Each year in emergency departments across the U.S., about 5.8 million adults seek treatment for urinary tract infections (UTIs), according to data from the CDC. That’s about one in every 41 adults. One of the most common symptoms of a UTI is a significant increased urge to urinate caused by irritating bacteria in the bladder. These bacteria cause the bladder to feel like it needs to be emptied even when it contains very little urine or none at all. Other common symptoms include pain when urinating and dark or cloudy urine.
Fortunately, there are a few simple steps you can take to help prevent a UTI from developing:
· Unless you have kidney failure, the best way to prevent UTIs is by drinking lots of water ideally, about six to eight glasses per day to help flush bacteria out of your urinary tract.
· Wear loose-fitting clothing and cotton underwear to allow air to circulate more freely around the urethra, the opening where urine exits the body.
· If you’re a woman, always wipe front to back after urinating or having a bowel movement to avoid spreading bacteria into the urethra.
· Urinate as soon as you feel the urge, and always urinate after intercourse to remove bacteria that might have entered the urethra during sex.
· Spermicides can increase bacterial growth, so if you use a spermicide and experience frequent UTIs, you may want to discuss alternative options with your birth control provider.
For most people, UTIs are a rare occurrence, and a trip to your doctor can provide you with the medication you need to feel better quickly. But when UTIs are chronic, they can be an indication of a more serious underlying issue. An evaluation by your doctor is the first step in understanding why UTIs are occurring and how to get them under control. Most importantly, don’t delay treatment for a UTI; doing so can cause the infection to become worse, even spreading to your kidneys where bacteria can cause serious damage. If you experience a UTI or if you have UTIs on a regular basis, call us today to schedule an evaluation.