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Urinary tract infections or UTIs affect over eight million Americans per year. They are more common in women. Furthermore, uncomfortable UTI symptoms can be prevented by practicing optimal hygiene. A UTI, also known as a bladder infection, can affect any part of your urinary system. These include the kidneys, bladder, or urethra. While not all cases of UTIs are preventable, you can lower your risk by following a few basic hygiene rules.

Here are common ways to reduce your risk for UTI:

  • Use the restroom as soon as you feel the urge to urinate.
  • Urinate and shower after engaging in sexual activity to wash away bacteria.
  • Wipe from front to back after bowel movements to prevent bacteria from coming into contact with the urethra.
  • Drink plenty of water to help your body flush out toxins and bacteria.
  • Wear cotton underwear that fits comfortably and isn’t too tight.

Sometimes, UTIs cannot be prevented. Fortunately, they are relatively easy to diagnose, given the intensity and discomfort of accompanying symptoms. Make an appointment with your OB-GYN as soon as possible if you experience one or more of the following common UTI symptoms:

  • Increased urge to urinate
  • Burning pain during urination
  • Blood in the urine
  • Pelvic pain
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Back pain
  • Fever
  • Urine that has a foul odor
  • Urine that looks dark or cloudy
  • Fatigue
  • Shaking