Dr. Charles Butrick is an urogynecologist. He stresses the importance of urinary tract health with tips for preventing a Urinary Tract Infection (UTI).
It’s a common thing—one day you wake up with a sudden urge to urinate and when you do, it hurts and stings. Perhaps you felt like you still had to go but couldn’t. What you were experiencing were the painful side effects of a Urinary Tract Infection, or what’s commonly referred to as a UTI. UTI’s can happen in a number of different ways, so there’s nothing to be ashamed of. Dr. Charles Butrick, a renowned urogynecologist wants to help women prevent UTIs to protect their bladder health.
Front to back. Don’t be embarrassed by it! The proper way to wipe after going to the bathroom can be key in preventing UTIs. Women have shorter a shorter urethra than men, which is why they get more UTIs than men do. So the next time you urinate make sure to wipe starting from the front of your body and work back towards the anus to wipe away bacteria. Fecal matter can cause a UTI for both men and women so when wiping after a bowel movement, the front to back advice also applies.
Wash everyday. Just like washing your hands, washing your body is important in preventing a lot of different types of bacterial infection. Women and men should wash their genitalia at least once a day with a mild soap. If the soap is irritating for women, just using water is just fine. Washing away bacteria lowers the rate of UTI infection.
Dry Clothes. Believe it or not, clothing can cause a bacteria trap that leads to UTIs. Any hot and moist environment is going to promote bacteria growth. So make sure that your undergarments are well fitting and made of breathable materials, such as cotton. Polyester and spandex underwear trap heat and cause bacteria to multiple, so limit how often you wear them. Make sure to always wear clean underwear and wash dirty underwear in hot water. If you notice a lot of yellow or dark discharge, make sure that you schedule an appointment with your doctor or at a free clinic. It may be something other than a UTI causing those changes. Poor bladder control can lead to more UTIs so make sure you talk with your provider to get help with leakage. It is never normal to leak urine.
Drink water. As in almost everything else, drinking water is great for your urinary tract. When your bladder is cleaned out there’s less of a chance of bacteria forming in the urinary tract. The recommended six 8-oz. servings of straight water everyday should do the trick, but you may also want to add some cranberry juice to the mix. Studies have shown that drinking cranberry juice helps with your urinary tract and can reduce chances of infection. The most important thing to remember is that most cranberry juice cocktails have a lot of sugar, so try to purchase straight cranberry juice. Cranberry pills (2 per day) do the same thing without the sugar or the acid- they are even better!
Urinate after sex. Studies show that both men and women that urinate after sex lower their risk of a UTI. Because women often show more symptoms of a UTI than men, men may pass on the bacteria to their partner without knowing. Protected sex is always the best bet but, if you and your partner aren’t practicing safe sex, try urinating afterward to reduce your risk of infection.
Dr. Charles Butrick is a urogynecologist; a physician that specializes in female pelvic floor disorders such as UTIs, incontinence, pelvic organ prolapse and pelvic pain.. He has been practicing medicine for over twenty years and is a thought leader and a national level educator in the subspecialty of urogynecology.