Recent Blog Articles
Pouring from an empty cup? Three ways to refill emotionally
Give praise to the elbow: A bending, twisting marvel
Sneezy and dopey? Seasonal allergies and your brain
The FDA relaxes restrictions on blood donation
Apps to accelerometers: Can technology improve mental health in older adults?
Swimming and skin: What to know if a child has eczema
A muscle-building obsession in boys: What to know and do
Natural disasters strike everywhere: Ways to help protect your health
Dementia: Coping with common, sometimes distressing behaviors
Screening tests may save lives — so when is it time to stop?
Does the way I urinate make me more prone to UTIs?
Ask the doctor
Q. Your recent article on recurrent urinary tract infections (UTIs) didn't mention much about urination. One of my friends told me that it could influence my chance of getting a UTI. Is that true?
A. Actually, your urination habits are a good place to start if you're trying to prevent UTIs. When sitting on the toilet, make yourself as comfortable as possible in a relaxed seated position—not a squat. Start the stream of urine by relaxing your pelvic floor muscles, rather than straining to urinate. Allow enough time for your bladder to empty completely.
Also, empty your bladder after intercourse. Although it may be difficult to pry yourself out of the bed, you should make it a habit to urinate after sex every time. This can help wash away any bacteria that might have been introduced into the urinary tract during sex.
Although there aren't a lot of data to support the time-honored advice to wipe from front to back, the practice makes a lot of sense, especially after a bowel movement. Doing so is thought to help to keep Escherichia coli—the bacteria responsible for many UTIs—out of your urinary tract.
- Hope Ricciotti, MD and Hye-Chun Hur, MD, MPH
Editors in chief, Harvard Women's Health Watch
As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles.
No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.
Free Healthbeat Signup
Get the latest in health news delivered to your inbox!