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How to prevent chronic UTIs — tips from a doctor

By Dr. Sarika Arora, MD

UTIs happen when the good and the bad bacteria that line the urinary tract all the time fall out of balance, giving the bad bacteria a chance to take hold. Any woman who has experienced an UTI remembers the pain, burning and urgency it causes like it happened yesterday. And women who suffer from frequent UTIs begin to fear they’ll never escape from their suffering. The good news — there’s a lot you can do to prevent chronic UTIs. Here are some tips to get you started.

Preventing chronic UTIs — 7 things a doctor wants you to know

1. Stay hydrated to flush more harmful bacteria from your system when you urinate. Speaking frankly, most women tend to put off peeing until the last possible minute. This increases your chance of getting a UTI – so listen to your body! Drink a lot of water and urinate as soon as you have the urge.

2. Keep your gut and vaginal flora healthy with a diet low in sugar and high in fiber, especially from leafy green vegetables every day.

3. Eating fermented dairy products three times per week, such as yogurt, for example, which was shown in one study to dramatically reduce the likelihood of getting UTIs.

4. Repopulate gut flora after antibiotic use. Start taking a high quality probiotic to replace healthy gut flora that the antibiotic annihilated. Keep taking the probiotic to maintain balance to re-populate your digestive system, vaginal system and whole body with healthy bacteria. The more healthy flora you encourage, the less likely it is that disruptive bacteria and yeast can reproduce and cause symptoms.

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5. The special compounds in cranberries – cranberry d-mannose can dramatically reduce the colonization and growth of bacteria in the urine, preventing UTIs as well as being an important part of treatment of infection. Cranberry extract and juice can be used, or look for a cranberry d-mannose supplement.

6. The use of oral contraceptives doubles the risk of UTI — and the use of diaphragms and spermicides doubles the rate of UTI compared to oral contraceptives! So if you’re using these and getting UTIs, consider another form of birth control, including condoms.

7. Finally, you also want to get some Vitamin C. Studies have shown Vitamin C enhances the release of nitric oxide in the urine, and that this has antimicrobial effects against three of the most common urinary bacteria that cause UTIs. A generally recommended dose for prevention is 500 mg twice daily.

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orange asteriskFor more information on UTIs, read our article Stop suffering from urinary tract infections.

orange asterisk For more information on UTIs, read our article about stopping urinary tract infections.
Last Updated: May 9, 2024
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