Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center - Health Library

Reducing Your Risk of Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)

There are many ways to lower your chances of a UTI:

Taking Medicines

In some people, UTIs tend to come back. Your doctor may have you take a small daily dose of an antibiotic. Or, if you tend to have UTIs after having sex, you might be advised to take a dose of antibiotic just before or after. Many types can be taken as a small dose.

Drink a Lot of Water

Drinking plenty of water (about eight 8-ounce glasses each day) may help flush out your urinary system and wash out bacteria.

Take a Shower

Sitting in bath water (mainly in soapy bath water) may cause irritation. This could make you more prone to infection. Try not to use perfumed products, bubble baths, douches, or feminine sprays.

Always Wipe From Front to Back

Women should wipe with care after passing urine or having a bowel movement. Start wiping by the labia and stop at the anus. This way, you will not soil your urethral or vaginal area with bacteria from your anus.

Urinate Often and Completely

Try not to hold your urine. When you feel the need go to the bathroom, do so. Take your time to be sure that you fully drain your bladder.

Take Special Care After Sex

After having sex, pass urine and drink an 8-ounce glass of water. This can help flush out bacteria that may have been forced into the urethra.

Wear Cotton Underwear

Cotton underwear is more absorbent than man-made fibers. It also wicks moisture away from your skin. Nylon and polyester trap moisture. Moisture helps bacteria (and yeast) grow. This can lead to infections.

REFERENCES:

Bacterial urinary tract infections (UTIs). Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at: https://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/genitourinary-disorders/urinary-tract-infections-utis/bacterial-urinary-tract-infections-utis. Updated June 2018. Accessed September 20, 2018.

Jepson RG, Craig JC. Cranberries for preventing urinary tract infections. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2008;(1):CD001321.

Recurrent cystitis in women. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at:http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T904740/Recurrent-cystitis-in-women. Updated July 23, 2018. Accessed September 20, 2018.

Uncomplicated urinary tract infection (UTI) (pyelonephritis and cystitis). EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at:http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T116894/Uncomplicated-urinary-tract-infection-UTI-pyelonephritis-and-cystitis. Updated June 4, 2018. Accessed September 20, 2018.

Urinary tract infections in adults. Urology Care Foundation website. Available at: https://www.urologyhealth.org/urologic-conditions/urinary-tract-infections-in-adults. Accessed September 20, 2018.

Last reviewed September 2018 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Adrienne Carmack, MD  Last Updated: 9/20/2018