General Physician, Aligarh
6 years experience
Urinary tract infections in adults - Prevention
Not all urinary tract infections (UTIs) can be prevented, but there are some steps you can take to reduce your risk of developing an infection.
Cranberry juice and capsules
Drinking cranberry juice may help prevent UTIs. If you have had recurring UTIs, higher-strength cranberry capsules are recommended. These are available from most pharmacists and supermarkets.
Don't drink cranberry juice or take cranberry capsules if you are taking warfarin (a medicine used to prevent blood clots).
Treat constipation promptly
Constipation can increase your chances of developing a UTI. Recommended treatments for constipation include:
increasing the amount of fibre in your diet (20g to 30g of fibre a day)
using a mild laxative on a short-term basis
drinking plenty of fluids
See your GP if your symptoms don't improve or if your child is constipated.
Diaphragms and condoms
If you're a woman, using a diaphragm for contraception can increase the risk of getting a UTI. This is because the diaphragm may press on your bladder and prevent it emptying completely when you urinate.
If you use a diaphragm and have recurring UTIs, you might want to consider changing to another method of contraception. There are 15 different methods of contraception to choose from.
If you get recurring UTIs and you use condoms, try using condoms that don't have a spermicidal lubricant on them – it will say whether it does on the packet.
Spermicidal lubricant can cause irritation and make it more likely that you'll get a UTI. There are lots of condoms that have non-spermicidal lubricant, so use these instead.
Other useful advice
The following advice may be useful in helping you keep your bladder and urethra free from bacteria:
drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration and help clear bacteria from the urinary tract
go to the toilet as soon as you feel the need to urinate, rather than holding it in
wipe from front to back after going to the toilet
practise good hygiene by washing your genitals every day, and before having sex.
empty your bladder after having sex
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