Eight Common Causes of Urinary Tract Infections in Women
Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are very uncomfortable, and if left untreated they can lead to serious illness. Once you have had one UTI, it seems that you will be prone for more. There are many possible causes for urinary tract infections; the most common cause for UTI is from E. coli bacteria and yeast which is spread from the rectal and vaginal to the urinary meatus. UTIs are most common among females, because women have a short meatus that is in close proximity to vagina and rectum. Other triggers for UTI are diet, dehydration, having diabetes, overuse of antibiotics, sexual activity, contraceptives and allergies.
Common cause of urinary tract infections in women number 1 – E. coli and yeast infections
E. coli and yeast infections are common causes of urinary tract infections. These organisms are spread to the bladder when they travel from the rectum and vaginal area to the urinary meatus in women. Once the bacteria or fungi have reached the opening of the meatus, they have a clear shot into the urethra and can enter the bladder.
Always clean your private area from front to back after using the bathroom. The act of wiping from back to front is what spreads the organisms toward the urinary tract.
When bathing, use the same technique as mentioned above. When washing, clean your private are from front to back, never wash from back to front. Always move the cloth from the cleanest to the dirtiest and never the other way around. Pathogenic organisms can easily be moved mechanically to the urinary tract by using the wrong cleansing technique.
Common cause of urinary tract infections in women number 2 – Dietary additives
What we eat and drink can trigger urinary tract infections. The chemicals put in foods for preservatives and the chemicals in soft drinks can make it easier for the organisms to colonize on the wall of the urinary bladder. Additives in foods, such as high fructose, caffeine, alcohol can increase the likelihood to developing UTIs. Foods high in sugar content can promote the growth of bacteria and yeast.
To prevent urinary tract infections, you can alter the internal environment of your body by drinking more acidic beverages such as cranberry juice and lemon juice. Avoid foods high in sugar content. Also avoid foods and beverages which contain alcohol and caffeine. Avoid dark sodas and diet sodas. The phosphoric acid in the dark sodas can increase the risk of developing a urinary tract infection.
It is important to avoid foods and beverages which will irritate the urinary tract and embrace foods that contain antioxidants to prevent infections from occurring in the first place. Fruits, especially berries, are high in disease fighting antioxidants.
Common cause of urinary tract infections in women number 3 – Dehydration
Dehydration can trigger a UTI; inadequate hydration can put stress on the kidneys, heart and immune system. When the immune system is compromised, bacteria can multiply much easier in the urinary tract.
It is important to keep the urinary tract flushed out. Drinking enough water will give the body’s cells sufficient hydration to remain healthy. Staying hydrated will flush out the bacteria which enter into the urinary tract.
Common cause of urinary tract infections number 4 – Diabetes
Diabetes puts stress on the entire body. A common characteristic of diabetes is that the blood contains elevated levels of glucose. People, especially women, who have elevated glucose levels, are prone to yeast infections. Yeast infections can trigger a urinary tract infection.
A good way for diabetics to prevent UTIs is to try to keep their blood glucose levels under control. It is important to avoid foods and beverages which will increase the blood sugar level. It is also important to stay well hydrated to flush out bacteria.
Common cause of urinary tract infections number 5 – Overuse or misuse of antibiotics
In the past, doctors would order us antibiotics every time we had a cold or sniffle or any type of infection. Unfortunately, antibiotics aren’t always the best choice. The overuse of antibiotics has created super-germs over the recent decades. The bacteria become resistant to many of the antibiotics we take to kill an infection. Oftentimes, misuse of antibiotics can also trigger a urinary tract infection.
When antibiotics are prescribed, it is important to take them until the prescription is gone. Oftentimes, the infection “appears” to be gone when we feel better and stop taking the antibiotic. When the medication gradually leaves the body, the stunned bacteria become active again and adapt to their environment and form a resistance to the medication.
Common cause of urinary tract infections number 6 – Sexual activity
For younger women, most urinary tract infections occur within 24 hours of having sexual contact. Sexual position may be a factor in a woman developing a urinary tract infection, such as when the woman assumes the top position during intercourse. A fairly common diagnosis among younger women is “honeymoon cystitis.”
To prevent urinary tract infections during times of sexual activity, it is important to bathe your genital area before and after sexual contact. It is also important to avoid sexual positions which cause more friction. Friction during sexual activity can cause enough irritation to promote cystitis which can result in a urinary tract infection.
Common cause of urinary tract infections number 7 – Contraceptives
Women who use a diaphragm as a contraceptive device are more likely to get a urinary tract infection than women who don’t. Certain types of condoms and spermicidal foams can also increase the likelihood of inducing UTIs in women.
Ask your doctor what you can do to prevent UTIs when using spermicidal preparations and diaphragms for contraceptive purposes. It could just be a matter of changing the type or size of the diaphragm or changing from one spermicidal agent to another. Always wash your hands before handling the diaphragm while inserting it and taking it out.
Common cause of urinary tract infections number 8 – Allergies
Sometimes urinary tract infections are initially caused by allergic reactions to the products that women use in their private area. Soaps, deodorants, powders and other products can cause allergies and inflammation to the tissues around the urinary meatus. Some of these products may promote the growth of microorganisms in the woman’s private area.
If you are prone to UTIs, you might need to avoid using powders, deodorants and perfumed soaps on the peri-area. If you have questions about possible allergic reactions to products used on your private area, talk to your doctor.
If you have symptoms of a urinary tract infection, such as pain or burning during urination, frequent urge to urinate, or if your urine smells strong, you should drink more water and avoid foods and products which can cause irritation to the urinary tract. If you have a fever, your body is trying to fight an infection. If your symptoms don’t go away in a couple of days, it may be necessary to see your doctor for a diagnostic evaluation and treatment.