Bladder Infection Prevention:

Why it's more than just drinking cranberry juice and wiping from front to back

When I was looking for bladder infection prevention for myself after years of recurring infections, I kept hoping I would stumble onto the magic cure. I imagined I would discover the one thing I was doing wrong and like magic I would never have another infection again.

Unfortunately it didn't quite pan out that way. Bladder Infection prevention turned out to be quite a journey for me and I found numerous triggers. Of course there are some simple things you can do to prevent bladder infections - click here for my top 3 tips for bladder infection prevention. If these aren't enough look below for a more complete list.

Hygiene.

One of the most common causes of bladder infections is E.coli, a bacteria which normally lives quite happily in the anus area. However if this gets pushed up your urethra or peehole and is left to do it's thing, you'll know all about it with a painful bladder infection.

There are some important things you can do for bladder infection prevention that will help to ensure that E.coli doesn't get into your urethra.

Always wipe from front to back.

No matter if you have done number ones or number two's, the correct method for wiping yourself downstairs is from the vagina pushing back to the anus. If you go the other direction, it is easy to move the bacteria to the urethra. This is imporant to teach children when they are potty training as a lifelong habit for bladder infection prevention.

Go to the bathroom when you need to.

Holding on until you find a place to pull the car over, or waiting till you get to the safety of your own bathroom instead of the grotty public one might sound like the only way to live, but it could be doing you damage. When you need to go to the bathroom, go. It might be not so pleasant but its a moment of gross in comparison to a few days of burning wees.

Click here for an interview with controversial author Sydney Ross Singer on this

There are also some suggested links between the type of toilet paper used and bladder infections. I always aim for unscented toilet paper as I find some types of fragranced toilet paper can make me a little itchy down there. Perhaps try a few different brands if you think this could a factor for you in bladder infection prevention.

Bathing and Showering.

As I have mentioned a few times on this site, showering often is necessary to make sure that bacteria or fungi from other areas dont get into the urethra. I aim for once, sometimes twice a day showers, depending on when I exercise. If you don't have time for a shower, a clean wet flannel to wipe around will do the trick - just make sure you don't leave it around for someone to come and wash their face with it!

Another thing to mention is the kind of products you use to clean yourself. I've turned into a bit of a hippie and I only like to use natural products on my skin now wherever possible, so I usually only use natural soaps fragranced with essential oils. But back in the old days, I found that a lot of products I used would irritate me - especially in the sensitve parts! Make sure you use products that don't irritate your skin, this includes soaps, body washes, and bubble baths. Make sure you rinse any products off once you are finished also.

Sanitary products

Worth mentioning also is the hygiene of your hygiene products. If you are sensitive down there, it is a good idea to use unfragranced pads and panty liners. If you are concerned about smell, change them more often. If you are still worried you have a bit of an odour happening down there, it may be a sign of another problem.

This also goes for feminine smellies for your downstairs too. Watch what you put down there, it can irritate the area and also throw the natural balance of things off. If you are worried that there might be a link between your bladder infections and using this stuff, then stop using it. Women went for centuries without using it, I'm sure you can too.

Tampons have also been linked to some issues with feminine hygiene. Make sure you change them regularly, at least every four hours. And this is a weird thing to note, but watch where you put the tampon string, once its in. If it goes backwards and gets microscopic bacteria on it and then moves forward this could easily transfer to your urethra. When you are inserting tampons, make sure you have clean hands and that the tampon doesn't touch anything else. I know sometimes this can be a struggle if you are trying to juggle a handbag, and change a tampon.

Clothing

Underwear.

It is important to wear clean, dry knickers everyday. I make an effort to change mine after exercise where they have gotten a little sweaty. This also means I am a crazy lady and when I go on holiday I pack too many knickers just in case of emergency. Never yet needed emergency knickers but if I ever do I will be prepared!

The kind of underwear you wear makes a difference. Breathable, natural fibres like cotton are the best, as they allow air to circulate. Synthetic fibres like satin and mesh are less desirable in terms of bladder infection prevention. Unfortunately this counts out a lot of the "sexy" knickers and I end looking more Bridget Jones than Heidi Klum. Most of my knickers are 97% Cotton, 3% Elastane which means they are stretchy enough to stay on but still have the breathability. I am still looking for organic cotton knickers that are pretty so if you know of any please let me know. Wearing these knickers may not be sexy but bladder infection prevention is much more important to me - I find peeing blood is also particularly unsexy. If you want to wear knickers to impress, wear them when someone can see them and then take them off.

Swimsuits

Wearing soggy togs all day is the perfect environment to breed bacteria which can then spead to your urethrea causing a bladder infection. I'm not advocating going nude to the beach (I'm a conservative kiwi so I wear more clothes to the beach than I normally do!) unless of course you want to. But the thing is don't wear your swimsuit all day and then on into the night. Taking a change of cotton knickers to change into is a much better solution for bladder infection prevention.

Stockings

I am a fanatical dress wearer, mainly because it means I don't have to try and find a matching outfit - its all in one. (Yes I am that lazy) Which means in winter I wear a lot of stockings. Same as knickers, stocking made from synthetic fibres don't tend to have a lot of breathability, making for a pretty funky envrinoment for your crotch. However I am also not a fan of walking around with woolen knickers falling down around my ankles all day!

I tend to try and get around this by not wearing nylon stockings more than 2 or 3 days in the week. Other days I go for cotton tights or swap to my jeans.

Tight Clothing

Wearing slightly looser clothing around the crotch is a good method of bladder infection prevention, if you have been used to wearing massively tight clothes. Uber skinny jeans, wet look leggings spray painted on and denim cut offs so tight your bum spills out the bottom might look hot (or not) but if they are causing you to have a bladder infections, it may be worth finding a sligthly bigger fit. Or only wearing things that tight a few days a week instead of everyday. If you feel a bladder infection coming on, swapping to a looser garment is a good idea anyway as it is pretty uncomfortable to have anything pressing against you when you feel like that.

Sex

Sex is a bit of a messy business. Click here for some good sex hygiene tips that can help to prevent bladder infections.

Contraception

There are also connections between some forms of contraception. Using birth control pill, allergies to condoms and lube and even IUDs can lead to bladder infections. I will be doing more research on contraception in relation to bladder infection prevention and add an updated page soon.

Diet

There is a huge link between diet and bladder infections and finding this out was a big key in my personal step to curing bladder infections. Click here for information on diet related to bladder infection prevention.

Simple first steps you can take for bladder infection prevention are to avoid these:

  • Sugary sweet things, including fruit and dried fruit
  • Alcohol
  • Coffee

Make sure to add into your diet a lot of fresh whole vegetables.

Water

Staying hydrated with water is crucial for bladder infection prevention
Water is your best friend

I know! I harp on and on about this. Drink lots of water! It is the ultimate bladder infection prevention method.

Read why water is the best natural remedy for bladder infections and how to drink more water

Cranberry

Cranberry has been used as a natural remedy for bladder infections for a long time. A lot of people swear by it as a bladder infection prevention too. Click here for more information on using cranberry for bladder infections.

Well being

Stress

I have found a number of times that my bladder infections have co-incided with stressful times in my life. Perhaps it is my bodies way of forcing me to slow down or perhaps it is just too much of an overload on my immune system, going through stressful times is a definite trigger in me to watch out for bladder infections.

Here are some practical tips on bladder infection prevention in times of stress

  • Take some vitamin C -this will help boost your immune system to ward off infection while you sort the other stress out.
  • Eat healthy - If you are anything like me, you may reach for your favourite comfort foods when you are stressed. Which is awesome if your comfort food is brocolli. However if your comfort foods are high in sugar, all carbohydrates or highly processed you may be just setting yourself up for more stress. Stink!
  • Yoga - Yoga really is good for taking away stress, even if you do end up sitting through all the meditation running through all the things you should be doing. Even just a few rounds of sun salutations, can give your body that extra little bit of relaxation to fight off infection. Obviously the more you do of it and the more you aim for the inner quiet the more results you will see.
  • Exercise - A little moderate exercise is great for releiving stress. Gettting stuck into a punching bag, going for a run or my favourite is to jump on the rowing machine is great to get rid of that excess tension.
  • Have fun - Sometimes the most overlooked stress relief is do something you actually enjoy doing, instead of what you SHOULD be doing. Have fun doing what ever that may be for you, go dancing, read a book, watch a comedy, whatever you do that will bring a smile to your face.

Anger

The connection between anger and physical disease is something that has been discussed for a long time. In Louise Hay's book, "You can Heal Your Body" she talks about the relationship between certain ailments and their mental equivalent.

According to her, anger (being pissed off!) is connected with problems in the urinary problem. Especially anger with your partner or spouse. I'm still not sure what I think about this. I get angry at my partner sometimes, (unfortunately we are both human) but have not necessarily noticed a connection between this and my bladder infections.

Anyway if this is a cause of bladder infection, it probably a pretty good thing to get sorted. Dealing with anger is a big subject matter which I couldn't even scratch the surface matter on dealing with here. Here are a couple of books I have read and enjoyed which may or may not be beneficial to you for dealing with that sort of thing. Lots of luck to you in dealing with this as I know how hard this stuff can be!

Health and relationship books:

  • "You can Heal Your Life" by Louise Hay
  • "The Five Love Languages" by Gary Chapman
  • "The Road Less Travelled" by M. Scott Peck

General health and Immunity

Often times what can trigger a bladder infection is something that we have done a hundred times before with no consequence. Other times if our general health is low or our immunity a little low, our body is unable to fight off this bacteria as it usually would and we end up with an infection.

Keeping your general health good and immune system high is vital to long term health and vitality, not just bladder infection prevention.

How you choose to do that is up to. There are as many ways to keep yourself well as there are to make yourself sick, but they do require a little bit of research and trial and error to see what works for you.

If you are battling something like an eating disorder, serious illness or massive life change it is obviously important to get that sorted out and dealt with first so you can get onto looking after your health overall.

Click here to return to bladder infection recovery homepage.