Urinary Tract Infections Prevention Strategies

Our last blog shared the basics on Urinary Tract Infections or UTIs.  We have a lot of information on preventing UTIs to talk about so let's get started with the basics...Next post we’ll get into even more details but these are some great first steps.

  • The number one way to prevent UTIs is urinating.  The mechanics of urinating, flushes out the urethra and any bacteria that is trying to climb up the urethra into the bladder.  Drinking enough water and fluids that you void every 2-3 hours during the day is helpful in making this happen.
  • We do not recommend a specific amount of water, as what one person needs may be very different from the next.   But being able to void every 2-3 hours with your urine appearing clear to pale yellow is an indicator that you are drinking what you need.
  • For our ladies that experience UTIs, we recommend vitamin C 500 mg daily to help boost the immune system and prevent UTIs along with preventing infections of all kinds.
  • We also recommend cranberry 500 mg pill or 4 ounces of juice 2-3 x per day.  Although, studies have shown mixed reviews regarding the efficacy of taking cranberry, we have found that many ladies in our office have done well taking cranberry.  There a few theories on how the cranberry works.  One is that the bacteria is attracted to the sugar in the cranberry instead of attaching itself to the bladder wall, or perhaps nutrients in cranberries change the bacteria so that they can't stick to the bladder wall or lastly, that cranberries create a slippery coating so that bacteria just can’t get a foothold.  However it works, when you drink lots of fluids, the bacteria isn't sticking to the bladder wall and just gets flushed out.  Since, it would not be harmful, this isn’t a bad idea to try if you get frequent UTIs.  Unfortunately, there are a few caveats.  Cranberries due to their acidity can be difficult for some people to take and because they are high in oxalates, may increase kidney stone formation.  So if you already tend to get these type of kidney stones, cranberry could make kidney stones more likely.  Most significantly, if you are taking Coumadin you would need to discuss that you are considering taking cranberry with your provider who manages your Coumadin as it would effect your blood work and would need to be strictly followed with a regimented schedule.

I hope you learned something you can take with you or share with others about urinary tract infection prevention. If you have any questions or desire to further discuss your urological concerns, please call our office at (330) 685-9920.  Thank you!

Anna Myers is a women’s health, urology and family board certified nurse practitioner working in our office here in Wooster, Ohio.