It is more common for women to experience bladder infections, which can cause pain and burning during urination. However, did you know that you can work toward preventing one from developing? Avoid symptoms that may also include abdominal discomfort and nausea by practicing good hygiene and a number of other healthy-bladder techniques.
Preventing a bladder infection
Do you know how to prevent a bladder infection? These basic tips are an easy adjustment for females of all ages:
- When you have to use the bathroom, go. This can be as often as once every four hours.1
- Drink plenty of water, and try to enjoy a glass of cranberry juice (not cranberry juice cocktail) if you think you may be developing a bladder infection.
- Limit your intake of coffee and alcohol – these both may irritate your bladder.
- When using the bathroom, always wipe from front to back.
- Take showers instead of baths, and use a separate washcloth for cleaning your vaginal area.
- Avoid wearing tight-fitting underwear, and opt for cotton fabrics.
- Change out of a wet bathing suit as soon as possible.2
- Don't purchase deodorant sprays, douches, pad or tampons that have perfumes.
- Instead of diaphragms or spermicides that often cause bladder infections, consider alternate methods of birth control.
Urinary tract infection
In larger cases, some women suffer from urinary tract infections – which is when the bacteria spreads to the kidneys, ureters or urethra. These are often treated by a round of antibiotics, but there are a number of these you can do to prevent one from developing in the first place.3 It's as simple as:
- Using pads instead of tampons – just be sure to change it every time you use the bathroom.
- Getting rid of your diaphragm altogether – these can prevent you from completely emptying your bladder.
- Having your doctor prescribe preventative antibiotics – these can be taken daily or following intercourse, depending on what your primary health care provider thinks is best.
In some cases, both bladder infections and UTIs may lead to urinary incontinence.4 This is when you lose control of your bladder. Other causes may include:
- Over-hydration – drinking too much fluid can be hard for your bladder to deal with.
- Medications – some heart, blood pressure and muscle relaxant prescriptions may cause urinary incontinence as a side effect.
- Constipation – this can cause your nerves in the bladder to be overactive.
- Aging – your muscles may not be capable of storing urine in your bladder as you grow older, causing over-activity.
1 WebMD, "Understand bladder infections — prevention" May 6, 2013
2 HealthDay, "Health tip: avoiding bladder infection" June 10, 2005
3 Everyday Health, "10 tips for preventing urinary tract infections" October 29, 2010
4 Mayo Clinic, "Urinary incontinence – causes" June 25, 2011