Urinary health and hygiene

When you’re not feeling quite right ‘down there’, your quality of life can be significantly impacted. Whether you’re suffering from minor discomfort or possibly an infection, you’ll be keen to deal with your symptoms promptly and ensure they don’t return.

Maintaining good personal hygiene can be a key step when it comes to reducing your risk of infection or uncomfortable symptoms. It also may help to enhance your overall health and wellbeing – and it’s pretty simple and straightforward to do.

Maintaining your personal hygiene

Some of the best ways to ensure healthy, hygienic habits down below include:

  • Bathe regularly and wear clean clothes – it sounds extremely obvious, but washing every day and wearing fresh, clean clothes are two of the most important ways to stay hygienic
  • Change your sanitary pads and tampons every few hours – and you could also opt for pads instead of tampons, as some healthcare professionals believe that tampons may increase the risk of infections more
  • Stay dry – wearing wet swimming costumes or underpants for a prolonged period can lead to an environment  that allows for excess bacterial growth which might cause infection
  • Wear breathable fabric - tight clothes can reduce the air circulation and lead to excess sweating and moisture, so choose breathable fabrics such as cotton
  • Eat a healthy diet – a delicious, nutritious diet made up of fresh, whole foods will help maintain your overall wellbeing
  • Drink plenty of water – water keeps you hydrated and may help to flush out bad bacteria
  • Stay clean – be sure to wash your genital area before and after sexual activity
  • Don’t hold it in – when you feel the urge to urinate, don’t wait too long as excess waiting can put some pressure on your bladder
  • Wipe from front to back after you go to the toilet – this prevents bacteria from transferring to your urinary tract from other places
  • Avoid foods that may irritate your bladder – caffeine and alcohol are thought to be two key culprits that can make sensitive bladders worse.

A note on perfumes

While many of us associate perfumes and scented sprays with cleanliness and freshness, they’re not that useful down below.

In fact, women are often warned against douching (‘douche’ is the French term for wash), using feminine hygiene sprays and applying powders because these activities may interfere with the vagina's pH levels, reducing its acidity and providing an ideal home for infections. 

When to seek help

If you are experiencing recurring symptoms despite making your best efforts to stay clean and hygienic, it’s important to consult your healthcare professional.

There could be an underlying urinary tract or other issue that needs looking into, and the longer you leave it the worse it may become.  Also, if pain or irritation persists for more than 48 hours you should consult your doctor. If there is blood in your urine  you should see your doctor immediately.  

Most of the time these types of urinary tract health issues can be easily dealt with – and by proactively looking after your urinary health, you can help to see that they don’t reoccur often.

References

Available upon request.