Summer is here, which means it’s time to enjoy all the fun activities warmer weather can bring you! Unfortunately, contracting and fighting a urinary tract infection can keep you away from all the fun. A urinary tract infection (UTI) is an infection that affects your urinary system (your kidneys, ureters, bladder and urethra). Normally bacteria that enters the urinary tract is attacked by the body’s natural defenses and quickly removed, but sometimes bacteria can overcome these defenses and develop into an infection.
We have compiled a list of eight different ways to help you prevent urinary tract infections this summer:
1. Empty your bladder after sex.
Emptying your bladder after sex helps to flush out any bacteria that may have entered the urinary tract during intercourse.
2. Drink plenty of water!
Water helps flush bacteria that could be present in your urinary tract and preventing it from developing into an infection.
3. Do NOT reuse your catheters.
The FDA recommends that patients do not reuse their catheters as this increases the risk for UTIs. The FDA considers all urinary catheters as single-use only and recommends that catheter patients use a new catheter every time they catheterize. Medicare and most private insurances now cover up to 200 catheters per month.
4. Keep your genitalia clean.
Men should keep the tip of their penis clean- especially if they are not circumcised. The foreskin can trap bacteria which may get into the urinary tract and develop into an infection. Women should always wipe from front to back after using the restroom. Doing this helps prevent the spread of bacteria from the anus into the urinary tract.
5. Change feminine products often.
It is recommended for women to change their feminine products frequently (every 3-4 hours). This will help prevent bacteria from entering the urinary tract and develop into an infection.
6. Don’t put off emptying your bladder.
Empty your bladder as often as necessary! During the intermittent self-catheterization process, be sure that your bladder is completely empty before removing the catheter.
7. Create a sterile environment with a closed system.
Closed systems have an insertion tip safety feature that allows for the entire catheterization process to be sterile. The insertion tip allows the catheter to bypass the bacteria located at the surface of the urethra rather than pushing it in further during the insertion of the catheter. Closed systems are enclosed in a bag, so you never have to touch the actual catheter- which lowers your risk for an infection. If you have recurring UTIs, you may qualify for closed system catheters or sterile kits. These will allow you to catheterize in a sterile environment and reduce your risk of further infection. Speak with your doctor to find out if using closed system catheters could be beneficial for you.
8. Do it the right way!
Take a moment to learn the correct way to self-catheterize. Following the correct procedure will help you prevent UTIs and avoid any irritation that can occur when cathing incorrectly. At Strive Medical, we have a team of Patient Care Coordinators and Medical Supply Specialists that can help you through the process. We can also provide you with a guide that demonstrates the correct process for self-catheterization.
Common signs for UTIs may include:
• A burning feeling when you urinate
• An intense or frequent urge to urinate
• Feeling pain or pressure in your lower back and abdomen
• Cloudy, dark, bloody or strange smelling urine
• Feeling tired or shaky
• Fever or chills are signs that the infection may have reached your kidneys
*If you suspect you have a urinary tract infection seek medical attention*
Contact your primary care physician if you present any of the following symptoms: pain or discomfort when cathing, blood in urine, nausea or vomiting, fever, an absence of urine for more than 6 hours, feeling an urgency or a frequency of urination, or inability to insert catheter through to your bladder.
If you have any questions or would like more information about our products, please feel free to contact one of our Patient Care Coordinators. Strive Medical specializes in intermittent catheter products and we strive to provide you with high quality services for your urological needs. To contact us (click here) or call today at 888-771-9229. Our hours of operation are Monday through Friday from 7:00 am to 7:00 pm CST.