A urinary tract infection (UTI) is a bacterial infection in the urinary tract. The urinary tract includes the kidneys, ureters, bladder, and urethra. Any or all of these parts of the urinary tract can become infected. If left untreated, UTIs can cause permanent damage to the bladder and kidneys.

You can help prevent UTIs if you:

  • Drink plenty of water and other non-caffeinated drinks (Caffeine can cause the body to lose fluids.
  • Do not delay urinating when you feel the need to urinate.
  • Use good hygiene when you use the toilet. For example, wipe from front to back to keep rectal bacteria from getting into the vagina and urethra.
  • Avoid using irritating cosmetics or chemicals in the area of the vagina and urethra (such as strong soaps, feminine hygiene sprays or douches, or scented napkins or panty liners).
  • Urinate soon after sexual intercourse.
  • Keep your genital area clean.
    Empty your bladder completely when you urinate.
  • Wear cotton crotch underwear and pantyhose.
  • Change underwear and pantyhose every day.