When most people think of a urinary tract infection, the first remedy that comes to mind is probably a glass of cranberry juice — or multiple glasses, if you want that bacteria flushed out immediately. While cranberries do contain an active ingredient that may help prevent bacteria from sticking to the bladder walls, there isn’t enough evidence to support that the fruit can cure your symptoms. Instead of dealing with the annoyingly painful symptoms, follow these tips to prevent the infection before it happens.
Pee after sex
If you’re sexually active, this is by far the most important thing you should be doing after sex. Honestly, going to the bathroom right after intercourse is probably not the first thing on your mind, but not peeing after will be a bigger mistake than the awkward, alcohol-induced one-night stand you just had. According to Alan B. Copperman M.D., director of the division of reproductive endocrinology at Mount Sinai Medical Center, “Sex is often associated with UTIs because sexual intercourse introduces bacteria through the urethra and into a woman’s urinary tract.” So ladies, even if the only thing you want to do after sex is sleep, make sure you’re hitting the bathroom first before you hit the bed.
Take a shower after sex
Another easy and fun way to prevent a UTI from sex is to hop in the shower with your partner before and after the act. Not only will you be able to engage in some fun shower sex, you (or your partner) will also simultaneously be cleaning your genital area, which is a bacteria breeding ground for infection. Anyone can also develop UTIs from sex regardless of their genitalia, so make sure both parties are cleaning down there and that a condom is always worn.
Avoid using a diaphragm
According to an article published The Washington Post, women who use diaphragms as their choice of contraception are twice as likely to get UTIs than women who take oral contraception. If you’re someone who’s prone to infection, talk to your doctor about opting for another method of birth control. In a 1986 study done by the Department of Medicine at the University of Washington, four doctors studied 22 women who used a diaphragm and experienced at least one UTI and 21 who used one and did not experience any infections. They concluded that a diaphragm can cause changes in vaginal bacteria, which may correlate to a urinary tract infection.
Drinking enough water seems to always be listed as an effective remedy for various infections — and there’s a good reason why. It seems pretty self-explanatory, but the more water you drink, the more often you’ll have to use the bathroom. The more times you use the bathroom, the more bacteria is flushed out of your urinary tract. The next time you’re having sex, make sure to leave a tall glass of water on your bedside table.
But what if I already have a UTI?
Well, the last thing you should be doing is relying on a 64 oz. bottle of Ocean Spray cranberry juice rather than seeing a health care professional. If you’ve followed precautionary steps to prevent a UTI after sex and are still experiencing symptoms, it’s important that you take a visit to the doctor, who can prescribe you with antibiotics to kill the bacteria quicker. If it seems like you’re getting these infections more often than normal, seeing a urologist is probably your next best option, as UTIs can be linked to other health conditions.