Urinary tract infections (UTI) are very common and typically uncomplicated. A strong urge to urinate, burning during urination, and cloudy urine are telltale signs of a UTI.
Some people are prone to UTIs, and the discomfort can be distressing, interfering with your work or school day. Dr. Timothy Scott Beck of Life Point Medical in Clayton, GA diagnoses and treats UTIs, and can provide guidance and resources on steps you can take to prevent recurrent infections.
What causes a UTI?
A UTI develops when bacteria that normally live in the vagina, genital, or anal area enter the urethra and cause infection. This can happen if you aren’t careful when wiping after going to the restroom, or when you have sex. Sometimes, even when you’re careful, you can still develop a UTI.
Because of the way the anatomy is designed, women are more likely to develop a UTI than men. However, men may be at increased risk for a UTI as they age, especially if they have an enlarged prostate that interferes with bladder emptying.
Women and men with certain conditions such as diabetes, kidney stones, and immune disorders are at a higher risk for UTIs also.
Warning signs of a UTI
UTIs often cause some pelvic discomfort. You might also experience symptoms like:
- Frequent urination
- Passing small amounts of urine
- Burning when urinating
- Persistent urge to urinate
- Feeling as if you didn’t completely empty your bladder
UTIs often resolve on their own, or Dr. Beck may prescribe a course of antibiotics to clear the infection and help you feel better within a few days.
It isn’t always possible to avoid UTIs, but there are some steps you can take to lower your risk.
1.Stay on top of hydration
Drinking enough water during the day flushes your system and prevents bacteria from accumulating. Staying hydrated is a simple, yet powerful way to combat recurrent UTIs.
When you have a UTI, it’s wise to avoid beverages that can irritate your bladder, such as caffeinated drinks and alcoholic beverages.
2. Avoid holding your bladder
Waiting to urinate can encourage the growth of bacteria in your urinary tract. When you feel the urge to urinate, avoid holding it.
You should also urinate before and after you have sex to flush out bacteria.
3. Stick to natural hygiene products
Feminine hygiene products that contain scents and certain harsh chemicals can disrupt the natural balance of bacteria found in your vagina and genitals. If you use feminine hygiene products, check labels and opt for scent-free, natural products.
4. Discuss contraceptive options
Barrier forms of contraceptives, such as a diaphragm, may increase the risk of UTIs. If you use barrier contraceptives and find that you’re having recurrent UTIs, it’s wise to speak with Dr. Beck about other steps you can take to lower the chances of developing a UTI. If you have frequent infections, you might need to change the method of birth control you use.
5. Practice good hygiene
In addition to wiping from front to back after using the bathroom, it’s crucial to practice other good hygiene habits. Wearing cotton underwear and avoiding tight pants can help reduce your risk for UTIs.
Good hygiene also prevents irritation of the skin in and around your genitals that can increase your risk for infection and other complications.
If you have UTI symptoms, our providers can diagnose your symptoms and provide solutions. To get started, call our office at 706-534-6566 to schedule a visit or request an appointment online today.