One of the most common infections that affects about 1 in 3 women worldwide at one point in their life, is a urinary tract infection. The seriousness of this infection should never be downplayed as it can turn into something quite worrisome for your health. If left untreated, a seemingly innocent case of urinary tract infection can turn into much more sinister health problems. These include spreading of the infection to your kidneys and causing either an acute or chronic kidney infection referred to as pyelonephritis, which may permanently damage them. It may cause premature births and babies with low-birth weight in pregnant mothers. And at times, a serious case of UTI may lead to sepsis, a life-threatening complication of an infection.
One should always be aware of what one's body is signaling, and there are certain symptoms of UTI which you should know so you can recognize the infection at an early stage. Urinary tract infection gives a person strong and frequent urges to urinate. The urine itself might be of an unusual color; cloudy or bloody, or may have a very pungent odor. You may experience a burning sensation when urinating and have abdominal pains. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is a good idea to get treated right away.
However, there are also certain recommended practices that you can adopt to lower your chances of a urinary tract infection in the first place:
1. Drink Lots of Water
Drinking 8 glasses of water a day is not only good for your skin, kidneys and overall health, but it is also a great way to lower your chances of a UTI. This helps you flush out the toxins from your body by urinating frequently. Thus, an infection will not be able to develop into a urinary tract infection since your body gets rid of toxins frequently throughout the day.
2. Always Wipe Front to Back
Urinary tract infection in women may be a result of wrong hygiene practices. After you have relieved yourself, always remember to wipe your privates from the front to back. If you do it from the back to the front, bacteria from your feces might reach your vagina and cause a UTI.
3. Always Urinate after Intercourse
After you have been intimate with your partner, make sure you urinate. This helps clear your body of any bacteria which may have entered. Drink a glass of water so you can totally flush out any remaining bacteria. This habit will significantly reduce your chances of contracting a urinary tract infection.
4. Do Not Use Unnecessary Feminine Hygiene Products
The vagina is a self-cleaning organ and doesn’t need to be cleaned with anything other than plain water. You do not need soap, douches or any special washes because they tend to disturb the vagina’s natural pH level. If that happens, you will feel irritation and this might be a sign of a urinary tract infection.
5. Alternate Birth Control Methods
Using diaphragms and non-lubricated or spermicide-treated condoms can result in bacteria flourishing in your vagina which can lead to a UTI. It is a clever idea for you to discuss other birth control options with your doctor.
Urinary tract infection in women is more common than you think. Thus, it is a good idea to adopt these preventive measures and lower your risk of contracting a UTI!