Prevent Repeat Urine Infections??
Do you suffer from frequent or repeat urine infections? Here, we will share five natural methods that will INSTANTLY reduce your risk of another urine infection.
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An Encounter With Frequent Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs)
Urine tract infections are caused by germs growing in the urinary tract.
They can be very distressing when they happen the first time.
But when you've had painful urination, fever with back or tummy pain and other symptoms of UTI then recovered, it's doubly unfortunate if you have to go through the symptoms again less than 4 or 6 weeks later.
Some women can suffer two UTIs every 6 months - or even more frequently.
We think that repeat infections happen most often due to germs located around the anus or the vagina passing into the opening of the urinary passage (urethra).
However, in a small number of people, when the infection keeps coming back, it may be due to an abnormality in the urinary tract structure.
This could be due to a kidney stone, cysts in the kidney or a kidney abscess.
Other conditions that may put you at greater risk of repeat UTIs are:
Diabetes M, Pregnancy, After menopause, Sex and Multiple Sexual partners.
What Makes Up Your Urinary Tract?
But what makes up the urinary tract? Quick reminder!
THE URINARY TRACT begins from the urethra, a small tube that opens into the urinary bladder.
In women, the tube is short and starts from the space next to the vagina. From here, it travels into the bladder.
In men, the urethra is longer and starts at the tip of the penis, allowing urine to pass from the bladder.
Did you know - Women are 10 times more likely than men to get bladder infections because they have a shorter urethra. In women, germs can reach the bladder faster because of the shorter distance.
The next part of the urinary tract is the bladder, which is the collection reservoir for urine that has been filtered from the kidneys.
Next, travelling upwards into our bodies are two slim tubes on either side of the bladder known as the ureters - different from the urethra!
The ureters transport urine from the kidneys down into the bladder.
And the final parts of the urinary tract are the kidneys, those small but extremely powerful filtering organs that also make Vitamin D and Renin. (Renin helps in controlling your blood pressure).
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What Causes Repeat Urine Infections
When we need to prevent repeat urine infections, the principal thing is to avoid germs entering or multiplying in the urinary tract.
We used to believe that the entire urinary tract is sterile - this means we thought there were NO BUGS naturally living inside it, such as you have on the skin.
However, that is a myth. The urinary bladder contains a minimal amount of harmless bacteria growing naturally.
So, the only way to get an infection is when more germs somehow enter the tract, usually via the urethra from nearby areas; or the ones already present start to overgrow.
What are these nearby areas? Mainly the anus and vagina. This means to prevent infections, we should focus on these areas.
But also keep in mind the small number of germs living naturally in the bladder, which are most likely protective, as we will refer to them later in this video.
Five Natural Measures that Prevent Repeat Urine Infections
If you have repeat UTIs, hygiene is an essential aspect of prevention. It's vital to ensure the area around your anus or back passage is always clean, especially after opening your bowels.
Using moist wipes or tissues are definitely better than dry tissue on your skin for this purpose.
After passing urine, make sure you wipe the right way - for ladies especially: clean from front to back and discard any used tissue after using it once.
Closely related to this is wearing fresh, clean underwear, changing sanitary materials early before they get soaked, and avoiding the use of vaginal cleaning products or douches.
If you suffer from frequent UTIs, are you eating a lot of acidic fruits? These are fruits like lemons, grapefruits, oranges and tomatoes. How does what you EAT affect the urine or infection?
These acidic fruits irritate the bladder, making it harder to properly recover from a urine infection. Some studies suggest spicy foods, sweeteners, and coffee may also similarly irritate the bladder.
The principal dietary change you must make to avoid frequent UTIs is drinking plenty of water!
A study revealed that women taking less than 1.5l/ day of water were more likely to have repeat urine infections. Women who took double this amount of water reduced the number of repeat infections they had.
Cranberry juice is a popular natural remedy for UTIs. Some people swear by Cranberry juice for treating their UTIs. However, cranberry juice is not recommended as a treatment for Urinary Tract Infections.
Some UTIs can be extremely mild and can go away on their own. Taking cranberry juice, in that case, is not harmful as long as you seek medical advice if symptoms are not getting better after 1 or 2 days - or are getting worse.
Can taking Cranberry juice prevent UTIs? The evidence from studies is limited though some women feel it helps them.
Clothing and Fabric
Yes, what you wear can put you at risk of another UTI.
So avoid tight underwear made of non-breathing fabrics like Nylon, Rayon, Polyester or a blend of cotton and lycra.
Tight-fitting jeans or wearing tight lycra clothing/sportswear for an extended period should be avoided too.
These fabrics allow moisture to accumulate and encourage the overgrowth of germs close to the bladder opening (urethra).
The best option for underwear if you have repeat infections is Cotton.
Being one of the most breathable fabrics known, cotton offers airflow for drying out any dampness.
In addition, cotton is a natural fibre that absorbs moisture instead of forcing the sweat to sit on your skin.
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Are there habits or activities that could make you get another urine infection sooner than you expect?
- Failing to wee (pass urine) straight after having sex. Sexual activity, including oral and vaginal sex can introduce bacteria around the urethra opening, tracking upwards into the bladder. By going to wee straight after sex, you can flush out the germs before they start to multiply. Drink 1-2 glasses of water straight away too.
- Some people get into the habit of holding onto urine in their bladder for long periods. It may be when they are very busy working, exercising or can't get to a clean toilet soon enough. Holding on to your urine is a habit you need to stop as it can allow germs to multiply in the bladder if it is not frequently emptied.
We already talked a little about cranberry juice and its doubtful effect on preventing UTIs.
More recently, scientists have been looking at the role probiotics might play in preventing UTIs.
Remember we talked about the normal bladder having a small number of germs naturally living in it?
Studies comparing bladders of healthy women versus those with urinary tract disease is interesting.
Those at risk of more UTIs have LESS protective urinary tract germs.
Scientists, therefore, think that by replenishing their protective germs using probiotics, these women may suffer fewer UTIs.
Probiotics can be found in foods and food supplements (in capsule, tablet and powder forms). Those probiotics that prevent and treat genitourinary infections should contain Lactobacillus species.
While this area is still under study, there may be a benefit from taking probiotics regularly for 3-6 months for a woman who suffers repeat infections.
Overcoming Repeated Urine Infections
Learning to overcome repeated urine infections can take some time and trials but is possible for most women.
It is always important to make sure there are no structural abnormalities when someone is having repeat urine infections.
The possibility of those other conditions like Pregnancy and Diabetes Mellitus should also be given consideration.
Have you considered any of these measures recommended? How did it go?
- Prevention of UTI in Women
- Prevention of UTI
- Kidney Health
- Drinking More Water Reduces Repeat Urine Infections
- Cranberry Polyphenols and Prevention against Urinary Tract Infections: Relevant Considerations
- The role of probiotics in women with recurrent urinary tract infections
- When UTIs keep coming back
- Best Sweat absorbing Fabrics
- The role of probiotics in recurrent UTIs
Editing by AskAwayHealth Team
All AskAwayHealth articles are written by practising Medical Practitioners on a wide range of health care conditions to provide evidence-based guidance and to help promote quality health care. The advice in our material is not meant to replace the management of your specific condition by a qualified health care practitioner.
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