Reproductive health is a significant social and medical concern in a developing country like India. An estimated 25% of women in India suffer from acute cystitis and recurrent UTIs or urinary tract infections. Women are susceptible to the condition and those that develop this disease within two weeks of treatment either undergo a recurrence or an infection owing to the original uropathogen. Preventing urinary tract infections has become even more significant since it can lead to further complications that may require surgery.
How to prevent recurrent UTIs?
The three main risk factors for recurrent urinary tract infections in women include a high number of sexual intercourse without protection, the use of a diaphragm and spermicide, and lastly, the loss of effect of estrogen in the vagina and periurethral structures. Women that suffer from about 2 to 3 urinary tract infections in a year can significantly benefit from behavioral modifications.
A few effective measures have been listed below:
- Emptying the bladder: Sexually active women must void the bladder right after sexual intercourse. This action reduces the chances of coitus-related introduction of bacteria into the bladder. According to some experts, large volumes of urinary flow can also reduce the risk of urinary tract infections.
- Drinking more fluids: The increased intake of fluids, preferably coconut water and plain water, can reduce the risk of repeated infections in women’s urinary tracts. The benefits are not limited to premenopausal women, but women of all ages. A frequent voiding of the bladder also cuts the chances of infection.
- Refraining from holding it: As long as women retain urine to sit in their bladders, bacteria can build up and spread to other parts as well. Medical professionals advise women to use the washroom once every 4 hours and more often if they have recurrent urinary tract infections.
- Wiping from front to back: Bacterial infection to the urethra can be accessed through the vagina and the rectum. When women wipe from back to front, the bacteria in the rectum accesses the urethra through the vagina. To avoid this, women are advised to wipe from front to back.
- Cranberries are good for health: Cranberries are rich in proanthocyanins. These chemicals are believed to inhibit bacteria from sticking into the bladder. In the absence of access to real cranberries, women should drink cranberry juice or its supplements.
- Choosing suitable contraceptives: Women that are prone to develop UTIs should stay away from diaphragms and spermicide since these can alter the natural pH balance of their private parts. This aids bacterial growth. Diaphragms are less problematic, but they may inhibit the complete voiding of the bladder and may trigger bacterial overgrowth.
Women who are approaching menopause or in menopause must consider ingesting estrogen supplements since the deficiency of this useful hormone makes them vulnerable to infection-causing bacteria. It is advisable to discuss the issue with the doctor and follow the recommendations.
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