If you’ve ever had a urinary tract infection, you know how painful and frustrating they can be, especially if they keep coming back. While antibiotics generally clear up a UTI within a few days, there are also some simple measures you can take to help prevent getting one in the first place.

To say goodbye to burning, frequent urination, and other unpleasant symptoms, start with these changes today. The key is to keep bacteria out of your system.

Drink plenty of water, and relieve yourself often. The simplest way to prevent a UTI is to flush bacteria out of the bladder and urinary tract before it can set in. If you’re well-hydrated, it will be tough to go too long without urinating.

Wipe from front to back. Bacteria tend to hang around the anus. If you wipe from front to back, especially after a bowel movement, they're less likely to make it to the urethra.

Wash up before sex and urinate after it. Use soap and water before sex. This keeps bacteria away from the urethra. And urinating afterwards pushes any bacteria that entered the urinary tract back out.

Steer clear of irritating feminine products. Skip douches, deodorant sprays, scented powders, and other potentially irritating feminine products.

Rethink your birth control. A diaphragm, spermicide, or spermicide-lubricated condom can make you more likely to get a UTI because they all can contribute to bacterial growth. If you get UTIs often and use one of these birth control methods, switch to a water-based lubricant for vaginal dryness, and consider trying another birth control method to see if it helps.

Some doctors also advise women who get a lot of UTIs to wear cotton underwear, take showers instead of baths, and avoid tight clothes that can trap bacteria near the urethra. While these are simple enough to do, none of them are supported by scientific data.

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