Kidney infection

The best way to prevent a kidney infection is to keep your bladder and urethra free from bacteria.

The best way to prevent a kidney infection is to keep your bladder and urethra free from bacteria.

These self-help tips explain how you can do this.

Drink plenty of liquids

Drinking plenty of liquids, particularly water, will help to wash bacteria from your bladder and urinary tract.

Drinking cranberry juice or taking cranberry extracts may also help prevent urinary tract infections (UTIs). However, you should avoid cranberry juice or extracts if you're taking warfarin, a medicine used to prevent blood clots. Cranberry juice can make the effects of warfarin more potent, so there's a risk of excessive bleeding.

Toilet tips

To help keep your urinary tract free from bacteria:

  • go to the toilet as soon as you feel the need to urinate, rather than holding it in
  • wipe from front to back after going to the toilet
  • practice good hygiene by washing your genitals every day and before having sex
  • empty your bladder after having sex
  • if you're a woman, avoid "hovering" over a toilet seat as this position can often leave urine behind in the bladder

Treat constipation

Constipation can increase your chances of developing a urinary tract infection (UTI), so try to treat any constipation promptly.

Recommended treatments for constipation include:

  • increasing the amount of fibre in your diet to 20-30g of fibre a day
  • using a mild laxative on a short-term basis
  • drinking plenty of fluids

See your GP if your symptoms don't improve after 14 days (or seven days for children with constipation).

Read more about treating constipation.

Be careful with contraceptives

If you keep getting UTIs (more than three a year is considered high), avoid using spermicide-coated condoms or diaphragms. This is because spermicide can stimulate the production of bacteria. 

Stick to lubricated condoms without spermicide, because unlubricated ones can irritate the urethra and make it more vulnerable to infection.

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