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Bladder infections or urinary tract infections (UTIs) are quite common, especially among women. In most cases, antibiotics are required to cure bladder infections. Those who suffer from frequent bladder infections may be able to focus on prevention to help reduce recurrences.
Of primary importance in reducing bladder infections are good bathroom hygiene habits. Women should never wipe the anus and then wipe the vagina. Wiping should go from front to back to avoid contaminating the vagina, and hence the bladder with bacteria from the anus. Appropriate handwashing for 20 seconds with warm soapy water, after using the bathroom, can also help reduce bladder infections as well as other illnesses.
Incidence of bladder infections may also be reduced by sanitary sexual habits. Washing after and before sexual activity may be of assistance. Bladder infections can be caused by the presence of bacteria in and around the anus, which can be introduced into the vagina during intercourse.
Drinking an appropriate amount of water daily, approximately six to eight glasses, can also help reduce bladder infections. One should also never attempt to put off urinating, since it is theorized that holding urine in the bladder may cause a more rapid spread of bacteria. Most doctors recommend urinating every couple of hours during the day, although it is considered safe to hold urine during sleep.
Bladder infections may also be reduced by wearing cotton crotch, or preferably 100% cotton underwear. Cotton underwear is breathable, allowing potential germ culturing moisture to escape. As well, if you wear maxi-pads, these should be changed regularly.
Many swear by drinking cranberry juice or taking cranberry supplements. Cranberry makes urine acidic, as does vitamin C. More acidic urine means that fewer bacteria can grow. However, this effect may be diminished by cranberry juice sweetened with sugar. Instead, select a cranberry juice that is sweetened only by grape or apple juice.
Though vitamin C intake can prevent some bladder infections, a high amount of uric acid in the bladder can crystallize, causing bladder stones. Vitamin C intake should be moderate and not exceed recommended daily allowances.
Even if you are trying home remedies to treat bladder infections, you should still consult a doctor if you suspect one. Bladder infections tend not to dissipate without the help of antibiotics. Ignoring an infection can result in worsening conditions, even if one takes herbal supplements for treatment.
It's also important to know the symptoms of bladder infections, just in case the prevention doesn't work.
The most common bladder infection symptoms are pain in the lower abdomen, cloudy or reddish urine, and a burning sensation when peeing.
Many people also feel the urge to urinate more often.
It is easy to mistake bladder infections in the elderly for incontinence, so be aware that elderly people are prone to bladder infection, particularly elderly men.
If an elderly person in your care suddenly becomes incontinent, has a fever, or becomes confused, it could be a sign of a bladder infection, and should be checked out by a doctor.
That's a good tip to remind people not to try and use sugary cranberry cocktails to prevent bladder infections.
So often people come into my office and tell me they've been drinking a lot of cranberry cocktail because they've heard it is a good bladder infection treatment or preventative measure.
All I can tell them is that though their intentions are good, they're probably not getting everything they hoped out of that so called "cocktail".
One of the lesser-known causes of bladder infections is STDs.
In fact, chlamydia bacteria are one of the leading causes of urinary tract infections in younger men.
Another type of bacteria, mycoplasma, can also be transmitted sexually, and can cause bladder infection in both men and women.
Yet another reason to have safe, hygienic intercourse.
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