Learn how to prevent a UTI naturally with these 5 Physiotherapy bladder management tips. These simple techniques are outlined in this UTI prevention video to reduce your risk of repeat bladder infection and the need for repeat antibiotic medication.
These bladder management tips are suitable for adult women and men who suffer from repeat UTI and seek natural solutions for prevention.
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1. Drink Water to prevent a UTI
Drinking water throughout the day is a helpful strategy to prevent UTI. Bacteria have tiny leg-like projections that allow them to cling onto the inside surface of the bladder.
Drinking water helps flush bacteria through the urinary tract so they can’t stick to the walls and multiply. Water also dilutes the urine in your bladder making it less irritating and less painful to pass during a bladder infection.
How much water should you drink to prevent UTI?
Drinking too much water is unhealthy and can deplete your body of important salts. Sip small amounts of water throughout the day to continually flush bacteria through your bladder and urine tube and prevent them sticking to the inner lining.
Aim to drink around 6 – 8, 8oz cups of water or around 240 mls per day.
2. Consume Cranberry
Research supports the regular intake of cranberry for preventing repeat UTI (cranberry juice or cranberry tablets). Cranberries contain antioxidants known as polyphenols that stop bacteria sticking to the inner walls of the bladder. In this way regularly consuming cranberry may help you prevent bladder infections.
How much cranberry juice to prevent UTI?
Drink 1-2 x 6-8 oz glasses of cranberry juice daily to help prevent repeat UTI.
Note that cranberry can interact with Warfarin (blood thinner). Consult with your doctor before consuming cranberries if you are taking Warfarin medication.
3. Completely Empty your Bladder
Urine that remains in the bladder after voiding can increase the likelihood of a bladder infection. Retained urine can contain bacteria that can multiply causing repeat bladder infections. You may be prone to urinary retention if you have a pelvic organ prolapse or tight pelvic floor muscles.
Tips to completely empty your bladder:
- Sit on the toilet seat (or squat) rather than hovering over the toilet seat
- Take your time to empty your bladder completely and try not to rush
- Use the double void technique if you’re not emptying your bladder fully. If you’re not sure how to do this technique, refer to this bladder emptying video
4. Intimate Health to Prevent UTI
Bacteria can enter the urine tube during intimacy. Honeymoon cystitis (UTI) is caused by E Coli bacteria entering the bladder with intimacy and then multiplying.
How to prevent UTI after sex:
- Empty your bladder before and after intimacy to flush bacteria from within.
- Use water-based lubricant rather than oil-based lubricant. Water-based lubricants wash off the body more readily than oil-based lubricants that stick to the skin increasing the likelihood of bacteria clinging to the skin and multiplying.
- Wash intimate areas with warm water and avoid using soaps or perfumes that can interfere with vulval health.
Using vaginal oestrogen isn’t a natural solution for repeat bladder infections however this strategy is well worth knowing about for women during and after menopause. Body changes with menopause make women more susceptible to bladder infections. The opening to the urine tube becomes larger because the tissues shrink when estrogen decreases (shown below).
Vaginal estrogen (either cream or pessary form) can nourish and plump up the tissues that line the inside of the urine tube (shown below), thereby reducing access to entry. The result is that bacteria are less able to enter the urine tube and cause repeat bladder infection. Estrogen also makes the bladder lining more resistant to infection thereby further reducing the risk of repeat UTI.
Speak with your doctor about your suitability for using vaginal estrogen to assist with UTI prevention for more information.
Summary how to prevent repeat UTI
Resuce your risk or prevent repeat UTI by:
- Drinking more water
- Consuming cranberry juice or cranberry tablets
- Emptying the bladder completely
- Adopting hygienic intimate health practices
- Using vaginal estrogen with menopause and beyond.
Schaeffer, Edward M., MD, PhD. (2014). Re: Cranberries for Preventing Urinary Tract Infections. The Journal of Urology, 192(4), 1130–1130. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.juro.2014.07.030
Hisano M, Bruschini H, Nicodemo AC, Srougi M. Cranberries and lower urinary tract infection prevention. Clinics (Sao Paulo). 2012;67(6):661-668. doi:10.6061/clinics/2012(06)18
Jepson RG, et al. (2012). Cranberries for preventing urinary tract infections. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, (10).
Petra Lüthje , Hanna Brauner, Nubia L Ramos, Amanda Ovregaard, Regine Gläser, Angelica Lindén Hirschberg, Pontus Aspenström, Annelie Brauner (2013) Estrogen supports urothelial defense mechanisms. Science Translational Medicine Jun 19;5(190):190ra80. doi: 10.1126/scitranslmed.3005574. DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.3005574