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Incontinence & Overactive Bladder Health Center

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Urinary Problems and Injuries, Age 12 and Older - Prevention

You can help prevent urinary problems by following these tips:

  • Drink more fluids, enough to keep your urine light yellow or clear like water. Water and cranberry juice are good choices. Extra fluids help flush the urinary tract. Note: If you have kidney, heart, or liver disease and have to limit fluids, talk with your doctor before you increase the amount of fluids you drink.
  • Do not drink alcohol, caffeine, and carbonated beverages, which can irritate the bladder.
  • Urinate frequently. Urinate whenever you have the urge.
  • Wash the genital area once a day with plain water or mild soap. Rinse well and dry thoroughly.
  • Increase the amount of fiber in your diet. Constipation may make your symptoms worse. For more information, see the topic Constipation, Age 12 and Older.

The following tips can help women prevent urinary symptoms:

  • Wipe from front to back after using the toilet. This may reduce the spread of bacteria from the anus to the urethra.
  • Do not take bubble baths or use perfumed soaps or powders in the genital area. These products may cause genital skin irritation.
  • Do not douche, and do not use vaginal deodorants or perfumed feminine hygiene products.
  • Wear cotton underwear, cotton-lined panty hose, and loose clothing. This helps promote the circulation of air to the vaginal area.
  • Change sanitary napkins often.
  • Drink extra water before intercourse, and urinate promptly afterward. This is especially important if you have had many urinary tract infections.
  • Do not use a diaphragm or spermicidal cream, foam, or gel. A diaphragm may put pressure on your urethra. This pressure may slow down or prevent your bladder from emptying completely. Spermicides can cause genital skin irritation. For more information on methods of birth control, see the topic Birth Control.

For information about preventing kidney stone formation, see the topic Kidney Stones.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: November 14, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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