Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are a year-round concern, especially for women, who are four times as likely to develop one, but the summer presents some unique challenges.
UTIs lead to 10 million doctor visits each year. As much as we like seeing our patients here at the Urology Center of Florida, we think hitting the beach is a far better way to spend your time. To help you avoid a UTI this summer, or any time of year here in sunny Pompano Beach, Dr. Craig Herman, Dr. Steven Kester, and our team have pulled together the following tips, which will go a long way toward keeping an infection at bay.
Hitting the pool
Taking a dip in the pool is a great way to cool off, but if it’s a public pool, be aware of the risks. If the pool water isn’t treated properly, it can become a petri dish full of harmful, opportunistic bacteria. This is especially true in the summer when these pools really heat up—bacteria love warm places.
Talk to the gym/club about how they take care of their pool to give you some peace of mind—enough chlorine and a good filtration system that keeps the water moving are usually sufficient for keeping germ levels low.
Keep it dry
It’s tempting to spend an entire summer day in your swimsuit, but it’s not the best idea if you’re trying to avoid a UTI. Not only do infection-causing bacteria like heat, they love damp environments. When you’re done swimming, swap your suit for dry clothes as soon as you can. While bathing suits are a primary offender, think about hitting the gym or going for a run—these sweaty clothes can also play host to harmful bacteria.
Hydrate, hydrate, and hydrate some more
Summers in Florida can be hot and humid, which means you’re sweating out valuable moisture. Be sure to drink plenty of fluids and urinate as frequently as possible, which flushes your system, expelling any bacteria that may have made their way into your urinary tract.
This tip is actually a year-round one—women should urinate (and clean) as soon as possible after sex. Intercourse is one of the biggest culprits when it comes to UTIs, as it can transfer bacteria into your urinary tract. A quick trip to the bathroom after sexual intercourse is a great flushing mechanism that clears your urethra.
In the bathroom
Here again, this tip is one that women especially should employ at any time of year—when you go to the bathroom, wipe front to back. One of the reasons why women are more prone to UTIs is the short distance between the anus and the urethra opening. Your anus and rectum harbor bacteria that your sensitive urinary tract can succumb to, so it’s best not to invite cross-contamination by wiping back to front.
Don’t hold it
Again, this tip falls under year-round counsel—don’t hold it when you have to urinate. Carrying a full bladder allows bacteria to set up shop.
By taking some simple precautionary steps, you can enjoy your summer without the pain and discomfort of a UTI. And if, despite your best efforts, a UTI does develop, come see us as soon as possible so we can clear up the infection. Postponing treatment can lead to larger infections—all the way up to your kidneys.
If you have any questions about preventing a UTI, please don’t hesitate to give us a call at (954) 361-3235, or schedule an appointment online.