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Cystitis: Risk Factors and Treatment

Prevention and Self-Care

"The main way to prevent a UTI is to keep the urine diluted and drink lots of fluids," says Lewis. The same is true of caring for yourself when you have one. Traditionally, people recommend drinking cranberry juice, and evidence shows that a substance in the juice and in vitamin C supplements may suppress growth of bacteria.

To prevent and care for infections, you should also:

  • wipe from front to back after going to the bathroom so bacteria is not dragged from the anus to the urethra;
  • keep the genital area clean;
  • urinate often;
  • urinate immediately after intercourse and drink two glasses of fluid before and after to flush the bladder;
  • avoid douching, which can make the vulva less able to fend off infection;
  • avoid baths and take showers instead;
  • be sure to empty the bladder completely when urinating. In addition, when you have an infection, avoid alcohol, caffeine, spicy foods and citrus juices, which irritate the bladder.

Symptoms of Urinary Tract Infection

In rare instances, no symptoms may be apparent, but in most cases one or more of the following will be present:

  • pain, burning or discomfort during urination;
  • frequent need to urinate, though only small amounts of urine may come out;
  • nighttime urination;
  • pain in the lower back or abdomen;
  • strong or foul-smelling urine
  • cloudy urine;
  • blood in the urine. Other possible symptoms include fever, vomiting, chills, painful intercourse and fatigue.
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