How do I Prevent Recurring Urinary Tract Infections?

Recurring urinary tract infections are a common problem, particularly among women. The urinary tract consists of the kidneys, bladder, tubes called ureters that connect the kidneys to the bladder, and the urethra, the tube leading from the bladder to the outside of the body. Infection occurs when harmful bacteria is introduced into this area of the body. The urethra in women is shorter than it is in men, making the risk of infection greater. For those experiencing recurring urinary tract infections, some preventative measures may include urinating immediately following sexual intercourse and drinking a lot of water or cranberry juice.

Women who are sexually active are the most susceptible to developing recurring urinary tract infections. For these women, it is important to urinate immediately following sexual intercourse to rid the body of any harmful bacteria that may have been introduced. Some forms of birth control, such as spermicides or diaphragms, may increase the risk of recurring urinary tract infections. It is important for all women to wipe from front to back after urinating to make sure that no bacteria is introduced into the urinary tract from bowel movements.

Keeping the body properly hydrated can help to prevent recurring urinary tract infections. Drinking plenty of water is the best way to keep the body hydrated and flush harmful bacteria from the kidneys. Many patients who suffer from recurring urinary tract infections find that drinking a glass or two of cranberry juice every day helps to prevent infections as well.

Some doctors may prescribe antibiotic therapy for those patients who experience recurring urinary tract infections. There are several different types of antibiotic therapy, including a low-dose antibiotic that is taken every day in an attempt to prevent infections. Some patients may be instructed to start taking antibiotics any time that the familiar symptoms of a urinary tract infection, including painful urination and fever, become present.

Patients experiencing kidney disease or kidney failure are often at a higher risk of developing urinary tract infections. It is important for these patients to schedule regular check-ups, even when there are no apparent signs of infection. Recurring urinary tract infections can compromise kidney function even further, leading to potentially life-threatening complications in those patients already experiencing kidney problems. Dialysis may become necessary if kidney function becomes impaired to the point where the kidneys are no longer able to filter waste materials from the blood.


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