Tuesday, October 4, 2022

Too Many Urinary Tract Infections

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You Wipe From Back To Front

How many urinary tract infections are too many?

Wiping from back to front can transport E. coli, the bacteria thats behind most UTIs, from the rectal region to the urethra. Moral of the story: Always wipe from front to back. Al-Badr A, et al. . Recurrent urinary tract infections management in women: A review.

I Refused To Accept Utis As My Future

Its not in my nature to learn to deal with something that I know shouldnt be. There is no way my body is built to crumble at the first hint of sex, or fatigue, or dehydration. Ive always been stronger than that.

Im pretty good at knowing exactly what is happening in my body and when. Ive accurately diagnosed myself with injuries that have taken years to show up in scans. Im my very own body whisperer.

So when this happened, it was a virtual kick in the guts, or more specifically, the bladder.

Getting a UTI every few weeks or months doesnt give you much breathing room to feel human. To get things done.

There is a constant shadow hanging over you. Restaurant and bar reconnaissance isnt about people anymore. Its about toilets. You learn to scope out any venue for its bathrooms. At any given moment, I could tell you where the nearest public toilet was.

I never went anywhere without a remedy in my bag. For me, that meant carrying antibiotics 24 hours a day.

Holiday planning came with underlying anxiety, and relationships dont even get me started on how recurrent urinary tract infections impact those.

Too late Im on a roll.

When Urinary Tract Infections Keep Coming Back

Image: Thinkstock

If you are prone to recurrent UTIs, you can head them off before they take hold.

Unless you’re in the fortunate minority of women who have never had a urinary tract infection , you know the symptoms well. You might feel a frequent urgency to urinate yet pass little urine when you go. Your urine might be cloudy, blood-tinged, and strong-smelling. For 25% to 30% of women who’ve had a urinary tract infection, the infection returns within six months.

If you have repeated UTIs, you’ve experienced the toll they take on your life. However, you may take some comfort in knowing that they aren’t likely to be the result of anything you’ve done. “Recurrent UTIs aren’t due to poor hygiene or something else that women have brought on themselves. Some women are just prone to UTIs,” says infectious diseases specialist Dr. Kalpana Gupta, a lecturer in medicine at Harvard Medical School.

Don’t Miss: Probiotics For Urinary Tract Health

Why Tracking Your Symptoms Can Help

Now, I dont know about you, but I love a good spreadsheet. And its amazing how much more fulfilling a health regimen can be when you plot it out, then mark off your progress daily. Feels so goooood.

I downloaded a counter on my phone to track how many days since my last UTI at the very least I would see how long I could last between episodes.

Every morning I woke up and looked at my counter. After 30 days I started to feel my first glimmer of hope. I was still getting twinges and minor symptoms, but nothing I couldnt handle.

My first milestone came around that time, when I went hiking with my partner. Without a map, without a compass, and without enough water. We got lost. We were out there for 10 hours and I was dehydrated.

But I didnt get a UTI. And I didnt even think about it until I was home safe again. That alone blew my mind. This thing that had been my focus for four years had somehow become an afterthought.

The counter kept going up. 45 days, 60 days, 90 days since a UTI. I suddenly felt like declaring myself officially healed of recurrent UTIs at the six month point might not be so far-fetched.

Sometime, around three months in, I had a relapse of symptoms and upped some elements of my regimen in response. That UTI never happened and my count remained intact.

Six months came and went and I set my sights on a year UTI free.

Amazingly, my UTI regimen also cleared up my yeast infections. Four years later, Ive not had even the slightest hint of one returning.

Definition And Characteristics Of Probiotics

Urinary Tract Infections and 5 ways to prevent them

The term probiotic consists of the words pro in Latin and bios in Greek meaning life. The concept of probiotics was first introduced by Elie Metchnikoff, the Russian Nobel Prize winner in 1907. Metchnikoff notes that the microbes in the digestive system can provide positive contributions, especially in the digestive system diseases. The World Health Organization has defined probiotics as useful living microorganisms that have a positive effect on the health and physiology of a person when taken in sufficient quantities. The properties that a good probiotic should have are indicated in .

Read Also: What Kind Of Doctor Should I See For Urinary Problems

Holding In Your Urine

If you have to go, go! Holding our urine for 6 hours or more may make UTIs more common, as bacteria that does get into the bladder has lots of time to overgrow between voids, Dr. Hawes says. While traveling, for example, it may seem like a good idea to hold tight and keep driving until the next rest area, but do yourself a favor and stopthe extra miles arent worth the risk of a UTI.

What Causes Recurrent Utis

Bacteria can enter the urinary tract from the outside to cause a UTI to come back, or a recurrent infection can be caused by bacteria that remain in the urinary tract after a previous infection. Symptoms of recurrent UTI in men and women include the frequent urge to urinate, burning pain or pressure, cloudy or discolored urine, bloody urine, and chills and fever. Children with UTIs are more likely to have fever without the other symptoms. Common conditions that can lead to recurrent UTIs include:

  • Being in a nursing home or hospital
  • Diabetes
  • Having an infected or enlarged prostate
  • Being born with an abnormality of the urinary tract

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What Is Urinary Tract Infection

UTI is a fungal or bacterial infection in any of the 4 parts of the urinary tract. The urinary tract includes the urethra, the bladder, the ureters, and the kidneys. The urethra and bladder are called the lower urinary tract, and the ureters and kidneys comprise the upper urinary tract. An infection will most commonly begin in the urethra and move up through the rest of the urinary tract. The majority of UTI cases are diagnosed and treated while still in the lower tract. When fungi or bacteria enter the urethra, the bodys own immune system will fight against them, and will usually kill them before an infection takes hold. If, for some reason, the body is not able to fight them off on its own, a UTI results.

Generally, a person who gets UTI will have one or more of the following risk factors:

  • Bowel incontinence

  • Weakened immune system

  • Catheter use

  • A recent medical procedure involving the urinary tract

  • History of UTI

  • Dementia

  • Causes Of Urinary Tract Infections

    Urinary Tract Infections with Dr. Wendy McDonald

    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
    • do not use scented soap

    • do not hold your pee in if you feel the urge to go

    • do not rush when going for a pee try to fully empty your bladder

    • do not wear tight, synthetic underwear, such as nylon

    • do not drink lots of alcoholic drinks, as they may irritate your bladder

    • do not have lots of sugary food or drinks, as they may encourage bacteria to grow

    • do not use condoms or diaphragms with spermicidal lube on them try non-spermicidal lube or a different type of contraception

    Recommended Reading: How To Cure Urinary Retention

    How Can Parents Help

    At home, these things can help prevent recurrent UTIs in kids:

    Drinking Fluids Encourage kids to drink 810 glasses of water and other fluids each day. Cranberry juice and cranberry extract are often suggested because they may prevent E. coli from attaching to the walls of the bladder. Always ask your doctor, though, if your child should drink cranberry juice or cranberry extract, because they can affect some medicines.

    Good Bathroom Habits Peeing often and preventing constipation can help to prevent recurrent infections.

    No Bubble Baths Kids should avoid bubble baths and perfumed soaps because they can irritate the urethra.

    Frequent Diaper Changes Kids in diapers should be changed often. If poop stays in the genital area for a long time, it can lead to bacteria moving up the urethra and into the bladder.

    Proper Wiping Girls should wipe from front to back after using the toilet to reduce exposure of the urethra to UTI-causing bacteria in poop.

    Cotton Underwear Breathable cotton underwear is less likely to encourage bacterial growth near the urethra than nylon or other fabrics.

    Regular Bathroom Visits Some kids may not like to use the school bathroom or may become so engrossed in a project that they delay peeing. Kids with UTIs should pee at least every 3 to 4 hours to help flush bacteria from the urinary tract.

    Symptoms Of Urinary Tract Infections

    How do you know if you have a UTI? Well, sometimes there are actually no symptoms at all and other times you will experience some pretty noticeable signs.

    The most common symptoms associated with UTIs are:

    • Strong, persistent need to urinate
    • Burning sensation when urinating
    • Urine with a strong odor
    • Urinating small amounts frequently
    • Pain in the pelvic area, particularly for women

    If the infection has made it to your kidneys, you might have one or more of these symptoms:

    • Fever
    • Vomiting
    • Pain located below the ribs in your back or side

    If you think you have a UTI, especially if you think that its become a kidney infection, its important to see your doctor. They can rule out the cause and prescribe you antibacterial or antibiotic drugs to kill off the bacteria.

    Read Also: How To Stop Urinary Incontinence

    What About Sugar And Dairy

    According to the American Urological Association, to maintain a healthy bladder, it may also be beneficial to cut back on your intake of added sugars and refined carbohydrates like:

    • White bread.
    • Cookies.
    • Candy.

    The risk of consuming too much sugar is greater for certain people. In particular, “Sugar can increase the risk of UTIs mostly in patients who and are prone to elevated urine and blood sugar levels,” Bellin says.

    The reason? When there is a high level of sugar in urine, UTI-causing bacteria can grow more easily, per the National Kidney Foundation. “Bacteria need nutrients to survive, and sugar can be used as a nutritional source,” Bellin says. In other words, don’t give the bacteria something to munch on.

    Besides the potential for excess sugar to contribute to UTIs in people with diabetes, no one food or type of food will directly cause a UTI, including dairy products like milk or cheese. However, Bellin notes that people who are lactose intolerant and still consume dairy despite the havoc it wreaks on their digestive system may be slightly more at risk for developing a UTI.

    “If someone is lactose intolerant, dairy can cause more diarrhea and GI issues, which in turn will increase chances that GI flora can get into the urinary tract and cause an infection,” Bellin says.

    Risk Factors For Developing Utis

    Look At The Signs Of An Urinary Tract Infection And See When Itâs Time ...

    Some people are at greater risk than others of developing UTIs. These include:

    • women sexually active women are vulnerable, in part because the urethra is only four centimetres long and bacteria have only this short distance to travel from the outside to the inside of the bladder
    • people with urinary catheters such as people who are critically ill, who cant empty their own bladder
    • people with diabetes changes to the immune system make a person with diabetes more vulnerable to infection
    • men with prostate problems such as an enlarged prostate gland that can cause the bladder to only partially empty
    • babies especially those born with physical problems of the urinary system.

    Read Also: How To Know If Urinary Tract Infection

    Can Recurrent Utis Be A Sign Of Cancer

    Both UTIs and bladder cancer can cause similar symptoms, such as a frequent need to urinate and even blood in the urine, according to the University of Rochester Medical Center.

    According to the American Cancer Society, urinary tract infections, kidney and bladder stones, and other causes of chronic bladder irritation have been linked to bladder cancer. However, its not clear whether recurrent urinary or bladder infections can actually cause bladder cancer or whether they constitute a true risk factor for bladder cancer.

    The biggest known risk factor for bladder cancer is smoking. The risk of bladder cancer also increases with age. Most people who get bladder cancer are over the age of 55.

    If you think you may have chronic or recurrent UTIs, its best to get checked out by your doctor. Your provider can rule out other health issues, including bladder cancer, and get you the treatment you need to get rid of chronic UTIs.

    How My Recurrent Urinary Tract Infections Began

    I was going through a stressful relationship breakup, and selling my business, and was completely run down.

    I was still exercising daily, and had a fairly healthy vegetarian diet, but stress took its toll.

    The UTI hit me fast. The pain was just as intense as I remembered, but I didnt panic quite as much as the first time. I knew Id get antibiotics when I showed up at the emergency room.

    Plus, I didnt have time to think about it. Life was way too hectic for me to put extra energy towards my health.

    Just as with my first UTI, the antibiotics worked and I dismissed it. But the symptoms crept back. A month later I was at a friends farm when it got so bad I had to make a run for the hospital.

    Driving more than an hour was too much for me and I ended up squatting on the side of a dangerous road in the dark more than once.

    Recurrent urinary tract infections had officially become a part of my life, though I had no idea of this at time.

    The thing is, when it first hits you, its out of the blue, and you never imagine this is going to be your life now. You take antibiotics, it goes away, youre generally healthy, so chances are it was just an anomaly.

    Read Also: Urinary Tract Infection Antibiotics Walmart

    Recurrent Urinary Tract Infections Are More Common Than You Think

    Even after I broke the cycle of recurrent urinary tract infections, I never stopped researching.

    Id been full circle through wondering what was wrong with me, to wondering what was wrong with doctors, to being furious at yet another female health issue overlooked by the healthcare industry, to wanting to do something about it.

    And here we are. We created this website so you wouldnt have to look so far and wide for helpful information.

    Weve done our best to break recurrent UTI into the pieces of the puzzle you need to understand in order to get well:

    Pearls And Other Issues

    Urinary Tract Infection | How To Prevent UTI (2018)

    Although there is no proof of prevention, women should urinate after sexual intercourse because bacteria in the bladder can increase by ten-fold after intercourse. After urination, women should wipe from front to back, not from the anal area forward, which seems to drag pathogenic organisms nearer to the urethra. Vigorous urine flow is helpful to prevention. Baths should be avoided in favor of showers. A gentle, liquid soap should be used in bathing or a liquid baby soap such as Johnson’s baby shampoo which is very acceptable for the vagina. The soap should be applied using a clean, soft cotton or microfiber washcloth and the vaginal area should be cleaned first to avoid unnecessary contamination of the area with germs.

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    Is It My Fault That I Keep Getting Utis

    Even the second or third time you get a UTI it can seem like a bit of a coincidence. The words recurrent urinary tract infections dont really register at this stage. You figure you just havent been sleeping enough.

    Or maybe youve been fighting a virus and your immune system is just having a rough time.

    Denial is probably the most accurate word for this phase. I was just so certain the antibiotics would work every time. Even though they didnt.

    Selling my business and packing up my life for a move overseas was my priority, and the frequent trips to the doctor for antibiotics were more of a nuisance than cause for concern.

    I thought I was being responsible when I asked my doctor for antibiotics to take abroad with me in case I got another UTI. That optimism is almost laughable now.

    How Standard Uti Testing Failed Me

    I started researching and bringing information to my doctor about other organisms I wanted to test my urine for. He was happy to comply. He didnt know what else to do to help me. Significantly though, he did believe that I had an infection.

    Still the results were unhelpful. Specific organisms were not found. But other signs of infection were.

    I was completely uninformed about testing, and why it wasnt helping me figure this out.

    Recurrent Urinary Tract Infections Hindsight Tip #2:

    Ive since learned that standard UTI testing is very inaccurate. Many studies have proven that standard urine culturing techniques fail to identify infection in at least 50% of cases.

    If you have received inconclusive or negative test results despite your symptoms, or if your treatment does not seem to work as it should, inaccurate testing could be the issue.

    I encourage you to learn more about this issue, so you can take control of the situation and seek better care.

    There are 7 main reasons your UTI test results could be wrong, and Ive laid all these out for you , along with what you can do about it.

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