|Lifestyle changes may help prevent some UTIs.
BATHING AND HYGIENE
- Choose sanitary pads instead of tampons, which some doctors believe make infections more likely. Change the pad each time you use the bathroom.
- Do not douche or use feminine hygiene sprays or powders. As a general rule, do not use any product containing perfumes in the genital area.
- Keep your genital area clean. Clean the genital and anal areas before and after sexual activity.
- Take showers instead of baths. Avoid bath oils.
- Urinate before and after sexual activity.
- Wipe from front to back after using the bathroom.
- Avoid tight-fitting pants.
- Wear cotton-cloth underwear and pantyhose, and change both at least once a day.
- Drink plenty of fluids (2 to 4 quarts each day).
- Drink cranberry juice or use cranberry tablets, but NOT if you have a personal or family history of kidney stones.
- Do NOT drink fluids that irritate the bladder, such as alcohol and caffeine.
TREATMENT AT HOME
A mild urinary tract infection may go away on its own without treatment. However, antibiotics are usually recommended because there is a risk that the infection can spread to the kidneys. Antibiotics are taken by mouth, usually from 3 to 7 days. It is important that you finish all the medication.
Commonly used antibiotics include:
- Amoxicillin or Augmentin
- Doxycycline (should not be used under age 8)
- Sulfa drugs (sulfonamides)
- Quinolones (should not be used in children)
Your doctor may also recommend drugs to relieve the burning pain and urgent need to urinate, and to decrease bacteria in your urine.
Such medicines include:
- Acidifying medications such as ascorbic acid to lower the concentration of bacteria in the urine
- Phenazopyridine hydrochloride (Pyridium) to reduce urgency and burning with urination