If you’ve ever been unfortunate enough to land with a UTI you’ll know that they burn, itch, leave you feeling deflated and lethargic, and they can be incredibly painful (not to mention expensive to remedy). By staying aware of what causes these nasty bacteria to grow and harvest, however, you can drastically decrease the frequency of these painful attacks and improve your overall health.
For starters, a UTI, or Urinary Tract Infection, is a type of infection that attacks the bladder and kidneys and is usually caused when E. coli bacteria enters the body and travels up the urinary tract towards the bladder and kidneys. This list is a quick and easy way to help you avoid these painful – and often rapid – flare-ups.
You’re Using Birth Control
Women who use diaphragm contraceptives – such as the copper coil – spermicidal agents and oral contraception have an increased risk of getting UTI’s more frequently. This is due to the imbalance of hormones and the disruption of hormone regulations. Birth control can suppress the urethral or bladder immune systems which in turn produces the inflammatory hormone prostaglandin E2; which ignites UTI’s. If you can relate to this it might be necessary to talk to your doctor about alternative birth control options.
You’re Not Taking Necessary Precaution After Sex
UTI’s used to be (cutely) called ‘honeymoon cystitis’, because women would come back from romantic getaways with their loved ones showing signs and symptoms of UTI’s caused by having sex. Intercourse pushes bacteria up towards the bladder and urethra and can flare into a nasty infection. Avoid this by simply going to the bathroom post-sex to rid your body of any potentially nasty bugs.
You’re Using Unfriendly Lady Products
One of the wonderful things about vaginas (there are many of them) is that it is a self-cleaning organ. Some women opt to use pleasantly-smelling shower washes, which are fine; but more often than not these products kill off healthy bacteria that live inside your vagina leading to the growth of unhealthy bacteria and eventually a UTI, or even a more serious infection, can develop. It’s recommended that you use plain and unperfumed soaps when washing your bits ‘n’ bobs.
You’re Not In Control
Although some flare up’s can happen faster than others, it’s possible to avoid a full-on infection if you take the proper action as soon as you feel the first symptoms coming on. Using herbal remedies is a great alternative to fighting infection instead of using prescribed antibiotics. Elderflower, Couchgrass, Horsetail, Chamomile, ginger, and thyme are all natural remedies that promote healthy urinary tracts and can all be bought in your local health shop.
Your Body Needs Hydrating
Going to the bathroom allows you to rid your body of any unwanted bacteria (hence why we go after sex), but it’s also important to frequently go throughout the day so you should keep a bottle of water nearby and sip throughout the day. The golden rule of hydration is when your urine appears very light in colour it means that your body is sufficiently hydrated.
Myth busted: contrary to what your mother might say, the cold does not cause UTI’s or kidney infections. So that second pair of knickers “to keep the cold out” won’t protect you against anything, but the above tips hopefully will.