10 ways of preventing urinary tract infection

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The route through which urine is formed and passes is called the urinary tract. Infection of this tract is called urinary tract infection. Urine is stored in the bladder after it is being produced by the kidney. This urine passes through 2 tubes to enter the bladder from the kidney. When it gets to a certain level in the bladder, you feel the urge to urinate. The urine passes through a tube like tract that connect bladder to the outside skin called urethra.

What is urinary tract infection?

When there is an infection of these routes through which urine is formed and passes, it is called urinary tract infection. This usually involves the bladder and the urethra. Normally, urine does not contain any bacteria and since it flows in only one way (i.e. from bladder to outside), this helps to prevent this infection. Occasionally, bacteria which usually resides on the skin especially around the perineum can gain entrance to the urethra and travel up the bladder. In severe cases, this can even go as far as the kidney causing infection. Although urinary tract infection can occur in both adults and children, it is treatable. The risk of having urinary tract infection after a previous one is high.

What will you notice if you have urinary tract infection?

  • You may notice pain while urinating.
  • Some will have pain in the lower part of their tommy as this is where the bladder is.
  • You may notice blood in your urine.
  • Some people will notice they urinate frequently and this usually comes out in small quantity.
  • Some will have urgency. Their urine starts to come out before they get to where they will ease themselves.
  • The urine may appear darker, cloudy and with foul smell.
  • You may feel unwell and have fever.
  • Some feel nauseated and vomits.


What can put you at risk of urinary tract infection?


  • Urinary tract infection is commoner in women. This is because their urethra is shorter, therefore bacteria travel up easily and faster.
  • Wiping the perineum from back to front. Bacteria are more at the back around the anus. Cleaning this area from back to front brings bacteria closer to the urethra. These can find their way up to the bladder.
  • Sexual intercourse also put one at risk of this infection. During sexual intercourse, these bacteria can be brought closer to the urethra.
  • Wearing tight or non-cotton underwear can also put you at risk.
  •  When you hold urine for some time despite having the urge to urinate, it can put you at risk.
  • If your urinary tract is abnormally formed, you may be at risk.
  • If you have had a catheter passed into your urethra to help you drain urine, you may be at risk.
  • Pregnant women are at risk of urinary tract infection because they usually urinate without emptying their bladder completely.
  • People living with diabetes are also at risk. High blood sugar predisposes the body to several infections including urinary tract infection because it promotes growth of bacteria.
  • Men with enlarged prostate are also at risk.
  • Women who have entered menopause are at risk of urinary tract infection.


How can you prevent or reduce your risk of having urinary tract infection?


  • Drink a lot of water.
  • Ensure good perianal hygiene. Clean your perineum from front to back after urinating or defecating.
  • Do not use antiseptic to clean your perineum as this can kill the good bacteria protecting this area.
  • Try as much as possible to empty your bladder and clean up with water before and after sexual intercourse.
  • Do not hold urine when you feel the urge to pass it.
  • Do not wear tight underwear. Cotton underwear is preferable.
  • Even if you don’t feel the urge, empty your bladder every 4 hours.
  • If you have diabetes, ensure you take your medications and go for follow up so that your sugar can be put under control.
  • Don’t remain in wet clothes for a long time.
  • Avoid use of spermicides, and diaphragms as this can put you at risk.

What to do if you suspect you have urinary tract infection


If you notice any of the symptoms above, it is advisable you visit your physician. Urinary tract infection should be treated as soon as it is noticed. This is because if left untreated, the bacteria can travel to the kidney and cause infection. This can affect the kidney function after some time.


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Dr Kay
About Dr Kay 58 Articles
As a physician, I love to give answers to several questions bothering people, educating them on how to be healthy, breaking down what their present condition is all about and counselling them on how to manage their condition.

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