Advertisement

Urinary Tract Infection Prevention

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:

Advertisement

Advertisement

  • 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

New research funded by the National Institutes of Health suggests that a woman's blood type may play a role in her risk of recurrent UTIs. Bacteria may be able to attach to cells in the urinary tract more easily in those with certain blood factors. Additional research will determine if such an association exists and whether it could be useful in identifying people at risk of recurrent UTIs.

Studies have found that children and women who tend to get recurrent urinary tract infections are likely to lack infection-fighting proteins called immunoglobulins. Children and women who do not get UTIs are more likely to have normal levels of immunoglobulins in their genital and urinary tracts. However, even most patients who get frequent UTIs have normal immune systems.

Advertisement

Advertisement

Vaccines are being developed to help patients build up their own natural infection-fighting powers. Vaccines that are prepared using dead bacteria do not spread like an infection; instead, they prompt the body to produce antibodies that can later fight against live organisms. Researchers are currently testing injection and oral vaccines as well as vaccine suppositories that are placed in the vagina.

Copyright 2003

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

Related Articles

Advertisement


Advertisement

Advertisement

Advertisement