The urinary tract is a crucial system in the human body responsible for producing, storing, and eliminating urine. It comprises the kidneys, which filter waste and excess fluids from the blood, the ureters that transport urine to the bladder, the bladder for urine storage, and the urethra for urine expulsion from the body. The urinary tract is often exposed to different harmful organisms and bacteria that obstruct the functioning of the tract and harm the individual attacked by the bacteria.
A urinary tract infection (UTI) is a bacterial infection that occurs in the urinary system, which includes the kidneys, ureters, bladder, and urethra. UTIs are often caused by bacteria entering the urinary tract, leading to symptoms such as pain or a burning sensation during urination, frequent urination, cloudy or bloody urine, and discomfort in the lower abdomen. UTIs are typically treated with antibiotics. If left untreated, they can lead to more severe complications, including kidney infections.
The harm caused by infection can be identified by symptoms such as pain while urinating, burning sensation during urination, smelly or cloudy urine, pain in the pelvic region in females, and other such symptoms. One major cause of bacteria affecting the urinary system is the spread of E. coli. It enters the urinary tract through various means and affects the system’s functioning. Preventing urinary tract infections involves intimate hygiene, as poor hygiene and UTIs go hand in hand. Maintaining hygiene of the urinary tract helps avoid harmful side effects of the bacteria and lowers the infection.
- coli bacteria
- Bladder infection
- Urethra infection
- Unprotected sex
- Using birth control medications
- Back pain
- Smelly and cloudy urine
- Painful and burning sensation while urinating
- Chills and fever
- Feeling to urinate in short intervals
Role of Hygiene to Preventing Urinary Tract Infections
- UTI hygiene is one of the most vital things to be followed to prevent the infection. Mentioned below are the advantages of maintaining intimate hygiene and how it helps to prevent UTI:
- Helps to Avoid Bacteria– The spread of bacteria is the major cause of the infection. Keeping the bacteria away from the tract should be the prime step. Maintaining intimate hygiene helps to lower the infection and all the side effects accompanying the bacteria. Maintaining hygiene also helps avoid inflammation of the bladder and kidneys that can harshly change the affected individual’s overall health.
- Lowers the Spread of Bacteria– Practices such as douching, holding urine for a longer time, or neglecting hydration can spread bacteria, leading to UTI. Maintaining hygienic practices helps lower the spread of bacteria and avoid infection in different urinary tract organs.
- No Breeding Ground for Bacteria– Infection can spread easily and allow the bacteria to multiply if the bacteria gets a perfect breeding situation, such as unhygienic conditions. If an individual maintains complete hygiene and follows a proper cleaning routine of the intimate area, then it helps to avoid the development of any breeding ground for the bacteria.
Essential Hygiene Practices to Avoid UTI
Below are some useful tips for preventing urinary tract infections:
- High Water Intake– People often do not focus on maintaining an ideal daily water intake level. They only drink a few sips of water, and the day passes. Maintaining an ideal water intake in a day helps to flush out the bacteria from the body that damage the functioning of the urinary tract and the organs of the tract. Drinking the ideal amount of water at home and carrying a water bottle while travelling is an advisable tip for people suffering from UTI.
- Cleaning Toilet Seat– A toilet seat is the biggest breeding ground for infection-causing bacteria and UTIs. The seat is used by multiple people multiple times a day. Not every individual using the toilet needs to maintain hygiene. It is highly advisable for people suffering from UTI to avoid using public washrooms. But in emergencies, one can use the toilets using toilet seat sprays, urinal cups, tissues, and sanitisers. The use of all these products helps to avoid the contact of bacteria with the genitals and also helps to avoid entering bacteria in the urinary tract.
- Washing Genitals– Bacteria can enter the genitals due to improper UTI hygiene. Unhygienic conditions such as longer use of the same innerwear, use of the same sanitary napkin for more than 4 hours, improper cleaning of genitals after defecation or urination, and avoiding washing of genitals before and after any sexual activity can lead to the spread of bacteria. Washing the genitals properly with clean water helps to get rid of germs and avoid spreading infection in the urinary tract.
- Urinate Regularly-Don’t hold in urine for extended periods. Urinate when you feel the need to do so.
- Avoid Irritants- Avoid using harsh soaps, douches, or perfumed products in the genital area, as they irritate the urethra.
- Wear Breathable Underwear- Choose cotton underwear and avoid tight-fitting pants to allow for better air circulation in the genital area.
- Stay Clean During Menstruation- Change sanitary products regularly during menstruation to prevent bacterial growth and infection.
- Urinate after Sex– Another advisable hygienic practice to lower the spread of bacteria is urination after sex. It helps flush bacteria from the body through the individual’s genital. It also helps to avoid the creation of a breeding ground for bacteria.
When to Consult a Doctor
You can also get in touch with the expert Urology doctors at Narayana Healthcare based in your city to get immediate attention and medical support during injuries, health disorders or any other health concern.
Preventing urinary tract infections helps to lower the spread of bacteria, the biggest cause of the infection. Proper hygiene practices help lower the infection and keep the tract safe from spreading bacteria.
Q. What is UTI?
A. Bacteria entering an individual urinary tract and affecting the system’s organs is a urinary tract infection.
Q. How can preventing urinary tract infections be made simple?
A. Maintaining intimate hygiene and following basic cleaning habits help to lower the spread of bacteria-causing UTIs.
Q. What hygiene practices to follow to avoid UTI?
A. The hygiene practices that can help reduce the chances of UTI are-
- Maintain good personal hygiene, especially in the genital area.
- Wipe from front to back after using the toilet.
- Stay hydrated to flush out bacteria.
- Urinate regularly, avoiding prolonged retention.
- Empty the bladder before and after sexual activity.
- Avoid harsh soaps, douches, or perfumed products in the genital area.
- Choose breathable cotton underwear and loose-fitting clothing.
- Maintain overall health with a balanced diet, exercise, and adequate sleep.
- Change sanitary products regularly during menstruation.
- Properly use and maintain catheters if needed.
- Seek prompt medical treatment for UTI symptoms.