Women and Urinary Tract Infection Prevention

Women and Urinary Tract Infection Prevention
Half of women will experience at least one urinary tract infection (UTI) and may be at increased odds for this uncomfortable experience reoccurring. Simply put, it shouldn’t hurt to urinate. Understanding the causes of UTIs will help you understand how to prevent them.

UTI is usually caused by E. coli, a bacteria normally residing in the lower intestine. The urinary tract, including kidneys, ureters, bladder and most of the urethra, is normally sterile. Contamination and irritation of the urethral opening can lead to a UTI. Spermicides are also an associated cause. For young women, the most common cause is sexual activity.

Anatomic differences of women in general, even temporary changes like pregnancy and constipation and menopause, can also contribute to the development of a UTI.
What are some prevention strategies?

For children with UTIs:
  • Teach proper wiping: front to back.
  • Teach not to hold urine more than five hours while awake.
For women, all of the above, plus:
  • Avoid spermicides if you have repeat UTI.>/li>
  • Urinate after intercourse.
  • Avoid perfumed feminine products. Tampons may be better than feminine napkins.
  • No douching.
  • Avoid tight, non-breathable clothing. Germs flourish in dark moist environments.
Vaccines and vaginal probiotics that also help prevent UTIs may be available in the future. Until then, whenever you have the symptoms of a UTI: pain with urination, frequency of urination, changes in the smell or color of urine, it is time to visit your health care provider. Back  
  • Barb Van Der Male, NP-C

    Barb Van Der Male, NP-C

    A true lover of small towns, Barb Van Der Male, NP-C, was born at the same hospital she has worked in for over 15 years. Working at Holland Hospital Urgent Care is wonderful for Barb since she loves treating the variety of ages and conditions she encounters. Outside of work you can find Barb hiking, whether it’s locally at Saugatuck Dunes, or farther afield, most recently exploring Denali National Park in Alaska.

    Barb Van Der Male, NP-C

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