It’s almost February, which for many of us Canadian gals means making a packing list for our next vacation and starting to countdown the days until take-off. For many unfortunate souls, part of preparation means doing what we can to make sure we DO NOT GET A UTI on the trip. All it takes is one traumatizing spring break trip in 3rd year and you’re loading up your long weekend bag with enough vitamin C to turn your hair orange.
Urinary Tract Infections are caused by bacteria overwhelming our body’s defenses and multiplying. Breaks in our routine – and a few extra shots of tequila – can increase the already sizable risk. Add in a nature hike that turns into an overnight vision quest, or a never-ending, never-showering flight, and it’s easy to see why our basic defenses struggle when we're on vacay.
So here are 6 things to add to that go-bag to help make sure your next trip down under doesn’t involve an infection down there.
Maybe it’s a girls weekend and nobody needs to know, but keeping your panties fresh can be the difference between UTI and UT-deny (1).
The type of underwear can also have an impact. Silk and polyester can trap moisture and bacteria in that all-important region. And remember, UTIs are caused by bacteria so keeping bacteria away from your urethra is super important. Bonus points if it’s loose and breathable to help keep everything fresh and dry.
Of course, rock that new thong by the pool, but maybe don’t wear it for 32 hours straight!
No, not that liquid courage. They’ll have plenty of that at the pool bar. This is about going-when-you-gotta-go. First, urine is a good environment for bacteria to multiply. And second, peeing flushes the bacteria out. So no matter how much fun you’re having, just pee when you need to, and don’t rush. Get it all out! (2)
You’ve probably heard all about wiping from front to back. That’s because we don’t want fecal matter, and the E. Coli bacteria that's in it, to get near our urethra. So pack your favourite sanitary wipe and travel pouch in your bag to help keep things fresh. A little clense now and then can go a long way, and keep you feeling fresh and fine!
Quick tip: for your stock up, consider the baby aisle. Moms and the products that cater to them have this figured out. You can get a bunch of wipes with all variations of scent free, irritation free, and designed for the most sensitive areas of the most sensitive humans.
Spermicides and diaphragms can irritate some girls, creating a more hospitable environment for bacterial infections. Of course, birth control pills have also been attributed to an increased risk of UTIs given the impact on hormone levels, so there isn’t a right approach for everyone here (3, 4, 5).
Basically, condoms without spermicides seem to the safest way to go from a UTI perspective as there is a lower risk of irritation, but it’ll be different for everyone. So bring what you know works for you, and be extra careful about what other people bring into the bed with them!
You need to stay hydrated! This is just good life advice, but for UTIs, it’s extra important. You need to pee to empty the bladder and flush bacteria out, and you need water to pee. And hey, it doesn’t hurt with the hangover either. ; )
Mingo UTI drink mix should really be #6, #7, and #8. Most importantly, Mingo is formulated around a therapeutic dose of d-mannose (2,000 mg) which actively prevents bacteria from sticking to the urinary tract and causing infections. It’s like those cranberry pills you used to take, but it actually works.
One stick of Mingo also contains Vitamin C to boost your immune system and Vitamin B6 to promote peeing, completing the triple threat. It also tastes delish, so feel free to mix a little vodka in there – we won’t tell anyone – but not too much, alcohol (and caffeine) can dehydrate you which works against everything we’ve talked about!
Questions? Comments? Collaboration ideas? Let's chat!
(1) "8 Most Common Causes Of UTIs.” Prevention, Prevention, 2017.
(2) Rettner, Rachael. “Urinary Tract Infection: Causes, Symptoms & Treatment.” LiveScience, Purch, 14 Aug. 2017.
(3) “Is the Diaphragm Safe? | See If the Diaphragm is Right for You.” Planned Parenthood.
(4) Takahashi, MD M. “Bacteriuria and Oral Contraceptives.” JAMA , American Medical Association, 18 Feb. 1974.
(5) Dienye PO, Gbeneol PK. Contracep on as a risk factor for urinary tract infection in Port Harcourt, Nigeria: A case control study. Afr J Prm Health Care Fam Med. 2011;3(1), Art. #207, 4 pages. doi:10.4102/phcfm.v3i1.207.