Ever had that uneasy feeling of constantly wanting to pee but when you do pee, it burns like hell? That, ladies, can be a UTI. UTI or Urinary Tract Infection is extremely common in women and can be painful, annoying and often result in serious consequences. A urinary tract infection (UTI) is an infection in any part of your urinary system, including your kidneys, ureters, bladder and urethra. Most infections involve the lower urinary tract, the bladder and the urethra. Anatomy is the most likely culprit. Women are more likely to develop UTIs because they have a shorter urethra than men. Bacteria don’t have to travel very far to reach and infect a woman’s bladder. Plus, the opening to the urethra is closer to the rectum, where the bacteria that can cause these infections tend to live.
Types Of UTIs
There are two types of UTI:
- Cystitis, a urinary bladder infection
- Pyelonephritis, a kidney infection
Common Signs & Symptoms Of UTIs
- A burning feeling when you urinate
- A frequent or strong urge to urinate, even though little comes out when you do
- A sudden change in your usual routine or pattern of going to the bathroom
- Pain or pressure in your back or lower abdomen
- Cloudy, dark, bloody or strange-smelling urine
- Any sensation that doesn’t seem normal when you go
- Fever, chills, rigours
- Nausea and vomiting
- Bleeding with urine
- Dark coloured urine
Expert Talk: Dr Veerabhadra Gupta explains here why UTIs & kidney-related infections are common in women.
10 Home Remedies That Can Help Women Reduce Their Chances Of Contracting UTI
1. Drinking Fluids
Drink plenty of water. Water helps to dilute your urine and flush out bacteria. Experts recommend drinking 3-4 litres of water in a day, but people can check with their doctor how much water they need, as too much may not be beneficial. You can also add cranberry juice since studies suggest that it helps. (However, don’t drink cranberry juice if you’re taking blood-thinning medication, such as warfarin.)
2. Do Not Hold Your Pee
Go to the bathroom as soon as you have the urge. One of the symptoms of a UTI is pain when urinating. For this reason, it can be tempting to avoid using the bathroom. However, experts advise people to urinate as and when they need to or every 2–3 hours. Holding urine in may cause bacteria to multiply.
3. Maintain Hygiene
Among women, after every menses, if they do not maintain personal hygiene, they may get repeated UTIs. Wiping the toilet seat is important especially if you are using a public toilet. Intercourse can also cause UTI if one is not taking proper hygiene care. If one of the partners is having an infection, using a condom is a must. Make sure to wipe from front to back. Make a trip to the bathroom before and after sex. Enjoy baths? That’s OK every once in a while, but take showers more often than you soak.
4. Choose The Right Clothing
Tight pants aren’t in style for your pelvic health. Avoid wearing tight-fitting pants, they can trap moisture. Loose-fitting clothing can prevent moisture from accumulating in the pelvic area. This may help stop the infection from getting worse. Wear breathable underwear, preferably with a cotton crotch.
5. Follow A Healthy Diet
Avoid drinks that may irritate your bladder. Avoid coffee, alcohol, and soft drinks containing citrus juices or caffeine until your infection has cleared. They can irritate your bladder and tend to aggravate your frequent or urgent need to urinate. You can add pears, bananas, eggs, nuts, lean protein and potatoes.
6. Apply Heat
Using a heating pad can reduce discomfort. Apply a warm, but not hot, heating pad to your abdomen to minimize bladder pressure or discomfort. However, make sure that you don’t directly apply it to your skin, the heat is moderate and you do it for short durations.
Find here 8 things you need to know about UTIs, according to gynaecologist Dr Tomar.
7. Increase Vitamin C Intake
Research shows that vitamin C can prevent UTIs by killing off bacteria and building a better immunity system. Red peppers, oranges, grapefruit, and kiwifruit all contain the recommended amount of vitamin C. Fruits and vegetables that have high levels of vitamin C are good sources for you.
8. Up Your Probiotic Consumption
Probiotics are beneficial microorganisms that are consumed through food or supplements and can promote a healthy balance of bacteria in your gut. Probiotics can be found in fermented foods, such as kefir, kimchi, kombucha, and probiotic yoghurt. You can also add probiotics to your diet after consulting a doctor.
9. Change Menstrual Hygiene Products Frequently
Maxi pads are more prone to cause rashes and friction as their top sheet is made with harsh plastic, and some toxic ingredients are likely to give rashes- ink or artificial fragrances. You must change your pad frequently. It would be better to change them at least every 5-6 hours. Maintain proper perineal hygiene and use organic intimate hygiene products to keep the area clean. Watch this video to know about essential items to carry in your bag at all times.
10. Use Organic Products
Your bubble bath, body wash, and other cleaning products might be the culprit to your UTIs. So, use sensitive formulas that are dye and fragrance-free. You can use organic soaps and products that have no harmful chemicals thus preventing UTIs. You can switch your bath soaps, hygiene products and intimate washes.
Okay, but what’s the deal with intimate washes and vaginal hygiene products? Find here a gynaecologist’s inputs.
Disclaimer: This is for the general information of the readers. Always consult a doctor for specific health problems.
Most women have had UTI at least once. If you haven’t, there’s a pretty good chance you will. So, take these measures and consult your doctor when needed.