Because urinary tract infections (UTIs) can have serious, long-term effects for seniors, it’s best to prevent them before they even have the chance to begin.

Luckily, we’ve compiled a list with a number of lifestyle changes you or a loved one can make throughout your daily life. These small adjustments will significantly reduce a senior’s risk of developing a UTI.

Here’s a complete guide of ways seniors can prevent UTIs as they go about their day:

When Drinking

A urinary tract infection (UTI) is a bacterial or fungal infection of the urinary system. This system includes the kidneys, uterus, bladder and urethra. It’s important to keep the urinary system in tip-top shape to prevent UTIs, and you can do so by being mindful of what you’re drinking.

To prevent UTIs, keep these tips in mind when you’re choosing when and what to drink:

  • Drink plenty of fluids. Fluids, especially water can help flush bacteria out of the urinary tract. You should drink at least 64 ounces a day.
  • Drink cranberry juice or use cranberry tablets as a natural UTI preventative. Just avoid cranberry supplements if you have history of kidney stones.
  • Caffeine and alcohol can irritate the bladder and increase chances of developing a UTI. It’s best to avoid or limit these beverages when possible.

When Dressing

UTIs are a bacterial infection, and they can be prevented by increasing a person’s personal hygiene.

When you or a loved one is getting ready for the day, consider these tips to prevent UTIs:

  • When possible, wear breathable cotton underwear and change them at least once a day.
  • Tight-fitting clothing can put pressure on the bladder and may increase the risk of UTIs. Seniors should wear loose-fitting clothing to help reduce this risk.
  • Change soiled incontinence briefs promptly and frequently to reduce the risk of infection.

When Using The Bathroom

One of the most common causes of a UTI is holding in your bladder, so it makes sense that changes to a person’s bathroom habits can help them to prevent a UTI from ever occuring.

Here are a few tips that can help when using the bathroom:

  • Set timers to remind yourself or a loved one to use the bathroom. For seniors who have memory impairments, these reminders are especially helpful and can reduce the need for adult briefs.
  • Women are more prone to UTIs, so after using the bathroom, they should be sure to wipe from front to back. This will reduce the risk of bacteria contacting the urethra and causing a UTI.
  • Keep the genital area clean and dry to reduce bacteria.
  • Limit the use of feminine hygiene products that could irritate the body to prevent a UTI.

When Managing Your Health

The healthier you are, the better your body can fight infections that do occur. And that is true for seniors who are more prone to frequent UTIs.

Use these tips to help manage you or your loved one’s health and treat UTIs:

  • Seniors with underlying medical conditions, such as diabetes or a bladder or kidney disorder, should work with their health care provider to properly manage these conditions. That will help reduce their risk of UTIs.
  • In some cases, seniors who are at high risk for UTIs may be prescribed preventive antibiotics to reduce their risk of developing an infection. If you think you or a loved one could benefit from these medications, talk to your doctor today.