As much as 25 percent of all hospitalized patients tend to receive a urinary catheter and this significantly raises the risk of a urinary tract infection (UTI).
Sufferers very commonly acquire UTIs from health-care facilities, especially since germs can enter the slim tube urinary catheter, (which drains fluid from the bladder), if the device is inserted incorrectly, not kept clean, or left in too long.
If you happen to be hospitalized, you may want to consider asking every day whether you still need a catheter. If the medical staff says yes, ask why. Making care more convenient isn’t a good enough reason, especially if there are other options, such as using a bedside commode. Walk around as soon as possible after surgery to quicken recovery and shorten your catheter time.
Speak up if you find any of the medical staff adjusting the catheter without first washing their hands or if you see that the tubing is kinked or the bag is positioned above the patient’s abdomen. Keeping the bag low helps prevent urine from backing up.
This advice is also important if a loved one has been transferred to a nursing home, where patients with a catheter are at double the risk of developing a UTI. Here are a number of ways you can cut down your risk of having a UTI.
1. Drink lots of water. When you urinate, bacteria are flushed from the urinary tract, so drink enough water for you to go regularly, especially if you have incontinence. Those prone to leakage often restrict fluids to prevent accidents, but this is a recipe for infection.
2. Drink cranberry juice. In a 2012 meta-analysis, cranberry juice and supplements helped to reduce repeat UTIs.
3. Wipe from front to back. The most common UTI-causing germs are E. coli bacteria from the gastrointestinal tract, so wipe from front to back to avoid moving the bugs closer to your urinary tract.
4. Excuse yourself after intercourse. Peeing after sex gives bacteria less chance to enter the urinary tract.
5. Boost good bacteria. A number of small studies have found that women who have repeated UTIs are less likely to get another if they use vaginal suppositories with the probiotic lactobacillus, which balances good and bad bacteria.