When it comes to UTIs, if you know, then you know. UTIs are not comfortable or fun for anyone. Let’s just take a look at the list of common symptoms:
- Pain in the side, abdomen or pelvic area
- Frequent urination
- Urgent urination
- Painful urination
- Abnormal urination (in appearance or smell)
Like we said: not. Fun. And unfortunately, UTIs are the second most common type of infection in the body and 1 in 5 women will get them in their lifetime. It’s important to recognize the symptoms as UTIs can become more severe kidney infections, if untreated. So, it’s important to get to your doctor as soon as you experience any symptoms. If you’re looking to prevent this from happening again (or ever,) keep reading.
What causes UTIs?
In order to discuss prevention, we need to know what causes Urinary Tract Infections. The short answer is bacteria. These infections are a lot more common for women because we have shorter urinary tracts than men. Some women even get recurring UTIs (defined as more than 3 in a 6 month period.) How does bacteria get in our urinary tracts? Hint: it’s not just sex. Bacteria can enter your urinary tract in a number of ways, like when using the bathroom or wearing tight clothes at the gym, for example.
So, how can we avoid them? There are many day-to-day things we can do to actively avoid developing a UTI. And if you’ve ever experienced one, you know that doing these few things is worth it.
1) Use the bathroom when you need to
AKA don’t hold it. Holding your pee can encourage bacteria growth. So go when you gotta go and make sure you empty your bladder fully when you do.
2) Wipe front to back
When you do go, wipe from the front to the back rather than vice versa. Wiping from back to front can bring bacteria from your backside to your frontside and we don’t want that.
3) Drink plenty of water
Like, a lot of it. Even more than you think you need. The more you drink, the more frequently you have to pee which flushes bacteria.
4) Pee before and after sex
We hear this one all the time and that’s because it’s vital. A lot of bacteria can be spread around during sex, so it’s important to flush that bacteria from your system before and afterwards. You can even gently wash your vagina before sex if you want to decrease the chances of bacteria spreading further.
5) Switch to cotton undies and loose-fitting clothes
Say bye to spandex at the gym and especially when on your period. If you’re used to wearing tight period underwear, switch to a lightweight option that’s disposable for optimal hygiene. If you love your workout leggings too much to wear something else, make sure that you’re immediately changing out of your pants and underwear and cleaning down there post-workout.
6) Eat cranberries (if you want)
While research is very mixed on whether cranberry juice/cranberry extract actually helps prevent UTIs, many health professionals recommend it because it’s a low-risk option. If it doesn’t work, it doesn’t cause harm and helps you drink more fluid. But that cranberry juice with 50 grams of sugar isn’t going to help. Instead, try unsweetened, 100% cranberry juice or eat fresh cranberries.
How Your Underwear Can Help
Whether you have an active UTI or are trying to prevent one, wearing looser-fitting underwear made of lightweight materials can help. If you have an active UTI and are waiting for meds to kick in or to see your doctor, our Pretty Panty is actually made for exactly these situations. You can wear it alone (aka without the absorbent layer) to discourage bacteria growth or you can wear it with the absorbent layer for incontinence. If you want to prevent a UTI, the Pretty Panty is the optimal go-to underwear for your period as it traps liquid 3 layers away from your body, discouraging bacteria.
TL;DR – If we had to sum it all up: wear loose clothing and undies, pee often and drink a lottt of water… which should help with the pee thing. Here’s to being UTI-free! That’s our wish for you.