Updated: Jul 29
Do you feel a burning sensation when you urinate? Sounds like you may have a urinary tract infection - aka a UTI. Having a UTI is obviously a pain, partially because it can make peeing feel like punishment, but also because you have to go to the doctor to get antibiotics to treat and clear it up. Is there any way to actually prevent this whole disaster from occuring in the first place?
Let’s talk about UTI’s.
They usually occur when bacteria enters your urethra, which is the duct that carries urine from your bladder out of your body. These bacteria begin multiplying and overgrowing. These infections can spread when not treated swiftly, and affect other areas like your bladder and kidneys.
Some UTI’s don’t show symptoms at first - but when they do, those symptoms can be incredibly uncomfortable. The telltale sign is burning when you pee, as well as feeling like you have to pee, even after you have. Pelvic pain is also a sign. A UTI can cause urine to be cloudy, smell differently, or even a different color (like red, pink, or brownish due to blood).
UTIs should be avoided like the plague. Here are six ways to potentially reduce your risk of getting a UTI in the future.
1. Always wipe from the front to the back
This makes a lot of sense when you consider your bodies anatomy. The opening of your urethra is extremely close to your anus, which is often carrying bacteria like E. coli. When you wipe from back to front, you risk carrying that bacteria to your urethra, where it can cause an infection. Wiping from front to back doesn’t totally negate the risk that infection-causing bacteria will make their way to your urethra, but it definitely lowers your chances.
2. Don't hold your pee for prolonged time frames when you need to go.
Sure, it’s annoying to stop whatever you're doing and go to find a bathroom, but having to take antibiotics is even worse. When pee sits in your bladder for too long, it gives bacteria a chance to grow and breed for an infection.
3. Pee after sex.
If you get UTI’s frequently, consider your after sex self-care. Sex is amazing, but all of the movement can push bacteria up in to your urethra. Peeing after sex helps flush out the bacteria and lowers your risk of a UTI developing.
4. Avoid scented soaps.
Scented soaps, and even period products like pads could irritate you, increasing your chances of developing a UTI. Some people may use these kinds of products without any problems at all, but if you feel like you’re always going from one UTI to another, you may want to check your products for hidden scent culprits.
5. Drink enough water.
This is probably obvious- the more you drink, the more you urinate.
6. Birth Control.
Condoms can cause reactions, especially flavored condoms, and those treated with spermicides. Spermicides can irritate your vagina, which can cause pH changes that may promote the growth of bacteria. This helps make the perfect environment for bacteria to grow and make it’s way to your urethra, causing a UTI.
If you’re still struggling with frequent UTI’s, talk to your doctor. They may refer you to a urologist to be sure that nothing else is wrong. Don’t fret - UTI’s can infect men too! You’re not alone.