Taking the U Out of UTI

June 10, 2013

And It Burns, Burns, Burns . . .

Does this sound familiar? It’s an average day, maybe you’re at work: You use the restroom. Go back to your desk and work for thirty minutes. You feel the urge to go again. Nothing unusual – you’ve had a few cups of coffee. Go back to your desk. Twenty minutes later, you go again. You think, “Is it burning a little, or is it in my head? Nah, it’s fine.” Back at your desk. 10 minutes later, you get the urge to go again. Then you think, “Ow! It burns! Uh oh . . . ”

A scenario like this will happen to many women at some point in their life. Though a Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) occurs in men as well as women, 40% of women will experience at least one UTI during their lifetime compared to 12% of men. Because of the anatomy of a woman, rectal bacteria may get into the urethra and travel into the bladder. While most UTIs can be solved with a simple course of antibiotics, the infection can travel to the kidneys causing a more serious infection. Other factors that can put you at risk for a UTI are age (postmenopausal women do not have as many of the protective effects of estrogen), sexual activity (with frequency being a large factor due to semen causing an imbalance of the natural “flora and fauna” of a woman’s system), certain birth control methods (occasionally, spermicides or diaphragms can be to blame), genetic factors, or diabetes. For men, risk factors include diabetes, being uncircumcised, and having an enlarged prostate.

UTIs come in two varieties: lower urinary tract infections or lower urinary tract infections. Symptoms of both include the frequent urge to urinate, a burning sensation while urinating, and occasionally pain above the pubic bone or lower back. An upper urinary tract infection may include: flank pain, fever, nausea, or vomiting. Also, blood or pus in the urine may occur, though it is more rare. Whether your infection is in the bladder, or has traveled up the urinary tract to become a kidney infection, see a doctor to make sure you receive proper, early treatment. A simple UTI can easily turn into a serious kidney infection.

So how can you prevent urinary tract infections?

1.) Use cotton, breathable underwear and change it daily. If you don’t prefer cotton underwear, at least make sure the crotch area has cotton fabric.

2.) Urinate before and after intercourse to help flush out your system.

3.) Opt for a shower instead of a bath. Baths are very relaxing, but try not to have a bath too frequently. Baths can irritate the vaginal area, especially if you take bubble baths (and without bubbles, what’s the point?). Also, bacteria can enter the urethra from the water.

4.) When you use the restroom, always wipe front to back to reduce the risk of bacteria transference.

5.) Don’t hold your urine for too long if you need to go. Holding your urine can encourage bacteria build-up. Sorry, husbands and boyfriends – that means you’ll need to stop for her on road trips.

6.) Do not use douches or feminine hygiene sprays.

7.) Avoid use of lubricants during intercourse.

8.) Drink cranberry juice. Studies suggest a component of cranberry juice can reduce the ability of bacteria to attach itself to the urethral and bladder lining.

Even if you follow these guidelines, UTIs are so common they may still happen to you! But if you still get a UTI, rest assured that help is nearby….We’re here when you need us the most!

 

Please call to schedule an appointment for preventative/follow-up care: 512-694-8888