If there’s one thing that’s more annoying than being sick in the first place, it’s experiencing the same illness over and over again. If you suffer from recurrent urinary tract infections (UTIs), you know all too well just how frustrating they can be.
The good news is, if you suffer from recurrent UTIs, there are things you can do to reduce their frequency. In this blog, the providers at Generations Family Practice in Cary and Raleigh, North Carolina, explain what UTIs are and how you can reduce your chances of getting future bouts.
What is a UTI?
A UTI is an infection in any part of the urinary tract. UTIs are much more common among women than men. In fact, 50-60% of women will get a UTI during their lifetime, while about 10% of men will get one in theirs.
While bacteria is the most common cause of these infections, fungi can also be a cause. If left untreated, the bacteria can spread to the kidneys, which could result in a more serious infection. In severe cases of untreated UTIs, a life-threatening type of sepsis called urosepsis, which requires emergency treatment, can result.
Unfortunately, an estimated 25% of women suffer from repeated UTIs. Medically speaking, doctors typically classify a UTI as a chronic or recurring issue if the patient has 3-4 infections in the course of a year.
Treating recurrent UTIs
If you have repeated bouts with UTIs, there are some things you can do to help lessen their frequency, such as the following:
Take medications as instructed
Although preventing all UTIs from coming back isn’t realistic, there are plenty of things you can do to make them less likely to occur. At the top of the list of things in your control is to follow your doctor’s treatment instructions, especially when it comes to taking your medicine.
Urinary tract infections are treated by taking antibiotics. Your doctor determines the type of antibiotic and how long you should take it based on the type of bacteria that triggered the issue as well as your general overall health.
Unfortunately, some patients stop taking their medication the moment their symptoms start to subside. You should never do this. Always take your medication until it's gone or unless your doctor tells you otherwise.
Use good hygiene habits
A big reason why women are more prone to developing UTIs is due to their anatomy. In women, the anus is close to the urethra. This can allow bacteria from the anus to enter and infect the urethra. Furthermore, the urethral opening is close to the bladder. So this can allow bacteria to pass through the urethra and enter and infect the bladder.
So to help keep bacteria from going from your anus to your urethra or bladder, wipe from front to back after bowel movements and urinating. You should also empty your bladder before and after sexual intercourse.
Always drink plenty of fluids
Another easy and effective strategy to reduce your risk of having recurrent UTIs is to drink plenty of fluids, especially water. Although staying hydrated has a plethora of overall health benefits, when it comes to preventing UTIs, it can help flush out bacteria.
If you’re concerned about recurrent urinary tract infections and want to learn more about helping to prevent them, book an appointment online or over the phone with Generations Family Practice today.