What is a urinary tract infection (UTI)?
A urinary tract infection (UTI) is when bacteria from outside the body gets into the urinary tract, affecting the kidneys, bladder, or the urethra. Although anyone can get a urinary tract infection, they are most common in women and often cause painful urination and other symptoms, according to Cleveland Clinic. (Here are some surprising reasons you’re getting UTIs out of nowhere.) The traditional and least complicated UTI treatment is antibiotics, according to Tami Prince, MD, an OB/GYN and owner of Women’s Health and Wellness Center of Georgia, LLC. There are, however, strategies for protecting against, preventing, and reducing the risk of UTI reoccurrence with the following home remedies for UTIs.
Always use the bathroom post-sex
This is one of the most important home remedies for UTI prevention. After sex, pee immediately to flush any bacteria that might enter the urethra and wipe front to back. Peeing when you feel the need, even if you aren’t having sex, is essential for UTI prevention, too, adds Sherry Ross, MD, an OB/GYN and women’s health expert in Santa Monica, California. “A general rule of thumb is to urinate every two to three hours or when you first feel the urge,” says Dr. Ross, also the author of She-ology. Holding in urine for long periods of time will lead to bacteria buildup—exactly what you want to avoid. Also, always remember to wipe front to back since doing the opposite could transfer bacteria and increase your risk of a UTI, Dr. Ross says. Ironically, having to pee often is one of the 9 symptoms of a urinary tract infection everyone should know.
Don’t take a bath after sex
The chemicals in bath salts and gels can irritate the urethra and make it prone to infections. Also avoid harsh chemicals or perfumes found in feminine sprays; scented toilet paper; and feminine products, douches, and deodorants. These can disrupt the normal pH balance in the vagina and increase your risk for harmful bacteria, according to Dr. Ross. And never take a bath in a hotel tub.