Preventive measures to reduce the risk of a UTI

Unpleasant and often painful, urinary tract infections (UTIs) like cystitis are a concern for all women.

While some women will be more prone to UTIs than others, such as those who have gone past menopause or living with diabetes, there are still many preventive measures you can take to avoid getting a UTI in the future. Here are just a few…

Drink enough water

water

The US Institute of Medicine recommends women aim to consume 2.7 litres of water a day to help the body function properly and remove waste.

Most of us know we should be drinking more water due to the various health benefits of good hydration, but many women aren’t aware that drinking enough fluids has a direct correlation with your chance of developing a UTI.

When you drink more water, you’ll have to use the bathroom more often and flush out your bladder more frequently. Aside from helping things move through the urinary tract, fluids will dilute the urine in your bladder, making it harder for bacteria to grow.

Choose your contraceptives carefully

If past experience has taught you you’re prone to UTIs, it’s a good idea to avoid both diaphragms and spermicides.

Diaphragms are relatively harmless for most women but can become an issue if they make it hard for you to completely empty your bladder.

Spermicides, however, are implicated in many more cases of UTIs. They’ve been known not only to introduce foreign bacteria to the vagina, but also offset the vagina’s healthy PH level, which can allow bacteria to thrive.

Keep your oestrogen topped-up

If you’ve just gone past menopause, or your hormone levels are a little erratic for any other reason, you may need to go out of your way to make sure you have a healthy level of oestrogen.

Oestrogen helps to maintain a healthy balance of good bacteria in the vagina, and if levels drop too low it can give harmful bacteria a chance to multiply.

It’s recommended that – if you’re past menopause and don’t have a family history of breast or uterine cancer – you should try applying a small dab of oestrogen cream to the vagina 2-3 times a week. This should help balance out the bacteria levels and reduce your chances of getting a UTI.

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