Monday, August 12, 2019

UTI: a common women’s health problem


Amy Metzger, CNM

You’ve likely either had a urinary tract infection (UTI) or know someone who has. In fact, a woman’s lifetime risk of developing a UTI is as high as one in two according to some estimates, and repeat infections are quite common.

Women are predisposed to UTIs due in large part to anatomy. The female urethra is close to the anus, which increases the risk of a bacterial invasion. In addition, women have shorter urethras, so bacteria don’t have to travel far to reach the bladder. Intercourse can also result in the transfer of bacteria.

Preventing UTIs
You can reduce your risks for a UTI by:
·         Always wiping from front to back
·         Emptying your bladder regularly and completely
·         Cleansing the genital area before intercourse, and urinating after
·         Showering instead of bathing
·         Keeping the genital area dry, including wearing breathable cotton underwear and not lingering in wet swimsuits
·         Drinking plenty of water

Some women are more genetically predisposed to urinary tract infections, and certain conditions—like diabetes, multiple sclerosis and even pregnancy—increase susceptibility.

If you have repeat infections, additional preventative steps include avoiding products that can cause irritation and increase the likelihood of infections, such as feminine hygiene sprays, douches and scented feminine care products; unlubricated condoms or spermicidal jelly; tight-fitting pants or nylon underwear or tights that can trap moisture; or a diaphragm, which can increase bacterial growth.

UTI Symptoms
Signs you may have a urinary tract infection include:
·         Pain and burning while urinating
·         An increased urge to urinate, but with little output
·         Fever, chills and fatigue
·         Bad-smelling or cloudy, dark or bloody urine
·         Pain or pressure in the pelvis, abdomen or lower back

Treatment for UTIs
If you think you have a UTI, call us promptly as infections can worsen and spread to your kidneys.

We’ll test your urine and if an infection is detected, prescribe antibiotics. If you experience chronic or frequent UTIs, we’ll work with you to try to determine why and develop a more robust prevention strategy and treatment plan.