1. Urinary tract infection prevention with cranberry juice

Your mother was right — cranberry juice really does help prevent urinary tract infections (UTIs). Of the 149 women who participated in a recent medical study, those who drank a daily glass of cranberry juice (made from concentrate) reduced their risk for recurrent UTI by 20 percent. The juice helps to deposit extra vitamin C in urine, creating an acidic environment that thwarts the growth and "stickability" of UTI-causing bacteria, researchers said.

2. How to avoid urinary tract infections

To prevent your next urinary tract infection, be sure to drink the equivalent of at least eight glasses of fluid throughout the day; it encourages frequent urination, which flushes bacteria from the bladder. And avoid substances such as alcohol and caffeine, which can irritate the bladder.

3. UTIs may be harmful to unborn babies

If you develop a urinary tract infection (UTI) while pregnant, be sure to take medication exactly as directed by your health care professional. Pregnant women who fail to properly treat their UTI incur a higher risk of miscarriage or premature labor.

4. Self-help for urinary tract infections

Although your health care professional can recommend a variety of drugs to relieve the pain of a urinary tract infection (UTI), there are things you can do on your own. Draping a heating pad over your lower pelvic area can help, as can drinking plenty of water to help flush bacteria out of the urinary tract. Also, try to avoid coffee, alcohol and spicy foods while suffering with a UTI.

Copyright 2003

National Women's Health Resource Center Inc. (NWHRC).