How to Prevent Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)?

PRO Diagnostics How To Prevent Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)

What is Urinary Tract Infection?

A urinary tract infection (UTI) is an infection in any part of your urinary tract which comprises your kidneys, ureters, bladder and urethra. Most infections involve the lower urinary tract i.e. the bladder and the urethra.

Women are at greater risk of developing a UTI than are men because of the anatomical difference of small length of urethra and position of opening of the urethra.

What are the causes and risk factors for UTI?

Most common cause of Urinary tract infection is bacteria and particularly Escherichia coli (E. coli). E.coli is part of Gastrointestinal tract, due to proximity of anus, it travels towards urethral opening and proliferate inside urinary system. It can lead to Cystitis (Urinary Bladder Inflammation) or Urethritis (Urethral inflammation). Also, because the female urethra is close to the vagina, sexually transmitted infections, such as herpes, gonorrhea, chlamydia and mycoplasma, can cause urethritis.

Risk factors:

  • Female anatomy.A woman has a shorter urethra than a man does, which shortens the distance that bacteria to travel to reach the bladder.
  • Sexual activity.Sexually active women tend to have more UTIs than do women who aren’t sexually active. Having a new sexual partner also increases your risk.
  • Certain types of birth control.Women who use diaphragms for birth control may be at higher risk, as well as women who use spermicidal agents.
  • After menopause, a decline in circulating estrogen causes changes in the urinary tract that make you more vulnerable to infection.
  • Urinary tract abnormalities.Babies born with urinary tract abnormalities that don’t allow urine to leave the body normally or cause urine to back up in the urethra have an increased risk of UTIs.
  • Blockages in the urinary tract.Kidney stones or an enlarged prostate can trap urine in the bladder and increase the risk of UTIs.
  • A suppressed immune system.Diabetes and other diseases that impair the immune system — the body’s defense against germs — can increase the risk of UTIs.
  • Catheter use.Patients who can’t urinate on their own and use a tube (catheter) to urinate have an increased risk of UTIs. This may include people who are hospitalized, people with neurological problems that make it difficult to control their ability to urinate and people who are paralyzed.
  • A recent urinary procedure.Urinary surgery or an exam of your urinary tract that involves medical instruments can both increase your risk of developing a urinary tract infection.

Why Urine Infections are dangerous?

It may cause recurrent infections, especially in women who experience two or more UTIs in a six-month period or four or more within a year. This can also lead to permanent kidney damage from an acute or chronic kidney infection (pyelonephritis) due to an untreated UTI.

In pregnant women it can lead to low birth weight or premature infants. Urethral narrowing (stricture) is very common after recurrent urinary tract infections.

Further it can cause Sepsis, a potentially life-threatening complication of an infection, especially if the infection works its way up your urinary tract to your kidneys.

What are the symptoms of UTI?

Symptoms include Pain or burning while urinating, frequent urination : feeling the need to urinate despite having an empty bladder, bloody urine, Pressure or cramping in the groin or lower abdomen.

Kidney infection can cause: Fever, Chills, Lower back pain or pain in the side of your back, Nausea or vomiting.

PRO Diagnostics How To Prevent Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)

How to diagnose Urine Infections?

If you are suffering from above symptoms, consult your doctor immediately. First step to determine any abnormality of infection in urinary tract is to do Urine Routine Examination. It can be performed with 10ml of Urine. This test provides multiple parameters like appearance, specific gravity, colour, pH, presence of proteins, sugar, ketone bodies etc. Test also provides evidence of any pus cells, red blood cells in the urine. These parameters help the doctor to confirm the diagnosis of Urinary Tract Infection.

Determining the presence of infection is simply not enough to treat the infection. It requires Urine Culture & Sensitivity Test which identifies the causative organism of infection and antibiotic sensitivity towards particular organism. This test helps the doctor to prescribe correct antibiotic and dosage. It takes 48 to 72 hours to get results of Culture & Sensitivity Test.

Important: For Urine Culture & Sensitivity Test, it is very important to collect Urine Sample (10ml) in sterile container. And sample should be of mid-stream urine preferably early morning sample. Cleaning the surrounding area around urethra before collecting the sample helps to prevent contamination of sample.

What is the treatment of UTI?

Mainly UTI is treated with symptomatic medications and antibiotics after culture test.

What is the cost of Urine tests in Pune?

At PRO diagnostics, we provide Urine Routine Examination at ₹150 and Urine Culture & Sensitivity Test at ₹800 only.  At PRO diagnostics, you can book Home Visit to provide sample at your convenience.

How to prevent UTI?

  1. Wipe front to back

Since the rectum is a main source of E.coli, it’s best to wipe your genitals from front to back after passing the urine or stools.

  1. Drink plenty of fluids

Stay hydrated throughout the day. This will make you pee more frequently, which flushes bacteria out of your urinary tract.

Try to limit or avoid alcohol and caffeinated drinks, which may irritate the bladder.

  1. Avoid holding your pee

Avoid holding the urine, as this can encourage bacterial growth. Try not to wait more than 3 to 4 hours to pee, and completely empty your bladder each time.

  1. Urinate before and after sex

Sexual activity increases the chances of getting a UTI, especially if you’re a woman. That’s because bacteria can easily get into the urethra during sex. To reduce your risk, pee immediately before and after sex.

  1. Avoid scented products

The vagina naturally contains more than 50 different microbes, many of which are a type of bacteria called Lactobacilli. These bacteria help keep the vagina healthy and the pH level balanced. Scented feminine products can disrupt this balance, allowing harmful bacteria to overgrow. This can result in UTIs, vaginosis, and yeast infection.

Avoid using products such as:

  • douches
  • scented pads or tampons
  • scented powders
  • deodorant sprays

Scented bath oils, soaps, and bubble baths can also irritate the genital area and cause an imbalance in vaginal bacteria.

  1. Explore birth control options

Some types of birth control might promote an overgrowth of harmful bacteria. This includes:

  • diaphragms
  • non-lubricated condoms
  • spermicides
  • spermicidal condoms
  1. Take probiotics

Probiotics are live microorganisms that can increase good gut bacteria. They may also help promote the growth of good bacteria in the urinary tract. This could help protect you from getting a UTI.

  1. Consume cranberries

Cranberries are a traditional home remedy for preventing UTIs. The berry has compounds called proanthocyanidins that may prevent E.coli from adhering to tissues in the urinary tract. It’s also thought that vitamin C in cranberries may increase the acidity of urine, which might reduce overgrowth of bad bacteria. Even though it is not scientifically proven completely but having cranberry juice won’t harm either.

Teaching girls from young age about urinary hygiene and cleaning habits are very important to avoid recurrent infections.

About Author -

Dr. Chaitrangi Paranjape MD Pathology

Dr. Chaitrangi Paranjape, MD Pathology, she is the owner and chief pathologist at PRO diagnostics , Pune. She has more than 10 years of experience and she has worked with many renowned diagnostic centers and medical institutes including Metropolis, Nucleus, Pioneer, Sunrise diagnostics, Bharti Vidyapeeth Medical college, Pravara Institute of Medical Sciences. Currently she is also working at Institute of Infectious Diseases.

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