Keeping Your Urinary Tract Healthy After Menopause
Urinary tract infections are the most common bacterial infection in women. When bacteria enter the urethra and then the bladder, this can cause an infection. UTIs can be a chronic problem, especially for postmenopausal women.
This article discusses the reasons why postmenopausal women are at an increased risk for UTIs. Then, we share some strategies for recurrent UTI prevention after menopause.
Menopause And Uti: Recurrent Uti That Won’t Go Away
Maybe itâs been a few months and you were thinking, âoh, yay, finally no more UTIs,â but on your next trip to the bathroom, the burn and ache say otherwise.
Urinary tract infections are incredibly common among women. Some experts say half or more of all women will have at least one in their lifetime. Let’s discuss what you need to know about menopause and UTIs.
Menopause And Your Urinary Tract
It has been debated whether the changes in a woman’s urinary tract with age are due to menopause and the lack of estrogen, or instead related to the aging process alone. We do know, however, that the bladder is loaded with estrogen receptors, so the reduction of estrogen that happens in menopause probably doesn’t help.
With age, the bladder begins to lose both its volume and its elasticity, and it’s normal to have to go to the bathroom more frequently. As the bacteria concentration in your genital region increases your urethra may thin, allowing bacteria easier access to your bladder. For these reasons, urinary tract infections are more common as women age. This risk begins to increase within four or five years of your final menstrual period.
The bladder also begins to thin, leaving women more susceptible to incontinence, particularly if certain chronic illnesses or recurrent urinary tract infections are also present.
The pelvic muscles weaken as you age. You may find that exercise, coughing, laughing, lifting heavy objects, or performing any other movement that puts pressure on the bladder can cause small amounts of urine to leak. Lack of regular physical exercise may also contribute to this condition.
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New Solutions For Menopause
Menopause is the time in a womans life when she stops having menstrual periods and can no longer get pregnant. It results from a decline in the production of the reproductive hormones estrogen and progesterone.
Although some women sail through menopause with few or no discomforts, shifting hormone levels cause some women to experience a variety of symptoms. These can include vaginal dryness, painful intercourse, chronic urinary tract infections , and changes in urinary habits.
If youre coping with chronic menopause-related UTIs, our providers at Womens Healthcare of Princeton can provide help that goes beyond just antibiotics. We offer a range of treatment options, including some new solutions that may surprise you.
Factors That Increase The Risk Of Utis In Women
- Shorter urethras, so bacteria have less distance to travel to cause infection
- Sexual activity, especially with new or multiple partners
- Birth control, because diaphragms and spermicidal agents can kill good bacteria
- Menopause, as a result of a reduction in estrogen
E. coli bacteria live in the intestines and travel through the anus out of the body. Theyre the common cause of UTIs, and the factors above plus others all contribute to increased risk. A kidney stone or suppressed immune system can also raise your chances of a UTI.
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Use Of Probiotics For The Prevention And Treatment Of Utis
Vaginal lactobacilli have protective roles: they are able to produce antimicrobial compounds such as lactic acid, hydrogen peroxide to produce a biosurfactant that inhibits the adhesion of uropathogens to surfaces and to stimulate non-specific innate immune system. Restoration of vaginal flora with lactobacilli using probiotics is an effective strategy to decrease the frequency of UTIs.
A recent study suggests that the administration of vaginal suppositories containing L. crispatus GAI 98332
Treatments For Menopausal Frequent Urination
The symptoms of menopausal frequent urination can be managed using medication, exercises, and dietary changes. In extreme cases, surgery may be recommended.
There are different menopause stages and each bring their own set of symptoms. Learn about the different stages to cope with your symptoms easier.
The most common treatment for menopausal symptoms including frequent urination is hormone replacement therapy . This involves either taking estrogen in a tablet form or applying a patch containing the hormone to the skin. Estrogen is also available as a topical cream which can be applied directly to the vagina, or a pessary or ring which is inserted into the vagina and releases estrogen gradually over time.
Although HRT is highly effective in most women, it can cause side effects including:
- Breast tenderness
This medication is also unsuitable for women with certain forms of breast cancer.
Exercise is one of the best ways to strengthen the muscles known as the pelvic floor muscles. These are the muscles responsible for supporting the bladder and controlling urination, and they often become weaker with age or following childbirth.
The exercises used to strengthen the pelvic floor are usually known as Kegel exercises. They involve repeatedly tensing and relaxing the area to strengthen and improve muscle tone.
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Cranberry In The Prevention And Treatment Of Utis
Cranberry contains a proanthocyanidin that counteracts bladder colonization by E. coli by inhibiting the attachment of bacteria to the uroepithelial mucosa. Anti-inflammatory activity of cranberry extract prevents the development of symptoms but also to lower intercellular bacterial propagation, and thus reduces the frequency of UTIs and the propensity towards chronic infection.
Evidence shows that consumption of cranberry juice significantly reduces clinical UTIs episodes in women with a
Are There Herbal Remedies To Help Me
It is possible to take herbal remedies to support home measures while easing your symptoms of a bladder infection. Uva-ursi, also known as bearberry, is a small plant found in Europe, and has flowers of similar shape to a bladder. However, it is for more than this coincidence that Uva-ursi is used to relieve the symptoms of a bladder infection. It is thought to have antiseptic properties and promotes excretion of bacteria in the urine.
However, if you are looking for a herbal solution to support you throughout the stages of the menopause, and all the associated side-effects, then soy isoflavones which mimic the effect of oestrogen in the body can help to reduce unwanted symptoms. These can be found in herbal remedies, such as A.Vogelâs Menopause Support.
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Causes Of Urinary Tract Infections
UTIs are usually caused by bacteria from poo entering the urinary tract.
The bacteria enter through the tube that carries pee out of the body .
Women have a shorter urethra than men. This means bacteria are more likely to reach the bladder or kidneys and cause an infection.
Things that increase the risk of bacteria getting into the bladder include:
- having sex
The Emotional Side Of Urinary Tract Infections
Taking more time for ourselves also means addressing our emotions. In mind-body medicine, one school of thought proposes that bladder pain and infection can represent the trapped expression of anger or frustration in ones life. I shared this theory with one sweet-natured woman who suffered from recurrent UTIs, and her response was, Oh, that is me to a T no wonder! Along with drinking lots of water and getting to the bathroom frequently, it certainly cant hurt to work on a full range of emotional expression instead of bottling things up inside.
Some women may be frightened or embarrassed to discuss urinary tract infections with their doctors. As I mentioned earlier, women in perimenopause and menopause, as well as those who are breastfeeding, may have low estrogen levels, which can leave vaginal tissues vulnerable and more fragile. Yet many avoid asking for help due to fears about hormone replacement therapy or surgery. Fortunately, there are several low-risk natural estrogen options that can be used locally to significantly lower the risk and complications of UTIs .
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Will Probiotics Help Prevent Utis
While it might seem like taking oral probiotics chock-full of Lactobacilli would be the best answer, De Nisco isnt optimistic. Oral probiotics are unlikely to colonize the urinary tract because they must survive and establish themselves within the gastrointestinal tract first, she says. Probiotic suppositories might be a more efficient route to the urinary tract, but more research is needed, she says.
You Can Look Out For The Following Symptoms To Confirm A Urinary Tract Infection:
- Burning like sensation while urinating
- Foul odor from the urine
- Very frequent urge to urinate
- Dark-colored urine
- Uneasiness because of the incomplete passage of urine out of the body
To your surprise, the home remedies for urinary tract infections are quite simple to bring in effect. So, lets begin with the best home remedies to use for curing urinary tract infections in males.
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Home Remedies For Cat Urinary Tract Infection Tips To Help Your Kitten
All pet owners understand how hard it is to see their pet in pain, and it may be more frustrating to figure out whats causing it. Unfortunately, we must rely on observing because our pets cannot communicate their concerns. Symptoms can be modest, such as minor lethargy. Ever noticed blood in cat urine, the early warning signs of urinary tract infections are frequently neglected. On the other hand, you should not take UTIs lightly since, and if left untreated, they can progress to even more severe illnesses. Ever wondered how can i treat my cats UTI at home with natural home remedies and what antibiotic is used for cat urinary tract infection. Here is the complete guide for you, lets get into it.
What Are The Other Urinary Symptoms Of Menopause
The states that throughout menopause, the lining of the urethra becomes thinner. This can lead to urinary incontinence.
The North American Menopause Society explains that there are two main types of urinary incontinence. These are:
- Stress incontinence: This is when the bladder leaks when a person laughs or sneezes. It often starts during perimenopause but does not usually get any worse as the person progresses through the transition.
- Urge incontinence: This is a sudden and urgent need to urinate, also known as overactive bladder. The muscles may not be able to stop the flow of urine completely, causing leakage.
Treatments are available, and various exercises designed to strengthen the pelvic floor for example, Kegel exercises can help. Doctors may also prescribe medications or surgical treatments.
Sometimes, home remedies and increased water consumption can flush bacteria out of the bladder before an infection takes hold.
However, the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases says that anyone experiencing nausea or vomiting, fever, or severe pain in the back alongside bladder-related symptoms should seek medical advice. This combination of symptoms can be a sign of a kidney infection.
The UCF adds that anyone with blood in their urine should see a doctor as soon as possible. Although this can be a sign of a UTI, it is also a marker for other urinary tract problems.
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Herbal Remedies And Vitamins
No herbal remedy has been proven to treat or prevent a UTI, and not all are tested for safety, so its best to discuss any herbal treatments with a healthcare professional first.
There are some herbal supplements that may have anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties that can be helpful in treating UTI symptoms.
Studies have shown that certain herbal supplements, like garlic extract, have strong anti-inflammatory properties and may help reduce the growth of bacteria, including E. coli.
Other natural supplements like D-mannose, a sugar naturally found in foods like cranberries and apples, may have antibacterial properties which can help relieve UTI discomfort. Both can be taken in the form of a capsule.
Cranberry extract or cranberry juice or a vitamin C supplement may also help a UTI go away faster by changing the pH balance of your urine to help keep bacteria from growing.
While not proven to treat a UTI, these may help you feel better faster.
Not Again When Utis Wont Quit At Midlife
- By Hope Ricciotti, MD, Editor in Chief, Harvard Women’s Health Watch
ARCHIVED CONTENT: As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date each article was posted or last reviewed. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.
This week, a patient came in reporting two awful urinary tract infections that she had this summer while traveling on vacation. She is in her 50s, postmenopausal, and fit and healthy. After having sex with her partner, she woke up with burning and pain with urination. She was treated for a urinary tract infection with antibiotics and felt better in a few days. She did fine for two weeks until they had sex again, when the same symptoms returned. Although antibiotics worked again, and quickly, at this point she felt consumed by the whole thing. She was unable to enjoy her vacation, and she was afraid to have sex. It took several weeks before she felt normal down there.
If this sounds familiar, then you may be suffering from recurrent urinary tract infection . Recurrent UTIs are defined as either three episodes of infection in the previous 12 months or two episodes in the previous 6 months.
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Effects On The Bladder And Vagina
As you grow older, you may notice some changes to your nether regions that adversely affect your intimate life. What might you expect as you approach menopause? How does the change in hormones at menopause affect your vagina, urinary tract, and sexual health, and what can you do to manage these unpleasant side effects?
The changes in our urinary tract and vagina, not to speak of generalized changes such as hot flashes, are not always a welcome introduction to the late summer and autumn of your life. Yet, for each of these symptoms, there are often several possible solutions which can reduce the impact they have.
Who Is At Risk
Women at greater risk of contracting a UTI:
- are sexually active
- have diabetes
- have urinary incontinence.
Frequent UTIs in women need further assessment. High fever and pain in the back can indicate a kidney infection and this needs urgent medical treatment.
A partner is not at risk of catching a UTI if you have sex. However, the symptoms may be uncomfortable and you may not feel like having sex.
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An Introduction To Bladder Infection And Menopause
Bladder infections, or cystitis, are bacterial infections which are unfortunately are all too common with the menopause. If the infection occurs elsewhere in the urinary tract, such as the urethra or kidneys, it is sometimes referred to as a Urinary Tract Infection .
The symptoms of a bladder infection or UTI can be unpleasant and uncomfortable, including cloudy and smelly urine, a burning or painful sensation when urinating, or a sensation of needing to urinate even when the bladder is empty. In some cases, you may also develop a slight temperature or fever. A bladder infection should be diagnosed by a doctor.
Urologic Dysfunction After Menopause Surgery
Urinary tract infections
Surgery is generally not required for urinary tract infections, unless an anatomic abnormality is discovered.
Bladder control problems
Surgery for bladder control problems can correct an anatomical problem or implant a device to alter bladder muscle function. Most people do not need surgery, but most who do undergo surgery become dry. Surgery does not work for everyone and carries the possibility of complications, so it is best advised by a urologic surgeon. Types of operations include the following:
- Altering the bladder neck to change how urine is released from the bladder
- Repairing or supporting severely weakened pelvic floor muscles
- Removing a blockage
- Implanting a “sling” around the urethra
- Implanting a device to stimulate nerves and increase awareness of the need to urinate
- Injecting collagen, a naturally occurring material, around the urethra adds bulk to the area and compresses the urethra, thus increasing the resistance to urine flow
- Enlarging the bladder
Surgery is often recommended when a prolapsed bladder cannot be managed with a pessary or other approaches. Procedures vary depending on the grade of prolapse. Generally, the prolapsed bladder is repaired through an incision into the vaginal wall. The prolapsed area is closed and the wall is strengthened. Depending on severity, the procedure can be performed with local, regional, or general anesthesia.
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Here Are 6 Best Home Remedies For Urinary Tract Infections :
1. Drinks lots of water
Drinking water is one of the most basic home remedies for UTI. Your bodys status of hydration is an important marker of your risk of urinary tract infections. Multiple studies have linked low fluid intake with increased risk of recurrent UTIs. One of the best ways to get rid of this disorder is to flush out the bacteria from the body and drinking lots of water is primary to that goal. When you drink more water, you urinate more often and that in turn reduces your risk of developing UTIs.
2. Eat more citrus fruits
Citrus fruits are considered to be a part of the extra-health benefits group of fruits. This is due to the high vitamin C content of these fruits. Vitamin C boosts overall immunity of the body and that protects you from urinary tract infections. Vitamin C increases the acid levels in your urine thereby killing harmful bacteria. Regular consumption of citrus fruits is strongly linked to a lower risk of UTIs.
3. Include more probiotics in your diet
4. Apple cider vinegar
One of the best home remedies for UTIs is apple cider vinegar. Apple cider vinegar is enriched with antibacterial properties. Drinking it with some luke warm water on an empty stomach every morning can be quite helpful in killing UTI-related bacteria. It kills the bacteria in your urinary system to free you from the bacteria the healthy way.
5. Ginger tea