Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are a common ailment, affecting as many as 8.1 million Americans annually. The urinary tract is an amazing system that helps us get rid of waste from our bodies. It’s composed of the bladder, kidneys, urethra, and the tubes that run between them, the ureters.
UTIs can be caused by bacteria entering the system from the genital opening, and they may affect the upper or lower urinary tracts. UTIs are more common in women, though men can also develop them. See 5 Signs of a Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) You Need To Know
Number 1. Wiping The Wrong Way
When it comes to proper bathroom hygiene, wiping from front to back is key for avoiding infection. This prevents bacteria from the anal area from spreading to the vaginal area. There are other risks associated with incorrect cleaning, such as developing candidiasis (thrush) or bacterial vaginosis.
Number 2. Tight Underwear
It’s important to wear the right kind of underwear to avoid developing a UTI. Tight underwear, pants, or jeans can restrict air flow and cause the vaginal area to become sweaty and moist. This can create an ideal environment for bacteria to grow and lead to an infection. Choose cotton or other natural fabrics instead of synthetic materials like nylon or spandex, which can be more constricting and lead to a higher risk of UTI.
Number 3. After Intercourse
UTIs are a very common infection that can be contracted after intercourse. This is because vaginal discharge, semen, and lubricants can reach the urethra, causing bacterial overgrowth and inflammation. In some cases, women also have negative reactions to the unfamiliar flora of a new sexual partner. It’s recommended to always urinate after intercourse so as not to risk any future health problems by flushing out foreign fluids and bacteria.
Number 4. Weakened Immune System
People with weak immune systems are more likely to get urinary tract infections. This is because the vagina is home to many substances and friendly bacteria that help prevent harmful bacteria from multiplying. However, when the immune system is weak due to poor diet, illness, or other infections, the bacteria can overgrow and affect other parts of the body. Additionally, diet and gut flora can play a big role in developing UTIs, so taking a probiotic can help ward them off.
Number 5. Certain Diseases
Have you ever wondered why people with spinal cord injuries and other nerve damage are more susceptible to urinary tract infections? It’s because these conditions can make it difficult for the bladder to completely empty, which gives bacteria a chance to grow. In addition, kidney stones, enlarged prostates, and other obstructions can cause a UTI. Diabetes can also be a problem because it weakens the body’s natural defenses.
Number 6. Birth Control Use
There are many types of birth control, each with its own benefits and drawbacks. For example, diaphragms coated with spermicide can increase your risk of UTIs. Spermicide can kill the good bacteria in the vagina and cause an imbalance in pH levels. This can create an environment where bacteria can easily travel to the urinary tract and bladder. Additionally, using spermicides or condoms can also increase your risk of Candida infections.
Number 7. Dehydration
Dehydration is no joke – it can lead to all sorts of health problems, including urinary tract infections (UTIs). Staying well hydrated is particularly important to prevent and ease the symptoms of urinary tract infections. When you have a UTI, increase your fluid intake substantially. Drink water, herbal teas and unsweetened cranberry juice to help prevent future UTIs.
Number 8. Going Through Menopause
As a woman goes through menopause, her estrogen levels fall and this can lead to urinary tract infections. This is because the vaginal wall and the urethra change, making it harder for women to control their bladder. If you have difficulty or pain when you urinate, or if you often wet yourself, you might have a UTI.
Number 9. Extended Use of Catheter
If you need to use a catheter to urinate, there is a risk of getting a urinary tract infection. This is because it is not natural for there to be a foreign object in the urethra for an extended period of time. People who are hospitalized generally have to use indwelling urinary catheters, which increase the risk of bladder, kidney, and urinary tract infections.
Number 10. Your Gender
Urinary tract infections are more common in women than in men. This is because the shorter urethra in women makes it easier for bacteria to travel to the bladder and cause infection. However, men can also get UTIs, and about half of all women will experience one at some point in their lives. For some women, UTIs can be a recurring problem, and the risk increases with age.