Research from the National Kidney Foundation shows that one in five women will have at least one Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) in her lifetime, and nearly 20 percent of women who have a UTI will have another, and 30 percent of those will have yet another. Women are more prone to UTIs than men, largely due to their anatomy. A shorter urethra makes it easier for bacteria to travel from your urine and enter into your bladder.
Though women are four times more likely than men to get UTI, summer brings an increased risk to both genders. Heat and humidity can increase the risk because the exposure to germs that lead to the condition is more prevalent.
Signs of a UTI
Though many UTIs are not serious medical concerns, if the condition is left untreated and the infection reaches the kidneys, serious illness, and even death, can occur. Signs to look out for may include:
- Pain or burning during urination
- Frequent urination
- Pain in your lower back
- Urine that is cloudy, bloody, or has a strong odor
- Fever or chills
- Nausea and/or vomiting
Extra Care During Summer
If you enjoy a dip in the pool, take precautions. Swimming pools can be a breeding ground for the infection-causing germs due to urine in the water, low levels of chlorine, and people not showering before entering the water. Germs often flourish in warm and moist places, so it’s advisable to change out of wet bathing suits and sweaty clothes as soon as possible to lower your risk.
Tips to Prevent a UTI This Summer
Do not hold in your urine or rush while urinating. Both could lead to increased exposure of harmful bacteria within your urine and prevent the full release of these bacteria, increasing your chance of an infection.
Wipe from front to back. By wiping from front to back after urinating, you are helping to prevent an accidental transfer of bacteria from the anal area to the urethra.
Avoid tight underwear and swimwear. These garments often lead to increased bacterial growth and can irritate the urinary tract. Frequently wash and change into clean, dry underwear and swimwear to further decrease your risk.
Urinate following intercourse. This enables your body to flush out harmful bacteria that may have entered the urinary tract as a result of intimacy.
Stay hydrated: Be sure to drink plenty of liquids, especially water. Water helps to dilute urine while also ensuring that you are urinating frequently enough. This allows for bacteria to be released from your urinary tract, helping to prevent an infection.
Urinary Tract Infections can be painful, frustrating, and uncomfortable. Use these tips to help lower your risk and prevent infection. If you are experiencing any symptoms of a UTI, contact us today to schedule an appointment.