I decided to tackle the tender subject of Urinary Tract Infections this week, since I am just getting over the second one I’ve had in the past six months. Prior to that, UTI’s were an extreme rarity in my life—and if you haven’t had one, knock on wood; they are miserable; totally and utterly miserable. When I got the second UTI a week ago, I began doing a little research since I had heard that post menopausal women seem to have a higher incidence in contracting UTI’s. I wanted to know why and what I could do to prevent it in the future, if possible.
Why am I getting post menopausal UTI’s?
UTI’s in pre-menopausal women are often caused from sexual interaction; bacteria from the vagina and rectum make their way into the urinary tract—however, in healthy post menopausal women, the reduction in estrogen, changes in vaginal PH, thinning vaginal tissue, pelvic organ prolapse and/or an inability to completely void the bladder can play a role.
I don’t mess around trying to treat myself at home like I did a time or two when I was younger. I have a test kit on hand. If I have symptoms, I take a test. If I test positive, I go immediately to the doctor for treatment. Bladder infections can make their way to the kidneys pretty quickly, and we don’t want that, now do we?
Treating and preventing UTI’s:
Typically, UTIs are treated with an anabiotic. However, we all know that taking anabiotic all the time can cause bacteria to become resistant to it, and again, we don’t want that, now do we? My goal is prevention going forward, and here’s what I’ve learned so far:
Studies also show that using probiotics along with the antibiotic helps speed the treatment of UTI’s; patients taking probiotics 3 times per day along with the antibiotic, followed by once per day there after had a much lower rate of reoccurrence than women not using probiotics.
Often, unsweetened cranberry juice or capsules are prescribed with favorable results, and now studies show that D-Mannose powder taken daily significantly decreased the reoccurrence of UTI’s in post menopausal women. Both cranberry and D-Mannose powder hinder the ability of bacteria to attach itself to the bladder and multiply. This must be accompanied by drinking lots of fluids to flush out the bacteria.
Vitamin C helps to elevate the acidity in urine, which makes it more difficult for the bacteria to grow and, of course drinking plenty of water even when we don’t have an infection helps flush bacteria and other toxins from the body.
Your doctor may prescribe estrogen cream to improve the balance of lactobacillus, improve vaginal dryness, and the thinning of the vaginal walls. Estrogen helps maintain the balance of “good” and “bad” bacteria in the vagina. And while this may not seem to have anything to do with the bladder, “bad” bacteria can make its way to the bladder from the vagina.
And of course we need to discuss hygiene:
Wear clean cotton underwear, (change undergarments daily).
Be sure to go to the bathroom at the first sign. Frequently holding a full bladder can cause bacteria to grow rapidly in the bladder.
Be sure to empty your bladder completely each time you use the restroom and wipe from front to back.
Empty your bladder after sex to flush out any bacteria.
Drink lots of water.
When I am finished taking the anabiotic, I plan to continue my probiotic and D-Mannose powder and will let you know how it goes for me. I’d love to hear if you have any additional tips or tricks to keep UTI’s at bay. We all learn when we share.