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Everyone needs to know how to prevent urinary tract infections but women, especially those who are dealing with menopause, are at greatest risk. My first experience with a urinary tract infection was incredibly unpleasant. Of course, they are never a barrel of laughs, right? I had no idea what was wrong with me and didn’t seek medical help early enough and it turned bad really fast. After all the bleeding and crying and incredible pain, I have learned that urinary tract infections are not something to be ignored! I have also learned how to prevent urinary tract infections so I don’t ever have to go through that again. Now that I am almost at the age to worry about menopause, urinary tract infections may become more common. Did you know that there was a link to UTIs and menopause?
Menopause and UTIs
Not only do menopausal women have to deal with hot flashes and low metabolism but we get the joy of increased UTIs as well. Oh FUN!
Women entering menopause are more susceptible to UTIs because the decrease in estrogen production leads to changes in the urinary tract that make it more vulnerable to infection.
Another risk factor for menopausal women is that a drop in ‘good bacteria’ allows the ‘bad bacteria’ to grow more easily in the vagina and urinary tract. As a result, the incidence of UTIs may increase. Sex, an impaired immune system, and certain methods of birth control also play a part in the frequency of urinary tract infections.
How to Prevent Urinary Tract Infections
Now that we ‘premenopausal women’ realize that we are at risk, we need to know how to prevent urinary tract infections before they start. Here are a few tips:
- Drink plenty of water: You really need to drink MORE than you think you need to. This is probably one of the most important tips on how to prevent a urinary tract infections. Bacteria cannot take up residence if they are constantly being flushed out!
- Wipe from front to back. We teach our daughters this when we potty train and it is a good tip to keep in mind as we get older.
- Avoid scented products. We do not need our toilet paper to smell like flowers. Nor do we need to spray perfume scented sprays on that portion of our anatomy. Wash with plain water and skip the scented feminine hygiene products.
- Go pee after sex! I know…you don’t feel like getting out of bed when you are snuggling with your significant other. Too bad! Get up and go pee to flush out any bacteria that have gotten in the wrong place.
- Stick with cotton underwear. Yes, silk is sexier…it is also HOTTER and does not breath like cotton.
- Go frequently. Do not ‘hold it’ if you have to pee. Go frequently to avoid a UTI!
- Go commando at night: Let your girl parts breath at night and skip the underwear.
- Stock up on cranberry juice: Make sure you get 100% cranberry juice and not the sugar sweetened, diluted stuff. Cranberry juice acidifies the urine and makes the urinary tract less hospitable to bacteria.
- Take a probiotic: Probiotic supplements will help replenish the ‘good bacteria’ and in turn boost the immune system.
Symptoms of a Urinary Tract Infection
So, how do you know if you have a UTI? Here are a few tips, although you need to see your doctor to be sure!
- Pain and/or burning when you urinate
- Feeling like you have to pee frequently, even if you just went
- Passing only small amounts of urine
- Cloudy or pink/brown tinged urine
- Strong smelling urine
- Pain in the pelvic region or lower abdominal and/or back pain
- Fever or chills
What to do if you have a UTI?
Sometimes, no matter how much we try, we still end up with a urinary tract infection. If that happens, you really need to see a doctor quickly! Take it from me…who did NOT see a doctor quickly…they turn bad FAST! Do you have any tips on how to prevent urinary tract infections?
Diane is a professional blogger and nationally certified pharmacy technician at Good Pill Pharmacy. She earned her BS in Microbiology at the University of New Hampshire and has worked in cancer research, academics, and biotechnology. Concern over the growing incidence of human disease and the birth of her children led her to begin living a more natural life. She quickly realized that the information she was learning along the way could be beneficial to many others and started blogging and freelance writing to share this knowledge with others. Learn more about her HERE.