How Can I Prevent Urinary Tract Infections?

Medically Reviewed by Traci C. Johnson, MD on April 17, 2021

How Can I Prevent Urinary Tract Infections?

There are several things you can remember to do to prevent urinary tract infections (UTIs):

  • When you go to the bathroom, wipe from front to back after you urinate or have a bowel movement.
  • Wash the area between the anus and genitals.
  • Showers are better than baths. Don’t use douches, or sprays and powders “down there.”
  • Go to the bathroom when you feel the need – don’t hold it in. Try to urinate before and after sex.
  • Don’t wear tight jeans or nylon underwear (cotton is better).
  • If you use birth control, choose a kind that’s not a diaphragm and/or spermicidal jelly.
  • Drink plenty of fluids (water is best) to prevent dehydration.
  • Drink unsweetened cranberry juice or ask your doctor if cranberry supplements could help. The research on how well these work to prevent UTIs is mixed.

In rare cases doctors might prescribe antibiotics for prevention. If you get a prescription for an antibiotic, follow the instructions and take all the pills.

Show Sources


National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.

American Academy of Family Physicians.

The Urology Institute.


American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

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