Urinary Tract Infections – 6 Ways to Prevent Them During Menopause
Urinary tract infections are one of the most common bacterial infections in women. This female tract is more susceptible to infections during menopause due to a reduction in hormonal support from the body. This system is meant to remove the body\’s fluid wastes and is more vulnerable to multiplication of bacteria which can lead to a nasty infection. Though not typically serious, they can be very painful and most often the symptoms disappear quickly after treatment with antibiotics.
Most women experience this kind of infection at least once in their lifetimes, often caused by sexual intercourse. Unfortunately, some experience repeated occurrences.
Menopause and Urinary Infections – Their Causes
Factors leading to increased risks of infection in women are pregnancy, infections as a child, diabetes and menopause. The bacteria around the rectum or the vagina, can enter the urinary tract and cause irritation. The female anatomy is prone to this kind of problem as her tract is a sterile system and the very act of for example, sexual intercourse, can move bacteria into the urethra.
A weak bladder can also be the cause of urinary infections. The bladder stretches to hold urine and relaxes when it is emptied of urine. When, at times, you wait too long to empty your bladder, it can become overstretched and the bladder muscle becomes weakened. In this state, it does not completely empty the bladder and retains some urine which increases the risk of infection.
When you have an infection, there is a strong and often uncontrollable urge to urinate. The act of urination is followed by sharp pain and a burning sensation in the urethra. Some times, even when the urge is great, very little urine is released. This frequent urge to urinate is one of the symptoms of this kind of infection. It is advisable to have proper diagnosis done by your primary care physician, since during menopause similar symptoms could cause vaginal or vulva-related infections.
Ways to Prevent Urinary Infections during Menopause
Typical treatment is a course of antibiotics which need to be taken as prescribed by a doctor and continued until the full treatment is complete.
There are certain ways that you can prevent urinary infections from occurring:
- First and foremost is to practice good personal hygiene.
- After bowel movement and urination, wash the area around the rectum and the vagina thoroughly and ensure it is dried properly. Always wipe front to back.
- Washing before and after sexual intercourse is a good means of prevention. Some doctors recommend urinating before and after a sexual intercourse to flush out bacteria.
- Drink plenty of water to ensure flushing out of bacteria from the urinary tract. Do not accumulate urine in the bladder and empty it out at the earliest to reduce the risk of infections.
- Cotton panties, or panties with a cotton crotch, are recommended as cotton allows moisture to evaporate. Moist environments are a breeding ground for bacteria.
- Sexually active women can change sexual positions to cause less friction on the urethra. Women who tend to have frequent urinary infections are advised to take antibiotics after sexual intercourse.
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