60% of all women will get a U.T.I. (Urinary Tract Infection) sometime in their lifetime. And if you’ve ever had one, you have felt the burn, which does not feel good. At all. We asked Dr. Allison Hill, and Dr. Yvonne Bonn, both Obstetrician/Gynecologists, how to deal with it when you get one, and how to keep from getting one.
Sexpert: What is the best antibiotic for a UTI?
Dr. Hill: “The choice of antibiotic for a UTI depends on which type of bacteria is causing it. Ideally, if you have symptoms of a UTI, you will have a urine culture done. In this test, a sample of your urine is sent to a lab and the bacteria is grown over a period of two to three days. In this way, the specific strain of bacteria can be identified. In addition, the bacteria will be tested against a group of antibiotics to see which medications will be effective in treating it. If the culture isn’t done, your doctor will need to guess which antibiotic to use. This is the most common reason why a UTI doesn’t go away after treatment – because the antibiotic wasn’t the correct one. When you go to an Urgent Care or call your doctor for a Rx, they are simply guessing which medication is correct.”
What is the biggest cause of UTIs? Anything else that make UTIs worse?
Dr. Hill: “The most common cause is sexual activity and simply allowing bacteria into your vagina; whether it’s not wiping front to back or wearing tight clothing/undergarments.”
Sexpert: If you get a U.T.I. and you are in pain, what do you recommend before you can get to the doctor for antibiotics?
Thank you! Now I won’t have to feel like I’m peeing battery acid.
How To Keep From Feeling The Burn: Tips from Dr. Yvonne Bohn, OB/GYN
“For overall health we should all drink plenty of water to keep our system hydrated. For most people that is about 8 cups of water a day. Drinking adequate amounts of water will flush bad bacteria out of the urinary tract or urethra when urinating. By doing so, you prevent the bacteria from multiplying and making their way into the bladder.”
Clean yourself from front to back when going to the bathroom
“When you finish going to the bathroom, always wipe from front to back, never back to front. By following this motion, you’ll reduce the amount of bacteria that may creep its way into the vagina from the rectum and ultimately into the urinary tract.”
Choose breathable undergarments
“It may be a surprise to some women, but your clothes and underwear (especially those you wear to the gym) can affect your health and may increase the chance of infection. When we exercise, moisture builds up in our groin, vaginal and rectal areas, and this moisture makes it easier for bacteria to grow. Therefore, opt for cotton underwear that doesn’t suffocate you whether you’re at work or while working out, and change out of tight fitting or damp workout clothes immediately after a sweat session.”
Pick birth control methods wisely
“Certain types of birth control methods – specifically, diaphragms and spermicides — increase the chances of getting a UTI. Diaphragms may potentially prevent the bladder from emptying completely so bacteria can grow and cause a UTI. Spermicides can alter vaginal pH which deplete the vagina of the good bacteria and allow yeast and other bad bacteria to grow. Talk to your doctor about other birth control options if you have experienced a UTI on one of these methods.”
Take care of your vagina before and after sex
“Vaginal health may not be top of mind when you’re getting busy, but you may want to consider it. Without a doubt, always clean your genital and anal areas before and after sex (try a baby wipe or a damp washcloth) to eliminate as much bacteria as possible. Note that “cleaning” does not involve douching, which can be really harmful and increase the risk of UTIs. Also, try to urinate before and immediately after sex to flush out your bladder. Never hold it — it will only keep bacteria in your system longer.”
Drink and eat your way to urinary tract health
“Staying UTI-free may be as easy as implementing powerhouse foods and drinks into your daily routine, for example, a product like Cystex Urinary Health Maintenance. If that’s not your cup of tea, try other options such as high-fiber foods or fermented milk products, all of which have been shown to promote healthy bacteria.”