An eternal life of unsweetened cranberry juice and vitamin C awaits us lest we actively prevent those pesky urinary tract infections (UTIs).
They begin when bacteria, usually from the bowel, make their way into any part of the urinary tract. This can include the kidneys, ureter, bladder, or urethra.
Though these infections can affect anyone, they are more common in women because men have longer urethras, and therefore present a greater challenge to bacteria as they attempt to travel into the bladder.
Symptoms of UTIs
UTIs are often symptomless, but they can involve the following:
- A burning sensation while urinating
- Strong-smelling urine
- A strong, persistent urge to urinate
- Cloudy urine
- Muscle aches or other abnormal pains
- Nausea and vomiting
To decrease your likelihood of developing this kind of infection, here are seven habits to avoid:
Holding in your pee
Despite the occasional necessity of waiting to go to the bathroom, doing so often can weaken the bladder muscles, says Dr. Adam Ramin of Urology Cancer Specialists. Also, the longer the urine remains in the bladder, the greater the likelihood of exposure to potentially harmful bacteria.
Doing this makes expelling bacteria that cause UTIs less likely, thereby increasing your risk of infection.
Not drinking enough water decreases the frequency of urination, which prevents bacteria from being properly cleaned out of your system.
This kind of underwear can more easily introduce fecal matter from your rectum into your vagina than other kinds of underwear, and can therefore increase your risk of developing an infection.
Not urinating after sex
Sexual intercourse introduces bacteria up the urethra, and urinating will encourage it to “flush out.”
Using perfumed products or douches
The vagina cleans itself. Douching or using perfumed products can change your body’s pH balance, thereby increasing your risk of infection.
Wearing wet clothing
Not changing clothes after the gym or pool for extended periods of time can create a moist environment that is ideal for UTI-causing bacteria to flourish.