Avoiding and Managing Urinary Tract Infections
Getting a urinary tract infection (UTI) happens to millions of women. They are painful, irritating infections that can leave you feeling uncomfortable throughout the day. Women have a lifetime risk of over 50 percent of developing a urinary tract infection. Once you have had one UTI, you have a high risk of getting a second one.
Once you take an antibiotic for a UTI, you can get what is called a rebound infection. Some urinary tract infections will require multiple treatments to completely kill the bacteria, so you can see why it is important to avoid these infections altogether.
The following can increase the chance of a UTI:
- You can get them as a side effect from some medication/antibiotics, so always read your pharmacy insert when getting prescriptions
- You have diabetes
- You are pregnant
- Some forms of contraception such as spermicides and diaphragms
- Sexual intercourse, especially if more frequent, intense, and with multiple or new partners
- E.coli from the bowel
- E.coli found in pools or water parks.
- Use of Tampons
- Problems emptying the bladder completely
- Having a urinary catheter
- Kidney stones
- Suppressed immune system
- Immobility for a long period
- Holding your pee: If you tend to hold in your pee during the day or not empty your bladder completely when you do go to the bathroom, you could end up with high residual urine in your bladder
- Those with spinal cord injuries or nerve damage around the bladder, which can prohibit complete emptying of the bladder
- Poor Hygiene Habits: use of douches and feminine hygiene sprays or powders, wiping from back to front after urinating or having a bowel movement
Some symptoms of a UTI:
- Feeling like you didn’t finish urinating even after you just went to the bathroom
- You might feel a burning sensation while you are urinating and you will also feel like you need to go to the bathroom more often than normal
- You will notice pain below your navel and will have a general sense of not feeling well
- You may also notice an odor when you urinate, cloudy urine
- nausea and vomiting
Prevention & Treatment
Because managing a UTI is done through antibiotics, as soon as you notice that you possibly have one, call your doctor or schedule a visit.
To reduce the risk of getting a UTI:
- Drink a lot of fluids, especially water – and go to the bathroom when you need to. Waiting to go gives the bacteria that causes the UTI time to multiply.
- Make sure that the underwear you use doesn’t have a silky or nylon crotch. Use only cotton underwear during a UTI and don’t wear snug clothes that can promote bacteria growth.
- Wipe from front to back to keep bacteria around the anus from getting into the vagina or urethra.
- Urinating after sex may lower the risk of UTI by flushing out bacteria that may have gotten into the urinary tract during intercourse
- Watch your sugar intake when you have a UTI
- Sitting in a bath can also allow bacterial infections, so if you are prone to urinary tract infections, consider giving up the baths and showering instead
- You can avoid urinary tract infections by drinking plenty of natural cranberry juice and eating foods that help with urinary health
- Foods or drinks like green tea that help with urinary health. Eat foods that are high in antioxidants. Add acai powder to your smoothies
- Make sure that your vitamin levels are where they should be and take a multivitamin to make sure you are getting the minerals you need to fight back against infections
- Sanitary pads or menstrual cups are preferred to tampons. If you want to buy menstrual cups, then there is an excellent selection on Amazon with thousands of customer reviews.
- Avoid using a diaphragm or spermicide for birth control.
- Avoid using any perfumed products in the genital area.
- Keep the genital area clean