Cranberries contain A-type proanthocyanidins, which prevent E. coli and other bacteria from bonding to your bladder wall. But most juices don’t have enough of this specific ingredient to guarantee this effect, according to the Cleveland Clinic. While drinking cranberry juice can’t hurt, there’s no conclusive evidence that it has a consistently preventive effect.

Practice good personal hygiene

Keep your genitals and the surrounding areas clean to prevent the transfer of E. coli and bacteria from your anus to your urethra or vagina. You also can avoid introducing bacteria into these areas by doing the following:

Empty your bladder regularly

Don’t delay urinating when you feel the urge. You should empty your bladder about every two to three hours to flush out any bacteria before they cause an infection. No matter when you urinate, always take the time to make sure your bladder is completely empty.

You should also urinate soon after sex to remove bacteria that may have entered your urethra. Also, wash to remove traces of spermicides or scented lubricants that may remain after intercourse.

Wear loose-fitting clothes

Loose-fitting, breathable clothes and cotton underwear help keep your genitals dry because they don’t trap moisture. Tight-fitting clothes and synthetic materials such as nylon, especially in underwear, retain moisture. This creates an environment that encourages bacteria to grow.  

Seek medical attention for symptoms

UTIs are so common, you may get one even if you do everything right. Treatments provide quick relief when you get an early diagnosis. You may have a UTI if you experience any of the following symptoms:

Dr. Randolph and her staff at East Houston OB/GYN provide effective treatment for UTI symptoms. They also offer total gynecological care to help you reduce UTI recurrence and stay healthy.

Don’t wait if you think you have a UTI. Make an appointment with Dr. Randolph today by using the online booking tool or calling our office.

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