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Urinary Tract Infection

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Once a person has had a urinary tract infection (UTI), there are actions that can be taken to prevent recurrences.

  • Frequent sexual intercourse is associated with recurrent UTIs in young women. Staying well hydrated and urinating after sex may help prevent UTIs. Avoiding the use of spermicidal foams and jellies, products (such as condoms) containing spermicides, and barrier methods of birth control (such as diaphragms) may reduce the frequency of UTIs. Individuals may wish to consult their healthcare provider about alternative methods of birth control.
  • Women who are prone to UTIs may wish to ask their healthcare provider to prescribe an antibiotic to be taken immediately before or after sex.
  • Postmenopausal women may benefit from the use of topical estrogen and probiotics. Topical estrogen normalizes vaginal pH, which will help support the growth of lactobacilli or "good bacteria." The lactobacilli in probiotics can then colonize the vagina and prevent the overgrowth of bacteria that can cause UTIs.
  • Drink plenty of fluids each day. This will dilute the urine and keep it moving through the urinary tract, making it more difficult for bacteria to adhere to the walls of the urethra.
  • Urinary tract infections occur when bacteria from the anus enter the urethra. This can occur when a person is constipated or has diarrhea and does not wipe themselves properly, so maintaining regularity can be an important factor in preventing UTIs.
  • Cranberry juice and cranberry supplements have unproven benefit in reducing urinary tract infections. Most studies have shown that cranberry juice and supplements don't contain enough of the active ingredient that can keep UTI-causing bacteria from sticking to the urinary tract. Cranberry supplements appear to be most effective in younger women.

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