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Health & Wellness

How to Prevent UTIs

by Dr. Asma Khan

Every year, urinary tract infections (UTIs) affect over 150 million people worldwide. Doctors typically treat UTIs with antibiotics, but there are definite steps you can take to reduce your chances of getting a UTI in the first place. So, let’s get talking.

Symptoms and Complications

A UTI is an infection in any part of your urinary system, which includes your kidneys, ureters, bladder, and urethra. Women are at a greater risk of getting a UTI than men. UTIs don’t always have symptoms, but when they do, they may include:

  • A strong, persistent urge to urinate
  • A burning sensation when urinating
  • Passing frequent, small amounts of urine
  • Cloudy urine
  • Red or bright pink urine (a sign of blood in the urine)
  • Strong-smelling urine
  • Pelvic pain in women

When treated quickly, UTIs don’t often lead to any complications. However, if left untreated, complications may include:

  • Recurrent infections, especially in women
  • Permanent kidney damage
  • Increased risk for pregnant women of delivering a low-birthweight or premature baby
  • Urethral narrowing in men
  • Sepsis–a potentially life-threatening infection caused when a UTI affects the kidneys

How to Prevent UTIs

  • Drink plenty of liquids, especially water and cranberry juice, to dilute your urine and allow bacteria to be flushed out from your urinary tract
  • Wipe from front to back after a bowel movement to help prevent bacteria from spreading to the urethra
  • Empty your bladder following sexual intercourse
  • Avoid potentially irritating feminine products in the genital area, like deodorant sprays or powders
  • Avoid using diaphragms or spermicide-treated condoms, which may contribute to bacteria growth

UTIs: What You Need to Know

UTIs occur when bacteria enter the urinary tract through the urethra, and then multiply in the bladder. Although the urinary system is designed to keep these invaders out, they sometimes still manage to get through. Most infections result in pain and annoyance, but serious consequences can occur if the UTI spreads to the kidneys.

Always take precautions to prevent getting a UTI. If you do start to show signs, visit HRHCare Urgent Care or talk with your doctor to begin treatment. We are here to help!

Asma Khan, MD, is the Clinical Director at HRHCare Urgent Care, 84 N Highland Ave between High Street and Sickles Ave in Nyack. Along with offices in Haverstraw and Spring Valley, the facility is part of the 28 health center HRHCare network in the Hudson Valley and Long Island providing comprehensive primary care.

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