A urinary tract infection or UTI is an infection that happens in the kidneys, ureter, bladder, and/or urethra.
A UTI is caused by bacteria (usually E.coli) and the problem is ten times more common in women than men.
If you recover from a UTI and then experience another episode within a six-month period, there are some things you can do to prevent more bacteria from growing in the urinary tract.
You can use the following tips to help reduce your risks of recurring UTI:
1. Don’t use scented bath products.
Any scented bath washes, bubble baths, soaps, and shower gels can irritate the urinary tract opening. Use mild, unscented bath products and remember to rinse the area well with clean water after bathing.
2. Wear clothing that breathes.
Keep the genital area clean and dry by wearing cotton undergarments and loose-fitting clothing that breathes (natural fibers like cotton, hemp, silk, and linen). You should avoid wearing tight pants, pantyhose, and underwear made from synthetics because these retain moisture, providing an environment conducive to bacterial growth.
3. Use unscented feminine hygiene products.
Tampons and sanitary napkins should be unscented. Scented feminine hygiene products can cause severe irritation in the genital area–aggravating the urethra–and should be avoided. Opt for pads rather than tampons when you can, as tampons can push bacteria directly into your body.
4. Wipe from front to back.
It is important for women to wash and wipe their genital area from front to back when showering or after urinating or defecating. This will help prevent spreading bacteria from the anus into the urethra.