Bladder infections can be an inconvenient and painful experience, but you have the power to prevent infection just by making a few simple changes to your diet and daily routine. Even if you have suffered with bladder infections in the past, you can help prevent their recurrence by first increasing your intake of fluids. Because bladder infections are caused by a buildup of bacteria, drinking lots of liquids is beneficial, since fluid dilutes the urine and helps flush harmful bacteria out.
In addition to drinking at least eight glasses of water a day, cranberry juice can be especially helpful in warding off bladder infections. "Cranberry juice works because it prevents the bacteria that cause the infection from sticking to the lining of the urinary tract," writes Ray D. Strand in Death by Prescription. Strand goes on to suggest individuals who are prone to infection should drink eight ounces of cranberry juice a day. You can also opt for unsweetened cranberry concentrate available in health food stores.
Drinking lots of fluids results in more frequent urination, which also helps the body fight infection. Frequent restroom trips are a good thing, according to the following passage in Symptoms: Their Causes and Cures, by The Editors of Prevention Magazine Health Books. "If you habitually resist the urge to urinate, you'll enlarge the capacity of your bladder and may also cause a bladder infection," says Joseph M. Montella, M.D., an assistant professor and director of the Division of Urogynecology in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia. "At the worst extreme, your bladder eventually could become so big and so out of shape that it loses its ability to contract." Later, in the same book, Dr. Jack Lapides, an urologist from Ann Arbor, Mich., says a person should urinate regularly every three to four hours.
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