Urinary tract trouble

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Urinary tract infections are painful and inhibiting to our lifestyle.

If you’re a woman, chances are you’ve got it at least once in your life. If you’ve got it once and that’s it, you’re lucky, because some of us get recurrent infections throughout our lives. I’m talking about urinary tract infection, an affliction that is painful and can cause major disruption to our daily living if it’s not cured. Common symptoms include frequent urination – every few minutes, pain when urination, and in more serious cases, blood in your urine.

According to WebMD, urinary tract infections are basically bladder infections and usually happen when germs from the large intestine and stools get into the urethra tube, the conduit that transports urine from the bladder to outside the body. When the bacteria are not eradicated at this point, they can flow up the kidney causing a kidney infection; that is when you see blood in urine. And this is potentially damaging to the kidney when action is not taken to ease the infection.

Because women have shorter urethras than men, bacteria are allowed to travel much easily to the bladder, causing them to be more prone to urinary tract infections. This could be a likely reason for the frequency of infections seen in women than men. The symptoms of a urinary tract infection vary. Most people experience a burning sensation when urination and when they do urinate, only small amounts come out. The burning sensation will start mildly and progress to be excruciating when treatment is not given over a short time of few hours. Some others develop a fever and chill whereas other symptoms reported include nausea and vomiting.

When you feel the onslaught of a urinary tract infection, you should visit the doctor immediately. You’d usually be prescribed a dose of antibiotics and effervescent drink that curbs the burning sensation during urination. Sexually active women are more prone to getting a urinary tract infection than those who are not; perhaps due to the ease of bacteria getting into the bladder during intercourse. Also, pregnant women are also at risk; their growing uterus puts pressure on the bladder, resulting in their inability to completely empty their bladder from urine, which when stagnant over time may cause infections, according to medical reports. Regardless of any pre-existing condition you may have, when you’ve got it once, you wouldn’t want to get it again. We look at some daily living and dietary habits to keep this infection at bay.

Flush out bacteria with water

Make sure you drink enough water during the day to flush out the bacteria from the walls of your urethra. The more water you drink, the likelihood of the bacteria staying in your system is reduced. This would also mean that when you feel the need to go to the bathroom, do not wait. Waiting will cause the bacteria in your urine to accumulate, upping the chances of getting an infection. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you cannot hold up once in a while, but you know the time you should excuse yourself.

Always wipe backwards

After using the bathroom, always wipe backwards. This would reduce the chance of the bacteria getting into the urethra. Similarly, during shower, clean from front to back. And also, use the bathroom immediately after sexual intercourse to flush out the bacteria that are lining your urethra walls, and remember to wipe from front to back.

Up the cranberries

Cranberries are known among those afflicted with urinary tract infections to be particularly effective in keeping the infections at bay. WebMD reports say that there are substances within cranberries that can prevent bacteria from sticking to the urinary tract walls; thereby preventing the occurrence of a urinary tract infection. Although different ideas emerge as to how exactly these prove to be effective, cranberries have shown to be helpful in countering against future infections. Cranberry juice is better drank without the sweeten version; alternatively take cranberry supplements as part of your daily dietary regimen.

Get probiotics

Yogurt contains a variety of bacteria such as Lactobacillus acidophilus that helps to restore the good bacteria in our body’s digestive tract and vagina, according to WebMD. As such, eating yogurt can help to prevent yeast and bacterial infections such as those of urinary tract infections. However, try to consume yogurts that are original with low or no sugar to prevent high sugar content in your body especially if you’d be eating it every day. Or take a probiotic supplement to maintain your immune health.

Eat healthy

Ensure a balanced healthy diet comprising whole foods rather than refined ones. Antioxidant-rich foods like fruits and vegetables and high-fibre foods keep your immune system strong and prevent the incidence of infections. Take a multi-vitamin if you’re unable to get regular meals.

Wear breathable innerwear

Cotton is the best bet against exacerbating the infection because the material is highly porous, allowing air to circulate better. Spandex and polyester however are moisture-retaining and although they might give better shape, they are less porous and potential grounds for bacteria to grow. The type of underwear also plays a part; the idea is you must have room to move after wearing it (or feel comfortable at least). This means shapewear like girdles is out and so are tight thongs; these are not necessarily helpful to your condition particularly when you are having symptoms.

Away with harsh cleaners

Body cleansers or shower creams with antibacterial function may not be necessary when it comes to washing your intimate region. Our nether region is supposed to be self-cleaning so there is no need to douche it or to use purposeful cleansers like feminine soaps and wipes. Douching might change the ph balance, potentially causing a bacterial infection. Douche we can do without but wash we must despite the claims of our nether region’s wonderful self-cleaning feature. But gently. An alternative thus is to wash mildly with natural or organic products as they comprise no chemicals to cause any adverse effect in our system.

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