Bladder Infection - Prevention

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If you've had a bladder infection, what do you do to prevent another one?

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Can bladder infections be prevented?

Cranberry products (whole cranberries, cranberry juice, cranberry pills) and vitamin C are current natural remedies known to at least prevent bladder infection.

Proper female hygiene (for example, wiping from front to back) can prevent or reduce simple bladder infections in females. Hygienic use of bath tubs and douches can possibly reduce the risk of bladder infections.

In individuals with Foley catheters, appropriate Foley catheter care and frequent changing of the catheter (guided by the prescribing physician) are important methods to avoid frequent urine infection. These patients are at higher risk for frequent and chronic (long-term) bladder infection and sometimes their doctor may place them on preventive bladder infection antibiotics despite the lack of signs or symptoms of an infection.

Sexual intercourse is another potential risk factor for bladder infection. Thus, it may be advisable to empty the bladder (urinate) after sexual activity, draining bacteria that could have entered the bladder. This is not completely supported by available clinical data and is not recommended by some experts.

Preventive use of antibiotics may also have a role in preventing bladder infections. In some female patients with frequent bladder infections (more than 3 to 4 times per year) or with symptoms of bladder infection present after sexual intercourse, a short course of antibiotics can be taken as a preventive measure. This method needs to be recommended by the treating doctor and the strategy needs to be outlined for patients who are deemed reliable.

Preventive antibiotics are also sometimes recommended in patients undergoing invasive urologic procedures (cystoscopy, prostate biopsy, bladder biopsy). Occasionally, urinalysis and/or urine culture may be ordered before the procedure and if an infection is suggested, then antibiotics are prescribed to prevent an infection after the procedure.

Return to Bladder Infection (Cystitis)

See what others are saying

Comment from: Curiosity, 75 or over Female (Patient) Published: January 14

About 40 years ago, Dear Abby consulted urologists regarding UTIs (urinary tract infections) and advised readers not to sleep with panties on. I followed that successfully for years. Often, as an elderly female, I found I absentmindedly flushed before I got up! Flushing causes the release of many airborne bacteria, which then have access to the exposed genitalia, et al. I decided this can cause UTIs and bladder infections. Now, I get up before flushing!

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Comment from: Betsy, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: November 21

I had a severe bladder infection when I was 21 years old. My mother told me to drink cranberry juice mixed half and half with fresh, lots of pulp, orange juice. I have done that daily since then and have never, ever, had another bladder infection. I swear by the cranberry treatment. Orange juice makes it more effective.

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