Most urinary infections occur when bacteria
on the skin advance up the urinary opening (urethra) to the bladder, where they can begin to multiply. This is a particular issue for women, where the distance between the skin and the bladder is relatively short.
One of the body's major defenses against ascending bacteria is emptying the bladder. The stream of urine
washes away bacteria that are trying to move up the urethra. Additionally, frequent full bladder emptying makes it more difficult for bacteria to establish a stable population (colonization) in the bladder.
Out of social habit or due to work demands, many people try to go as long as possible between bathroom breaks. However, this predisposes to urinary infections, as the protective flushing action is lost.
Maintaining a high fluid intake and urinating at least every 2 hours during the day helps prevent urinary infections. For people with frequent and recurrent infections
, this change can be quite effective.