If you’ve ever had a urinary tract infection (UTI), you know they can cause significant pain and discomfort. To make things worse, they can keep coming back even after treatment, leading to recurring symptoms and frustration.
Urinary tract infections are more common in women than men, and infection rates are at their highest among women under 44 during the summer months.
The vast majority of UTIs are easy to treat, but the expert team at Artemis Menstrual Health and Gynecology, headed by Julie Madejski, MD, believes avoiding UTIs altogether is the best remedy.
Here’s what you can do to prevent getting a UTI this summer and keep your summer fun and infection-free.
What is a UTI?
A urinary tract infection is caused by bacteria getting in your urinary tract. It’s normal to get small bits of bacteria in your urinary tract that your body fights off naturally, but if there are too many bacteria for your body to fight, you can get an infection in your bladder or urethra.
Having a UTI can make you feel like you need to pee frequently. And when you urinate, you may feel a burning sensation from your urethra. You might also experience urine that appears cloudy or has a strong smell, as well as pelvic-area pain.
Why UTIs increase during the summer
Most likely, changes in the summer climate and our behavior during the summer are what cause UTI infection rates to go up during the warmer months.
Bacteria and germs grow more easily in the summer heat. You’re also more likely to experience dehydration from higher heat and engage in sexual intercourse more frequently in the summer, both of which increase your odds of contracting a UTI.
How to prevent a UTI
The good news is you can prevent many UTI infections while continuing to enjoy your summer. Take the following simple precautions to significantly lower your risk.
Drink plenty of liquids
Regularly drinking liquids prevents dehydration and ensures you use the bathroom regularly, helping you eliminate offending bacteria from your urethra. Water is the best liquid to drink, and there’s also some evidence that cranberry juice helps prevent UTIs.
Urinate after intercourse
After having sexual intercourse, urinate to push out any bacteria. It can help to drink a glass of water after having sex to encourage the need to pee.
Wipe from front to back after bowel movements
Your anus usually carries bacteria, which can cause an infection if they get into your urethra. To prevent this, always wipe from the front to the back after having a bowel movement.
Avoid using irritating products near your genitals
Feminine products used for vaginal douching and deodorizing sprays can cause your urethra to get irritated, upping your risk of developing a UTI.
Choose a low-risk birth control method
Some forms of birth control, including diaphragms, spermicide, and some condoms, encourage bacteria growth that makes you more likely to get a UTI.
If you’re prone to recurring UTIs, our team at Artemis Menstrual Health and Gynecology can help you select a safe, reliable form of birth control that won’t cause UTIs.
What to do if you get a UTI
If you have symptoms of a urinary tract infection, make an appointment at Artemis Menstrual Health and Gynecology for an examination. Our team can confirm the infection through urinalysis and prescribe antibiotics to treat the infection.
We also can help you with UTI prevention and treatment solutions if you get frequently recurring UTIs. Getting a UTI is a pain, but with the right care plan, you can avoid contracting one and stay infection-free all year round.