Women are far more likely than men to experience a urinary tract infection. This is due, in part, to the fact that a woman's urethra is very close to her bum, allowing bacteria to hop across. Gee, thanks, evolution!
But this needn't get us down. Medically diagnosed cystitis, more commonly known as a UTI, occurs when foreign bacteria enter and unsettle the urinary tract. It’s a pain in the neck (among other places) but there's much we can do to help reduce the occurrence of them. Here are our top five tips:
1) Stay well hydrated
The kidneys are the centre of the urinary system. They filter waste products and send them to the bladder as urine.
By staying hydrated, you can help your kidneys flush out any unwelcome bacteria that can accumulate in the urethra and bladder.
An adult woman should be aiming to drink around two litres of water a day, depending on the climate. A rule of thumb is to drink enough water that your urine is pale yellow, or almost clear in colour.
2) Wipe from front to back
As your mum probably taught you as a child, it’s best to wipe from front to back when going to the toilet, as it’s otherwise easy to transport E. coli and other unwanted bacteria from your backside to your urinary tract.
Thanks to another interesting design feature, a woman's urethra is only four centimetres long, making life even easier for E. coli.
E. coli is responsible for nearly all urinary tract infections - around ninety percent - so be sure to wipe gently from front to back.
3) Don't hold it in
If you feel an urge to pee, don't cross your legs and ignore it. Your bladder and kidneys rely on frequent urination to wash out accumulating bacteria.
And make sure you empty your bladder fully, even if you're in a rush.
If urine is left to pool in the bladder, bacteria can multiply.
4) Pee after sex
Most UTIs occur when you're sexually active and are especially common early in a new relationship, when sex is generally more frequent, adventurous and, let's face it, clumsy.
By urinating after sex, you can help flush out any bacteria that may have entered the urethra during intercourse.
Your method of contraception can also have an influence. Using a diaphragm for birth control has been linked to an increased chance of UTIs, as it can prevent the bladder from emptying completely.
5) Consider cranberry to help reduce the occurrence of medically diagnosed cystitis
In addition to our previous tips, cranberry can help reduce bacteria adhering to the urinary tract, which can help reduce the occurrence of medically diagnosed cystitis.
Life-Space Urogen™ Probiotic for Women contains cranberry to support urinary tract health, plus five premium probiotic strains to support the health and function of the immune system.
Always read the label. Follow the directions for use. If symptoms persist, worsen or change unexpectedly, talk to your health professional.