Caused by a bacterial infection invading the urinary tract system, urinary tract infection or UTI, must be treated quickly when it occurs to avoid complications. Most UTIs are not serious, but will cause serious discomfort and can lead to severe symptoms when urinating such as pain and burning sensations.
Keeping your urinary tract system healthy is especially important as it acts as the body’s filtering system when removing liquid waste. The bladder, kidneys, ureters and urethra compose the urinary tract. Contracting a UTI is very common, but they are simple steps that will help preventing it.
In their lifetime, about 50% of all women will have UTI at least once. Having a shorter urinary tract than men, makes women especially susceptible to UTIs. The common and effective way to treat UTIs is to use antibiotics as prescribed by a doctor. Unfortunately, many women suffer from recurrent UTIs, which can turn into a frustrating cycle.
What are the common causes of urinary tract infections?
Most commonly, UTIs are caused by a bacteria originating from the bowel located around the rectum or in the vagina. These bacterias can go through the urethra and into the urinary tract. They then travel upwards creating infections in the bladder or other parts of the urinary system.
These bacterias can easily come into contact with the urethra during sexual intercourse. Women who are in monogamous relationships or celibate have fewer risks of contracting a UTI. However, taking health precautions during intercourse highly reduces the risks of a UTI.
A second common cause of bladder infection or UTI can occur when waiting too long to urinate. The bladder itself is a muscle that stretches to keep urine and contracts when it is emptied after urinating. When waiting too long after you feel the need to pee can lead your bladder beyond its capacity and in time weaken the muscle. Once the bladder is weakened it is possible that it will not empty itself properly and some urine may remain in the bladder leading to possible infections.
10 simple ways to stay healthy and keep urinary tract infections at bay:
1. The easiest step in staying healthy is by drinking plenty of water throughout the day. Water will keep your urinary tract clean and rid your body of toxins.
2. When you feel the need to pee don’t wait. Women tend to wait until they finish the task at hand before going to the restroom, but waiting to urinate can help bacteria to develop into an infection.
3. After urinating always wipe yourself from front to back, especially after a bowl movement. This is very important to keep your urethra and vagina clear from any bacteria living on the skin around the anus.
4. Following sexual intercourse, go to the bathroom to urinate and do not wait over 15min before showering. This will keep bacterias from breeding around your urethra or vagina.
5. Taking cool showers rather than warm baths also helps in keeping your urethra safe from bad bacteria.
6. Always be gentle with your genital area when you wash and use an appropriate soap. Feminine hygiene douches and sprays, especially when scented, should be avoided as they may irritate the urethra making it more vulnerable to bacteria causing a UTI. Using a personal hygiene soap containing lactic acid and lactoserum is a great way to maintain the natural acidic pH of the vaginal area. Remember that soap should strictly be used externally.
7. Wearing cotton underwear, or at least with a cotton crotch will avoid moisture from being trapped. Hot and humid areas are breeding grounds for bacteria, so avoid synthetic panties.
8. Use a condom during sexual intercourse to stay safe from possible bacteria transmission from your partner and of course avoid sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Before anal intercourse, wash the area well and use a condom. After anal intercourse always change condom before vaginal intercourse, or anal bacteria will directly contaminate the vagina and possibly the urethra causing a UTI.
9. What you eat can also help keeping urinary tract infection at bay. Food high in vitamin C or supplements, increase the acidity of urine making it a hostile environment for bacteria. Another power nutritional tip is drinking cranberry juice, which helps prevent UTI and speeds up recovery in case of an infection.
10. For women prone to recurrent UTIs paying attention to your sexual position during intercourse may be the solution to the problem. Choose positions that limit friction to the urethra and switch often. Another way to limit friction can be to trim pubic hair. Women who contract UTIs extremely often should consult their doctor who may prescribe an antibiotic to use after each sexual intercourse to prevent any UTI.