A UTI is fairly common but unfortunately, often not treated well and that can have grave consequences. Before we share our 8 Tips to avoid urinary tract infections and maintain good bladder hygiene, let us first understand why recurrent and frequent infections of the urinary tract can be seriously damaging.
What is a UTI?
A urinary tract infection (UTI) is an infection in any part of the urinary system that includes the opening of the urethra, the bladder, the ureters, and even the kidneys. It is more common in women than men because of a shorter urethra. All age groups can get it but pregnant women and people with other diseases like diabetes or High blood pressure have a higher possibility of developing complications from UTIs. Let us know the symptoms of a UTI before we share the 8 tips to avoid Urinary tract infections.
The symptoms of UTI include :
Irritation in the urethra or a burning sensation when passing urine
Difficulty in passing urine
Pain in the lower abdomen
Occasionally bloody urine
Sometimes a UTI may also cause fever and chills.
Complications of a Urinary tract Infection (UTI)
- Recurrent UTIs – A urinary tract infection if left untreated or improperly treated may lead to recurrent UTIs especially dangerous in pregnant women and children. Popping antibiotics or pills without consulting a doctor is often the cause for a improperly treated UTI.
- Pyelonephritis ( Infection of the kidneys) – If not treated timely and effectively , the infection can travel up the urinary tract to involve the kidneys and that is a dangerous condition that can further lead to kidney failure and even death.
- High blood pressure – Not only do our kidneys purify the blood but they also keep the Sodium , Potassium and other electrolytes in check. Frequent UTIs can lead to failure of this regulation and eventually cause high blood pressure, the high blood pressure further damages the kidney, thus creating a vicious cycle , often leading to death due to heart and kidney failure.
- Sepsis – Sepsis is the most dreaded complication of a Urinary Tract Infection (UTI), it means that the infection from the urinary tract reaches the blood stream and this can be fatal. The symptoms of Sepsis include, rapid pulse, shallow quick breathing , not being able to pass urine or very scanty urine, high grade fever and chills. This is an emergency condition and needs immediate hospitalization.
8 Tips to avoid Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs)
1. Emptying the bladder regularly
You should pass urine at least once in every 1-2 hours when awake. You are more likely to get a urinary tract infection if your bladder is holding onto stagnant urine, which gives germs time to grow. Do not hold your urine intentionally if you want to avoid Urinary tract infections frequently.
2. Two voids every time
This is a very important tip to avoid Urinary tract infection, especially so in women who have born children, or in elderly people, the pelvic floor can be weak and because of this, the bladder may not empty itself in one go. Make an effort to completely empty your bladder one more time before exiting the loo. Take your time to use the WC, do not rush yourself.
Pay attention on relaxing your pelvic floor muscles by taking a deep breath prior to urinating. To position yourself to empty your bladder as much as possible, try different foot placements. A trick that helps to relax is to run your hands under warm water!
3. Drink enough water
The urinary tract is kept clean by fluids. Think of it as a rinse. Urination aids in the removal of microorganisms that would otherwise lead to infection. A minimum of 2-3 litres a day is sufficient for most people that should include all the fluids taken except tea.
4. Get your bowels moving each day
Just behind the bladder is the rectum, and a rectum full with stool (poop) might prevent the bladder from working properly. Up till you get gentle bowel motions without having to strain, increase your fruit, fibre, water, and walking. If this is still insufficient take psyllium husk (isabgol) two spoons with warm water at bedtime to have better evacuations.
5. Always Wipe or Wash Front to back after stool
The rectal flora (bacteria that resides in our gut) is typically where urinary tract infections come from. Bacteria are kept out of the bladder by wiping from front to back. By wiping or washing from back to front, you put yourself at danger of bringing bacteria into your bladder through infecting the urinary opening.
Before and after sexual activity, empty your bladder. By doing this, you’ll get rid of any microorganisms that might infect you. This is crucial for female patients with infections brought on by sex specially vigorous sex.
6. Go for Regular Deworming
Typically in India , intestinal worm infestations not only in children but adults too cause irritation in the anus. This causes itching and the resultant scratching can spread the infection to the Urinary outlet. Sometimes female adult worms migrate from the rectum to the urethra and can deposit eggs there which can led to persistent infections. In such cases a stool test and doctor prescribed deworming medicines can help keep the the UTI at bay.
7. Check for Underlying diseases
Frequent Urinary tract infections (UTIs) can also be caused by underlying diseases especially Anemia and Diabetes , that can dent the body’s defenses and increase the risk of opportunities infections. Make sure to get yourself checked for these if you are getting UTIs quiet often.
In females, a prolapsed Uterus, menstruation and pregnancy are also risk factors for UTI. In males specially elderly males, prostatic enlargement is a common cause for recurrent urinary tract infections.
8. Seek Medical attention
In Homeopathy, Cantharis Q is medicine that taken 20 drops half hourly can treat the UTI in the early stages and is a medicine you should keep in your home as a first aid for Burns and UTI.
If the UTI continues for more than one day or you develop fever and pain or there is also blood in urine, it is best to consult your doctor as soon as possible. The doctor may advice a urine test and sometimes a blood test to rule out any underlying disease or septicemia. Most UTIs resolve with 5 days of medication, make sure to follow up with your doctor and do not stop the treatment regimen even if you start to feel better before completing your medication.
The above tips can save lives – so do follow them and share them with your loved ones. Comment below if you have a query or a suggestion.
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