The following are measures that studies suggest may reduce the incidence of urinary tract infections. These may be appropriate for people, especially women, with recurrent infections:
- Do not delay urination when it is necessary.
- Cleaning the urethral meatus (the opening of the urethra) after intercourse has been shown to be of some benefit; however, whether this is done with an antiseptic or a placebo ointment (an ointment containing no active ingredient) does not appear to matter.
- It has been advocated that cranberry juice can decrease the incidence of UTI (some of these opinions are referenced in External Links section). A specific type of tannin, called A Type Proanthocyanidin, found only in cranberries and blueberries prevents the adherence of certain pathogens (eg. ''E. coli'') to the epithelium of the urinary bladder. A review by the Cochrane Collaboration of randomized controlled trials states "some evidence from trials to show cranberries (juice and capsules) can prevent recurrent infections in women. Many people in the trials stopped drinking the juice, suggesting it may not be a popular intervention". Over the counter products are in development that deliver a strong dose of A Type Proanthocyanidin. Even in the minimal prophylactic effects observed in females, the total cost of the cranberry tablets and juice exceeded $2000 per annum. It should be noted that there would be considerable difficulty in establishing compliance in a standard randomized double-blind study if the participants were required to bear this cost personally.
- Often long courses of low-dose antibiotics are taken at night to help prevent otherwise unexplained cases of recurring cystitis.
- Acupuncture has been shown to be effective in preventing new infections in recurrent cases. One study showed that urinary tract infection occurrence was reduced by 50% for six months. However, this study has been criticized for several reasons. All of the studies are done by one research team without independent reproduction of results.
- Studies have shown that breastfeeding can reduce the risk of UTIs in infants.
- Keeping the Foley Catheter from clogging with biofilm will prevent stasis of urine in the bladder, which serves as a culture medium for bacterial growth.
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Last Updated: Feb 1, 2011