There are several simple, do-it-yourself techniques that may prevent a urinary tract infection. Some may work some of the time, or only in some women. But, because they carry no side effects, they certainly are worth trying to prevent the often painful and bothersome symptoms the infection can bring:
- Drink plenty of fluids - the equivalent of six to eight 8-ounce glasses - every day to flush bacteria out of your urinary system. This does NOT mean eight glasses of water in addition to everything else you drink.
- Make sure you're getting vitamin C in your diet, either through food or supplements. Vitamin C, or ascorbic acid, makes your urine acidic, which discourages the growth of bacteria. Drinking cranberry juice may also produce the same effect. Cranberry tablets are a more concentrated form of cranberry juice without the sugar content.
- Urinate every two to three hours. Keeping urine in your bladder for long periods gives bacteria a place to grow.
- Avoid using feminine hygiene sprays and scented douches. They also may irritate the urethra.
If you suffer from urinary tract infections more than three times a year, your health care professional may suggest one of the following therapies to try to prevent another recurrence:
- a low dosage of an antibiotic medication, such as trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole or nitrofurantoin, taken daily for six months or longer
- a single dose of an antibiotic medication taken after sexual intercourse if it is determined that your UTIs are related to sex.
- a short, one- or two-day course of antibiotic medication taken when symptoms appear