Health A-Z

Medical Content Created by the Faculty of the Harvard Medical School



To help prevent urinary tract infections:

  • Drink several glasses of water each day. Fluids discourage the growth of bacteria by flushing out your urinary tract. Drinking cranberry juice may deter bacterial growth by decreasing the ability of bacteria to stick to the urethra.

  • Wipe from front to back. To prevent the spread of intestinal bacteria from the rectum to the urinary tract, women always should wipe toilet tissue from front to the back after having a bowel movement.

  • Decrease the spread of bacteria during sex. Urinate after sexual intercourse to flush bacteria from your urethra. If you keep getting infections, you should talk to your doctor about using antibiotics after sex to lower the risk of developing urinary tract infections.

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From Health A-Z, Harvard Health Publications. Copyright 2007 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College. All rights reserved. Written permission is required to reproduce, in any manner, in whole or in part, the material contained herein. To make a reprint request, contact Harvard Health Publications. Used with permission of StayWell.

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