Have you ever jumped off the toilet because it burns when you pee? Unfortunately, too many women have experienced the burning pain of a UTI, or urinary tract infection. 60% of women will have a UTI in their lifetime and 30-40% of women who get a UTI will have another within 6 months. When that happens, it’s called a recurrent UTI. Whatever you call them, they are painful and uncomfortable. The best way to deal with a urinary tract infection is not to get one and to know how to prevent a UTI.
What are the Symptoms of a UTI?
The symptoms of a UTI aren’t fun and they include:
- That burning sensation when you pee
- Frequent urination (and unfortunately you only pee small amounts because of that first symptom)
- Urgent need to pee
- Cloudy, dark or blood colored urine
- Pelvic pain
- Pain in your lower back
What Causes a UTI?
What causes a UTI can be different for every man or woman who gets one. While the causes are different, a UTI is a bacterial infection in the kidneys, urethra or bladder. The most common type of bacteria that causes a urinary tract infection is E coli. Most people will associate E. coli with food poisoning, but it’s commonly found in your GI tract. It’s when there is an E. coli overgrowth that it becomes a problem. It becomes out of balance with the rest of your flora and can lead to a UTI. About 80-90% of UTIs are caused by E. coli but it can also be other bacteria such as staphylococcus, pseudomonas, or klebsiella pneumoniae.
What’s important to understand is that these bacteria can become overgrown because of an immune problem or imbalance in your gut. Yes! What happens in your gut can impact your urinary tract. And yes, even cause that burning pee. So, what do you think causes recurrent UTIs? It could be a problem with your immune system. If you get just one, then it might just be some stray bacteria and you want to do what you can to prevent a UTI.
While most of us know to wipe front to back there are a few other steps you can take to prevent UTIs because the best way to handle a UTI is to not get one. So now you are probably wondering, “how do I avoid a urinary tract infection?” Check out our 6 healthy tips below!
Learn More in Dr. Patrick Flynn’s Short Video, “Why Do I Get UTIs?”
How to Prevent a UTI
- Drink plenty of water
- Don’t hold it!
- Avoid irritating chemicals in lubricants and condoms
- Choose the right underwear
- Try D-mannose
- Get a stool test
1 – Drink Plenty of Water
Avoid soda and other beverages that will irritate the urethra. Do drink plenty of water so that you are well hydrated and flushing out any germs. Health tip – Add salt to your water to aid your hydration!
2 – Don’t Hold It!
If you are drinking the recommended daily water intake, then you are going to have to pee more. Don’t hold it! Make sure you are urinating regularly at least every 4 hours. Your urine should be a pale-yellow color. It is also recommended that you pee before and after sex. Speaking of sex…
3 – Avoid Irritating Chemicals in Lubricants and Condoms
You would be surprised what toxins will be found in products that we use on our most personal areas. There are a lot of chemicals that will cause inflammation and irritation in lubricants and condoms. Luckily, there are lots of natural lubricants and condoms that offer nontoxic options that will also protect your health.
4 – Choose the Right Underwear or Go Commando
Your underwear choice can be the cause of your UTI. It might be the chemicals or the fabric that are causing your UTI. Some fabrics can hold moisture in which helps breed bacteria and thongs can create a path for bacteria to travel. Choosing a quality organic, cotton underwear or even going commando might be the best healthy underwear options.
5 – Try D- Mannose
If you feel a urinary tract infection coming on a great supplement to take is D-mannose. You might have heard that D-mannose kills the E. coli bacteria but what actually happens is the bacteria likes the sugar so much it attaches to the D-mannose and gets flushed out of the body. If it is another type of bacteria that is causing the infection than it might be one of the other bacteria that are causing the infection.
If they are recurring it could be an immune problem and whether you kill it with antibiotics or something natural, it will still come back.
6 – Get a Stool Test
If you have recurring urinary tract infections, your most important step to preventing a UTI is to get a comprehensive stool test and to work with a proficient practitioner. One of the best ways to get a picture of what is happening in the gut is to get a stool test. It will let us know what bacteria overgrowths there are and help inform what might be causing an imbalance. There are great natural antimicrobials like uva ursi or oregano oil that can kill different bacteria. Getting a full picture with a stool test will provide an understanding on how to keep it from coming back.
Prevent a UTI and Stay Healthy
Nobody wants burning pee or to take antibiotics regularly. Antibiotics destroy your gut health, so it’s important to take steps to prevent a UTI and stay healthy.
The most important thing to understand is that a UTI can be caused by an immune problem or bacteria overgrowth. If you are getting recurrent UTIs you can use antibiotics or natural ways to get rid of UTIs, but they are still going to come back because there is an immune problem. If you get recurrent UTIs, it can be a sign to get tested. We say that a lot, but it’s the only way to find out how the body is functioning. Everyone is different and the only way to get a full picture of what is causing a UTI is through testing. Everyone can agree it’s better to avoid a urinary tract infection!