13 Ways To Prevent Recurrent Urinary Tract Infections
Prevent Recurrent Urinary Tract Infections – Are you continuously having symptoms of Urinary Tract Infection even after treatment? Are you still feeling that burning sensation while urinating or the cloudy foul-smelling urine? This may be a result of Recurrent urinary tract infection (rUTI). Nevertheless, a recurrent urinary tract infection is defined as an infection of the urinary system that occurs three consecutive times within 6 months.
Prevent Recurrent Urinary Tract Infections
However, an rUTI can occur in two ways;
A relapse of rUTI occurs when the implicated microorganism is the same as the previously treated organism. The common causes of relapse are;
- Improper treatment
- Wrong Choice of Antimicrobial agent
- Presence of reservoir for the microorganism
Here, the current microorganism is different from the previously treated organism. However, about 80% of Recurrent Urinary tract infections are reinfection rather than relapse. Hence, it accounts for a significant portion of all UTIs. The common causes of Reinfection include;
- Poor Hygiene
- Presence of Compromised immune system such as in HIV/AIDS
- Having an unhealthy sexual lifestyle
- Disease states that can encourage the bacteria colonization of the Urinary system e.g., Diabetes
As the case may be, whether reinfection or relapse, there are lifestyle modifications and some prophylactic drugs you can take to prevent or reduce the recurrence of a urinary tract infection. Below are things you need to do to help you reduce or stop the episodes.
Preventive Measures for Recurrent Urinary tract infections
Below are 13 suggested ways to reduce rUTI, however, in an event of not getting results from these preventive measures – you may need to see your doctor for proper examination.
1. Wipe from front to back
The female urethra appears to be prone to colonization with gram-negative bacilli due to its proximity to the anus. Hence, when either urinating or moving one’s bowels, it’s important to wipe from the front to the back. This helps to prevent spreading bacteria from the anal area to the vagina and urethra.
Also, the short length of the female urethra to that of the male is a predisposing factor to UTI and the reason why women suffer more rUTI than males.
2. Do not hold back urine for a long time
The Pathophysiology of UTI follows two common pathways; The descending pathway and the ascending pathway
The ascending pathway involves the invasion of the microorganism from the urethra to the upper parts of the urinary system. Contrary, the descending pathway of getting a Urinary tract infection allows the microorganisms from the kidney to find their way to the bladder.
Therefore, holding back urine for a long time gives the organism time to produce the adhesin proteins and attach to the walls of the bladder and subsequent invasion of tissues. Therefore, urinate as frequently as possible to get rid of bacteria and toxins.
3. Always urinate after intercourse
Sexual intercourse is one of the most effective ways of getting a urinary tract infection and other sexually transmitted diseases. Urinating after sexual intercourse builds the pressure that helps dislodge the microorganisms from sexual intercourse.
So then, I strongly recommend that you force yourself to urinate after sex even when the urge is not there.
4. Drink plenty of water daily
Most toxins and microorganisms are excreted through the kidney. Therefore, regular Water intake improves the glomerular filtration and flushing of bacteria during voiding. In 2017, a study of 140 women with Recurrent Urinary tract infections was divided into two groups. One of the groups received an extra 1.5-liters of fluid daily to their normal fluid intake while the other group continued with their normal daily fluid intake. After 12 months, those with extra 1.5-liters of water intake have lesser Recurrent Urinary tract infections than the control group.1
In summary, fluid or continuous water intake or hydrotherapy is a new way to keep your body free and fit from all illnesses including recurrent UTIs.
5. Improve your hygiene
Dirty toilets and wet or dirty underwear can serve as a reservoir for recurrent urinary tract infections, either re-infection, relapse, or both. Therefore, to avoid recurrent urinary tract infections, discard underwear used during the episodes of the urinary tract infection after treatment. Also, proper washing or wiping after urination or defecating is advised to avoid chances of infection.
In addition, try to keep your underwear away from a humid environment since they encourage the growth of microorganisms. Instead, try to expose them to the ultraviolet rays of the sun anytime you get the opportunity.
6. Choose better family planning options
The use of spermicides, cervical caps, diaphragm, spermicide-coated condoms, or any of the barrier methods of family planning can cause Urinary tracts infections. Besides, several studies have confirmed a higher risk of UTIs among women using a diaphragm with spermicides compared with sexually active women using other types of contraceptives.
7. Avoid products that irritate the urethra
Feminine deodorant sprays, vaginal douches and powders, bubble bath liquids, and bath oils can irritate the urethra and vagina, increasing your odds of infection. Consequently, these artificial products can destroy the good bacteria( normal floras) that protect your body from the bad ones and hence, expose you to UTI.3
Also, these products can alter the pH of the vagina and allow organisms to thrive under these favorable conditions.
8. The use of probiotics
Probiotics are drugs produced from live bacteria that help to fight other bacteria. The urogenital tract of a healthy woman contains lactobacilli as a normal flora that helps fight other external invaders. A study conducted in 2006 suggests that the use of probiotics especially lactobacilli can help prevent recurrent urinary tract infections.
9. Post-coital prophylaxis
If you always notice a UTI after sexual intercourse, postcoital prophylaxis is for you. This involves taking a single dose of an effective antimicrobial agent (e.g., nitrofurantoin 50 mg, trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole [TMP-SMX] 40/200 mg, or cephalexin 500 mg) after sexual intercourse.5
Ordinarily, these antimicrobial agents suppress the growth and multiplication of invaders only if they are sensitive to the drugs.
10. Estrogen therapy for postmenopausal women
Hormonal replacement therapy (estrogen or estrogen combined with progesterone) has proven to be helpful to women after the age of 45. One of its advantages is the prevention of recurrent urinary tract infections. Research by the North American menopause society in 2017 postulates that low dose effective estrogen helps restore genitourinary tract anatomy and increase superficial vaginal cells. These mechanisms help ward off invaders that may colonize the urinary tract.
11. Use of Cranberry supplements and juices
Cranberry has been helpful to the Northern American Indians in treating Urinary tract infections. It contains an active ingredient called proanthocyanidins (PAC). This ingredient works by preventing the adhesion of the bacteria on the bladder surfaces. Without adhesion of the organism to uroepithelium, infection will not be achieved.
12. Use of D-mannose capsules and powder
A study conducted in 2014 showed that D-mannose when taken 1 gram 3 times daily can prevent recurrent UTIs more than compared with trimethoprim/ sulfamethoxazole and produced a similar result with Nitrofurantoin.
13. Long term, low dose prophylactic antimicrobial therapy
Trimethoprim (100 mg), fluoroquinolone, or nitrofurantoin (50 or 100 mg daily) is effective prophylactic agents that usually last for 6 months for the prevention of recurrent UTIs. However, Urine culture is taken monthly for evaluation. If bacteria are present in the culture at any visit, the prophylaxis is stopped and the treatment of UTI is initiated. A study conducted in 2016 showed that long-term antibiotics reduce the risk of UTI recurrence by 24%.
Recurrent Urinary tract infections are preventable with the right lifestyle modifications and drugs. It is always important to bear in mind that UTIs keep coming back if there is a reservoir for the bacteria.
Therefore, the goal of therapy is to always get rid of these reservoirs through proper hygiene and also use drugs that have protective effects on the urinary system. Read the Full Guide Now.