Could You Have a UTI and Not Know It?

Lifestyle tweaks can help prevent UTIs from developing. As a rule, you should be urinating every 4 to 6 hours during the day to empty your bladder. “Urine in the bladder is a good medium for bacteria to grow in, like stagnant water,” Ayoub says. And drinking plenty of fluids—aim for 50 to 70 ounces per day, Yu says—can keep urine from being too concentrated. That can prevent bacteria from adhering to your bladder wall.

Hygiene also plays a role in prevention, according to Ronan Factora, MD. After a bowel movement, always wipe from front to back to avoid spreading bacteria. Put on new underwear every day, and if you use disposable undergarments, change those whenever they’re soiled.

If you have recurrent UTIs, your doctor may recommend other treatments to prevent them, such as topical estrogen cream to thicken your vaginal wall or medications for urinary retention.