Women's Health Friday September 11, 2015

How To Avoid A UTI

If you've ever had a urinary tract infection, such as cystitis, you'd rather walk through hot coals than have another - because at least then the inferno would on your feet not your private area.

Crying, begging the doctor for antibiotics, and spending a day on the toilet isn't much of a life. Here are some ways to help avoid UTIs and make your bladder bomb-proof.

Drink more water

Drink water to flush out bacteria before it gets a chance to multiply and cause an infection. You'll also have glowing skin and fewer hunger pangs too. It's a win-win situation.

Wee after sex

All that grinding can force bacteria up your urethra. Sometimes vigorous sex (lucky you) can bruise the urethral opening, making it sting when you wee. This isn't a UTI and will mend itself. You won't get any sweating or backache if it's only bruising.

If you pee after sex the urine flushes out bacteria that might be trying to climb up the ladder, knocking them down like Aragorn fighting the Uruk Hai at Helm's Deep (it's not really worth Googling).

Always empty your bladder completely

You may think you've finished your pee but wait a few seconds and you'll probably find there is more. It's worth taking those few extra seconds to completely empty your bladder, even though it feels longer than one lorry overtaking another one on the M4.

Pee every 4-6 hours

Although you'll be attempting to pee every 4-6 seconds if you develop an UTI, you should on average pee at least once every 4-6 hours. If you're prone to UTIs, pee at least every 3 hours. I feel for NHS staff that can't go even when they want to because they are holding someone's liver in place.

Always wipe front to back

You should already know this, but I must reiterate how important it is not to wipe bacteria-filled poo onto your vagina and urethra. There is only one way for that infection causing horror to head, and that's right into your bladder. If you do forget then immediately wash with a mild soap and then wee to flush it out. Don't just hope for the best because the best will not happen! The only event will be an attempt to pee out an Australian-sized wildfire.

Wear breathable underwear

I don't mean crotch-less panties - what if you fall downstairs at work? Paul in accounts would need an ambulance. What I mean is that you should wear cotton knickers - not cheap nylon ones that breed thrush and UTIs - let your poor vagina breathe. It's not fun being stuck in an airless room. At the very least it will help prevent thrush outbreaks, which you'll probably get if you need antibiotics for a UTI.

Before you go: UTI or STI?

Have you had unprotected sex recently? That burning akin to Satan's hot water bottle might be a sexually transmitted infection. By all means get the urine-neutralising sachets and drink enough water to launch a ship, but if it doesn't go quickly you need some treatment before it makes you properly ill.

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