Prevention of Urinary Tract Infections

Urinary Tract Physiology

A bladder or urinary tract infection is very uncomfortable, affecting women much more often than men. There are a few ways to try to help prevent this problem. The urinary system is comprised of your kidney, bladder, ureters and the urethra. The system is responsible for removing waste from the body through urine.

In a healthy urinary system antibodies are used by the immune system to identify and neutralize foreign objects, such as bacteria and viruses. Urine is the normally sterile but may appear cloudy with an infection. Immunoglobulin are proteins that fight bacteria and are used by the immune system to identify and neutralize foreign objects, such as bacteria and viruses.

Woman in Pain

source visualphotos
source visualphotos

Signs and Symptoms of a Bladder Infection

When you get a urinary tract infection (UTI) there will be no doubt as to what the problem is as the symptoms are very distinctive and painful. Fifty percent of women get at least one UTI in their lifetime and many have several infections, The distinctive symptoms of a urinary tract infection include:

  • A strong urge to urinate immediately
  • Pain with a small amount of urine
  • Blood tinged urine,
  • May have a strong odor
  • Frequent urge to urinate
  • Soreness may occur in the lower abdomen or back
  • Possible fever above 101°
  • Chills and shaking or night sweats
  • Sometimes nausea and vomiting.

Women have pelvic pain while men have rectal pain. It is important to get medical treatment as soon as you realize you have this infection. It will continue to travel up to your kidneys and become more serious.

Physical Anatomy of Urinary System

source merckmanuals
source merckmanuals

Physician Treatment

The doctor will want a urine specimen for a culture before treating you with an antibiotic to make sure he is prescribing the right medication. If you are a women who gets these infections frequently he probably would begin treatment immediately. You can buy Pyridium over the counter and keep on hand to treat the painful spasms that accompany these infections. This medication doesn’t treat the infection.

Women who get frequent infections quite often keep a 3 day supply of antibiotics in their home so they can start immediate treatment at the first sign of infection. There are some women who have to take a singe daily dose of an antibiotic to prevent the infection.

Common Cause of Bladder Infection

The most common cause of UTI’s happen due to bacteria from the bowel that live on the skin near the rectum or in the vagina, which can spread and enter the urinary tract through the urethra. Once bacteria enter the urethra they travel toward the bladder causing the infection

Sex as a Cause

Sexual intercourse is a common cause of urinary tract infections because the female anatomy can make women more prone to urinary tract infections. During sexual activity, bacteria in the vaginal area are sometimes massaged into the urethra. Women who have more sexual partners often have more infections.

Other Causes

Another cause of UTI’s is waiting too long to urinate. The bladder is a muscle that stretches to hold urine and contracts when the urine is released. The muscle can weaken over time, and then it may not empty completely. Some women have jobs that keep them from being able to empty their bladders as often as necessary.

A few other factors are pregnancy, diabetes and menopause that can increase your risk of infection. Avoid coffee, alcohol, and spicy foods, all of which irritate the bladder. Also quit smoking. Smoking irritates the bladder and is known to cause bladder cancer

Kidney Infection Byte

Signs and Symptoms for a man

While women have pelvic pain, men have rectal pain. The symptoms the men get are otherwise similar to the womans.

Cranberries and Juice

source flickr
source flickr

Preventative Treatment

  • Home treatment ways to help prevent bladder infections:
  • Drink plenty of fluids - the equivalent of six to eight 8-ounce glasses - every day to flush bacteria out of your urinary system. This does NOT mean eight glasses of water in addition to everything else you drink.
  • Make sure you're getting a lot of vitamin C in your diet or take a 1000 mg vitamin C tablet daily,
  • Vitamin C, or ascorbic acid, makes your urine acidic, which discourages the growth of bacteria.
  • Drinking cranberry juice coats the wall of the bladder so the bacteria cannot stick to the walls. Cranberry tablets are a more concentrated form of cranberry juice without the sugar content. Either is effective.
  • Urinate every two to three hours. Keeping urine in your bladder for long periods gives bacteria a place to grow.
  • Avoid using feminine hygiene sprays and scented douches. They also may irritate the urethra.
  • Always wipe from the front to the back and teach this to your little girls at a young age.
  • Urinate after sex.

Physician Treatment

If you suffer from urinary tract infections more than three times a year, your health care professional may suggest one of the following therapies to try to prevent another recurrence:

  • a low dosage of an antibiotic medication, such as trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole or nitrofurantoin, taken daily for six months or longer
  • a single dose of an antibiotic medication taken after sexual intercourse if it is determined that your UTIs are related to sex.
  • a short, one- or two-day course of antibiotic medication taken when symptoms appear.


source commons wickimedia
source commons wickimedia

Sweet Doggy

source scenicreflections
source scenicreflections

Children, Cats and Dogs Get UTI's

Young children, dogs and cats can all get urinary tract infections. You might not be aware that you pet is ill immediately, but they can get serious ill quickly. Obviously children need to be seen by their pediatricians.

Cats and dogs both need a vet appointment as soon as possible as it is sometimes tough to tell exactly what the problem is with pets. If you note blood tinged urine, or if your pet feels much warmer than usual, that might mean they have a fever, so It is best to err on the side of safety.


As with all diseases doctors are seeing some resistance to the typical antibiotic treatments as the bacteria get stronger. Scientists at the University of Michigan are working on a new vaccine that will effectively prevent urinary tract infections. It actually works by preparing the body to fight Escherichia coli (E-Coli} which is the most common cause of UTI’s and has been very effective in studies. The bad news is that it will take 3-5 years to be put on the market.

As you are aware bladder or urinary tract infection are painful, and we want to focus on prevention.

Women and Bladder Infections

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Comments 41 comments

CYBERSUPE profile image


Good Morning Pamela,

Very informative article and a common condition. As a Dow Pharmaceutical salesman for 20 years, I heard alot about uninary track infections. Hope those reading this Hub will garner what to do to prevent or treat this type of infection. The very best to you and yours Pamela. God Bless!

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States Author

Cybersupe, You are really aware of the inside tract working as a pharmaceutical salesman. Apparently they have been trying to perfect this medication for 10 years and just now getting successful results. Thank you for your comment. God Bless you and yours as well.

CYBERSUPE profile image


Thank You so much Pamela.

Tom Whitworth profile image

Tom Whitworth 6 years ago from Moundsville, WV


Great hub on UTIs.

I had a personal encounter with this affliction. I helped my ex-wife get over recurrent battles with UTIs by telling her to take large doses of vitamin C and it worked like a charm after she had doctored for over a year.

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States Author

Tom, It is great that you got her on vitamin C. Thanks so much for sharing your experience.

brandrocker profile image

brandrocker 6 years ago

That's a good hub! Informative and once again spreading the awareness required for early detection. Thanks.

Hello, hello, profile image

Hello, hello, 6 years ago from London, UK

I enjoyed reading you hub and found it very helpful. Thank you.

dallas93444 profile image

dallas93444 6 years ago from Bakersfield, CA

Great information!

lctodd1947 profile image

lctodd1947 6 years ago from USA

Pamela, this is a great hub and it is very helpful for us women. I have been experiencing something similar and no, it is not something that I have had often. I am very healthy and do not go to the doctor, unless I have to. But, I hope it is about clear. No fever or anything but discomfort and frequent. It is better and I hope and think, nothing serious.

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States Author

bandrocker, I appreciate your comments.

Hello, Thanks for your comment.

Dallas, Thank you for your comment.

IcTodd, Maybe trying some vitamin C and cranberry juice would relieve the discomfort.

Georgina_writes profile image

Georgina_writes 6 years ago from Dartmoor

Hi Pamela, what a great hub - really informative. There's just one thing - it's important not to drink Cranberry juice whilst taking the antibiotic Trimethoprim (1st line treatment for UTI in the UK), as the Cranberry stops the antibiotic from working.

I love the way you incorporated the diagrams, and the vote up capsule. Rated up

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States Author

Georgina, Thank you for sharing that information as I never saw that in my research. I do know that you should avoid too much sun.

I hadn't seen you in a while so welcome back or perhaps I just missed you as I have been so busy with 60 day challenge. I appreciate your comments.

katiem2 profile image

katiem2 6 years ago from I'm outta here

Great advice that works, Your Urinary Tract Infections –Prevention is sound advice that I practice and have no signs or syptoms of a tract or bladder infection!

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States Author

Katiem, Thanks for your comment.

akirchner profile image

akirchner 6 years ago from Central Oregon

Good advice indeed; I've only had one and one kidney infection and both of those were enough for me! I love your separation bars in the layout too - really cool!

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States Author

audry, Thanks so much, I appreciate your comments.

K9keystrokes profile image

K9keystrokes 6 years ago from Northern, California

As always, a brilliant hub with perfect tips to help with Urinary tract infections. A very painful event and can certainly become something more without attention. The mircle of the cranberry, a deightful perscription!

Thanks for a wonderful hub Pam.


bayoulady profile image

bayoulady 6 years ago from Northern Louisiana,USA

Well done! You should have great traffic for this much needed information all in one place without having to do a series of flow chart clicks like on the MD websites.

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States Author

K9keystrokes, Thank you so much for your comments. Cranberry is a real help for this problem and enjoy it anyway.

bayoulady, I tried to put all the pertinent information in this hub as so many people suffer from UTI's. Thanks for your comment.

Sage Williams profile image

Sage Williams 6 years ago

Pamela - I have had my share of UTI's, so I can vouch for everything that you have written. You have covered the entire gamut. From signs and symptoms, to preventatives, diagnosing to treatments.

Awesome job,


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States Author

Sage, Thanks for sharing your experience and for your comments.

prasetio30 profile image

prasetio30 6 years ago from malang-indonesia

Another great hub from you. I always get new information from you, again and again. I learn much from this. I'll share this information to the people around me. Preventing is much better than healing, right. Vote and vote up.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States Author

Prasetio, Preventing is always the first choice. Thank you so much for your comments.

Coolmon2009 profile image

Coolmon2009 6 years ago from Texas, USA

Good health related information, I will tweet this one.

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States Author

Coolman, Thank you for the tweet and the comments. Greatly appreciated.

dawnM profile image

dawnM 6 years ago from THOUSAND OAKS

Great information Pamela99, I am one of those people who get a UTI every time I have sexual intercourse, so I so exactly what you said I take a small antibiotic every time and it works, but I just stumbled onto a natural pill that has cranberry and a pro-biotic in it. My mom has the same problem and she gave me the pill the other day. I will get the name and give it to you, it is similar to cranacton. Very helpful information

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States Author

Dawn. it would be better to take something natural than an antibiotic and I would love to have it on the hub. UTI's are a problem for so many women and that pill sounds great. Thanks for the information.

drpastorcarlotta profile image

drpastorcarlotta 6 years ago from BREAKOUT MINISTRIES, INC. KC

There was some things here that I did not know that causes urinary infections! Thank you soooooooooo much! Very informational Hub! I voted useful!!!! AMEN!

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States Author

drpastorcarlotta, I am glad the hub was helpful for you. Thanks for your comments.

fastfreta profile image

fastfreta 6 years ago from Southern California

Pam, this hub caught my eye, because I recently suffered with a urinary tract infection. However, as I usually do I treated it with herbs, I must admit that it was a minor case, had I had a full blown case I would have gone to the doctor. Um, I guess that it TMI, (too much info, huh)! Anyway I thoroughly enjoyed it, and as usual I gave you an up rating. See you again soon.

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States Author

fastfreta, I'm glad you enjoyed the hub and thank you for your comment.

Support Med. profile image

Support Med. 6 years ago from Michigan

Urinating when necessary is very important. Lots of cranberry juice here. Enjoyed the video. Voted/rated.

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States Author

Support Med, I love cranberry juice. Thanks for your comment

Janice  6 years ago

Very informative hub! I always hear other people saying UTI is the result of eating too much junk foods and drinking less amount of water. Thanks for the additional information.

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States Author

Janice, Well now you know that is not true, although keeping your sugar intake down and drinking water is helpful, but drinking cranberry juice is also helpful.

Thanks for your comments.

Joanne 5 years ago

Boy, I use to get urinary tract infections all the time. Then I started drinking cranberry juice everyday. I drink one 8 ounce glass a day. It seems to work for me.

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 5 years ago from United States Author

Joanne, Cranberry juice works so well for many people thank goodness. Thank you for your comments.

Heather Says profile image

Heather Says 5 years ago from Buckeye, Arizona

So helpful! I take a daily cranberry pill, myself. Since I was a teenager, I have had uti's and it's always for a different reason. This was more informative than any article I've read before when trying to educate myself. Thanks for the info!

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 5 years ago from United States Author

Heather, I'm so glad this hub was helpful to you. Some women get UTI's much more easily than others and unfortunately that sounds like you. Thanks for your comments.

DianeA 4 years ago

I suffer from frequent urinary tract infections (unfortunately I would get one about 50% of the time after intercourse--even after urinating directly afterwards). I started taking Lady Soma's Cranberry Supplement (the maximum of 4 a day) only when I had intercourse, or when I felt a UTI coming on (although once I felt it coming on, it was sometimes too late). My UTIs are way down from how frequently I was getting them without the lady soma cranberry supplement. I have lost my health insurance and was concerned about the expense of having to go to the doctor or ER for UTI's, so I began taking 2 pills a day (and 4 on the days that I have intercourse), and have not had a problem since.

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 4 years ago from United States Author

DianeA, That is wonderful news for many women. Some women get UTI's more easily than others due to their anatomy for one reason. Cranberries are the perfect acidic juice to help prevent infections and I am glad it is working for you. I appreciate you sharing this information with others.

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