A urinary tract infection (known by its shorthand “UTI”) is an infection that occurs in any part of the urinary system. The infections can transfer to the urethra, bladder, ureters, or the kidneys, depending on the severity of the infection.
Unfortunately, women’s bodies are at a higher risk of contracting a urinary tract infection, due to the length of their urethra. The female body’s shorter urethra ultimately benefits harmful bacteria, as these bacteria do not have to endure long distances before multiplying.
What causes UTIs?
The urinary system is built with an army of defense mechanisms that prevent small microscopic pathogens from entering your body. The defense system can sometimes fail, resulting in the entry of bacteria that reproduce in the bladder. Once the bacteria have multiplied successfully, it can result in a full-blown infection in the urinary system.
Some lifestyle and health factors can increase your chances of contracting a UTI:
- Personal hygiene
- Kidney stones
- Unsanitary sexual intercourse
- Blocked urinary tract
- Certain birth controls methods
UTIs are very uncomfortable, and when left untreated, they can lead to severe complications like permanent kidney damage and urethra narrowing.
Natural ways to avoid UTIs
Some steps can be taken to reduce the chances of contracting a UTI. These steps are 100% natural, making them safe (and easy) to implement. Some natural methods that you can use to avoid UTIs are:
Drink a lot of water
Drinking plenty of water each day can help reduce the chances of contracting a UTI.
Water plays a vital role in the body, including the removal of toxic materials. When you drink a lot of water, you feel frequent urges to urinate. Frequent urination can flush harmful microorganisms out of your system, including the UTI-inducing bacteria.
Drink cranberry juice
Cranberry contains an active ingredient that reduces the adherence of the bacteria in the urinary system. The substance found in cranberry and its supplements makes it difficult for the bacteria to attach to urinary tract walls. If the bacteria cannot attach to any feature of the urinary system, they will be flushed out with hydration and regular urination.
The distance between the urethra and the anus in women is very short. Thus, bacteria from the anus can be quickly transmitted to the urethra.
Wiping yourself properly after using the toilet can significantly reduce the chances of contracting a urinary tract infection. The correct method is directing the wad of toilet paper from the front to the back because it forces the bacteria further from the urethra.
Urinating after sexual intercourse
UTI-causing bacteria can be spread through sexual intercourse. Urinating after having sex will prevent any bacteria from attaching to the urinary tract, as they are flushed from the urinary system.
Sexually-active women, in particular, should actively incorporate this step into their sexual wellness routine.
Stick to unscented feminine-hygiene products
Scented body soaps, feminine washes, and other feminine hygiene products have the potential to irritate your urethra and introduce harmful bacteria. Any irritation to the urethra can cause major discomfort, including pain during sex or pain during urination.
Scented soaps should be avoided, especially in the cleaning of your genitals and surrounding areas.
Consider alternative birth control methods
Some birth control methods have been found to increase your chances of contracting UTIs. The use of spermicide condoms or diaphragms contributes to the growth of bacteria.
When the bacteria multiply faster, this petri dish of bacteria can spiral into a urinary tract infection. To prevent your birth control from interfering with your urethral health, consider other birth control methods that won’t introduce unhealthy bacteria.
When natural prevention methods aren’t enough, consult your physician if your symptoms do not subside or worsen. A round of antibiotics may be necessary to successfully tackle your urinary tract infection. Remember, all bodies are different and will require a unique combination of preventative measures.