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Bacteria live on nearly every imaginable surface on Earth. Most bacteria are harmless when they do not outcompete the natural microbiome of the body. However, when bacteria move into areas they are not supposed be in, they can become a problem. Urinary tract infections (UTI) are characterized by the presence of an excessive amount of bacteria in the urinary tract. This high number of bacteria causes painful irritation in the urinary tract, and if left untreated, sepsis–a life threatening systemic infection–may occur. However, urinary tract infections are preventable, so you should try your best to remain UTI free!

Water is the natural cleanser of the human body. According to the National Institutes for Health (NIH), urinary tract infections can be prevented and eradicated by drinking lots of water. Staying hydrated will increase your urinary output, thus clearing out bacteria from your urinary tract more frequently. That being said, you should not wait until you get a UTI to drink lots of water. Drinking water on a regular basis can prevent you from becoming sick, not only from UTIs, but also from other renal and digestive issues.

 Blood Agar Plate after coliform streaking.

Certain kinds of foods and beverages can increase the irritation in your urinary tract when you have an infection. For this reason, it is important to avoid them when you have a UTI. The Mayo Clinic suggests removing alcohol, caffeine, citrus, and foods high in sugar from your diet if you feel the beginnings of UTI symptoms. By avoiding these foods and drinks, you may be able to treat your UTI before needing antibiotics!

If you go see a doctor for a urinary tract infection, it is likely that he or she will prescribe an antibiotic. The NIH explains that due to the increased abuse and misuse of antibiotics to treat infections, there is an increase in the number of antibiotic resistant bacterial strains that cause urinary tract infections. Highly resistant bacteria are harder to get rid of and can lead to greater complications such as resistant kidney infections. This is why prevention is key when it comes to UTIs. But if you do need antibiotics for any infection, be sure to follow the full course of treatment; do not stop halfway through once your symptoms have subsided. By finishing your course of treatment, you can ensure that the bacteria that caused your urinary tract infection are killed so that your UTI does not return in a more persistent form. If you follow these recommendations, you may prevent the onset of an aggressive UTI in the future.

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