5 Lifestyle Changes to Prevent UTIs
Urinary tract infections can throw a wrench in your day to day life. Not only are they uncomfortable, but they can cause pain and long term effects if left untreated. One of the best ways to keep UTIs in check is to focus on prevention. There are behavioral changes you can prioritize to help lower your chances of contracting these types of infections.
Believe it or not, your lifestyle can play a large role in your urinary tract health. Like many health factors, what you put in your body, how you move, and what you do create lasting impacts. Taking steps like quitting smoking, changing hygiene habits, or altering your diet can help. Keep reading to learn about some lifestyle changes you could make to prevent UTIs.
1. Don’t Ignore Medical Issues
In terms of lifestyle changes, seeking medical attention when needed is life-changing. When you ignore issues, they can often become worse. Preventative care is one way to flip the script on how you care for yourself. Annual exams and physicals help you keep a baseline on your health and help detect problems early.
If you do come down with something or notice unpleasant symptoms, get it checked out and addressed as soon as possible. The sooner you check it out, the sooner you can get to feeling better. If you prefer to avoid in-office doctor’s visits when you’re familiar with your ailment, online UTI treatment is an option. It can help you get the care you need more quickly. Patients can get a consultation online and prescriptions sent to their nearest pharmacy.
2. Create Good Hygiene Habits
Good hygiene habits can go a long way to helping keep infection at bay in your urinary tract system. Keeping the area around your genitals clean reduces the growth of bacteria that can lead to infection. Use gentle and fragrance-free soaps. Bacteria also grows in warm, moist areas, so if you’re prone to UTIs, try lowering the temperature for baths and showers. And remember to wash your towels and washcloths frequently.
When using the bathroom, wipe front to back. Otherwise you could spread harmful waste to your urinary tract. Change your underwear frequently too, and look for cotton material. Polyester blends, silk, and lace may be comfortable, and they don’t breathe well. This can trap sweat and moisture, creating the perfect environment for bacteria to thrive.
3. Change Your Diet
What you consume on a day-to-day basis has many implications on your overall health. With UTIs, diet also plays a part. Try to eat healthy and well-balanced meals. Avoid sugary foods and junk food, as they can add to or feed the bacteria in your body. Processed foods tend to have hidden excess sugar, so try to eat more whole foods.
Look for foods with vitamin C, like fresh fruits. Foods with probiotics, like yogurt or kimchi, can also improve your gut health, which helps your urinary tract. Watch out for foods with high acid content that can irritate your bladder lining, like tomatoes. Spicy foods can also be an irritant if you have an active UTI or are likely to get them. Changing your diet can offer relief if you’re currently suffering, but it could also prevent a future flare up.
4. Increase Water Intake
Drinking water has so many health benefits. From better skin, to hydration, to flushing waste from your system, drinking clean water daily is necessary for survival. Appropriate consumption of water aids in your systems functioning properly. It helps lessen the likelihood of UTIs because it flushes bacteria from your urinary tract through urination.
If you struggle to drink water, you could also help your urinary tract by reducing your consumption of sodas and beverages with caffeine. These beverage options with caffeine are a diuretic and can dehydrate you. Similarly, beverages with too much sugar can cause more harm than good because bacteria in your urinary tract feeds off of it. Even the UTI-blessing cranberry juice can actually be harmful if you drink the kind with added sugars.
5. Assess Your Vices
Look at your vices, and see if they might be negatively impacting your life. You might have to switch your vice for something healthier to fill that need. Caffeine, like referenced above, can dehydrate you. If you’re having five cups of coffee a day, maybe it’s time to cut back or switch to decaf. If soda is a comfort, work on ways to reduce that as well. You could drink water, but if that’s a struggle, sugar-free flavoring packets might help.
Smoking and alcohol consumption can also have negative health implications. Alcohol can irritate your bladder and take from your system as opposed to adding to it in positive ways. Smoking increases carcinogenic chemicals in your body, which can lead to bladder and kidney cancer. Kidney stones can also increase with smoking. All these things can irritate your urinary tract and lead to frequent or recurring UTIs.
Make the Necessary Changes
Lifestyle has a direct correlation with many health issues, and UTIs are no exception. There are many steps you can implement to work on preventing these infections. With a few behavior changes, your urinary system can become healthier. These don’t have to be massive shifts in how you live either. Small, manageable changes add up to huge health benefits over the years.
As you begin making changes, appreciate the progress, and let the victories snowball to motivate the next. From practicing better hygiene to making conscious choices to honor your body with what you consume, you have the power. Invest in yourself, and take the first step today.