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How to Prevent a Urinary Tract Infection

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Urinary tract infections are unpleasant for anyone to experience. These infections occur when a bacterium, such as E.coli enters the individual’s urethra, from which it can travel to the bladder. Once in the bladder, the infection can spread to the kidneys.

Making certain lifestyle changes can help prevent the occurrence (or recurrence) of a urinary tract infection.

Some of these preventive tips are especially for women, who have a 50 percent lifetime greater risk of a urinary tract infection compared to men, according to the National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse.


Good genital hygiene can help reduce the risk of an individual developing a urinary tract infection. After using the bathroom, individuals should wipe front to back. By wiping back to front, bacteria around the anal area can access the urethra with greater ease.

Keeping the genital area clean before and after sexual activity can also help prevent urinary tract infection. Individuals should clean this area before they engage in sexual intercourse and afterwards.

In addition, the National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse recommended urination after sexual intercourse to expel any bacteria that may have entered the urethra. Consuming a glass of water afterwards may also help flush out any bacteria.

Women should be careful what products come in contact with their genital region. For example, using sanitary pads over tampons may help reduce an individual’s risk.

MedlinePlus explained that some doctors believe using a tampon instead makes a urinary tract infection more likely to occur. Every time a woman uses the bathroom, she should change her sanitary pad.

Women should also avoid feminine hygiene products that contain perfumes and bath oils.


An individual’s diet can affect her likelihood of developing a urinary tract infection. For example, drinking plenty of fluids, such as water, can help prevent an infection from occurring.

Water not only dilutes the urine, but it encourages more frequent urination.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.