Have you experienced the discomfort of a urinary tract infection (UTI)? If so, you’re not alone. About 50 to 60 percent of adult women report having at least one UTI.
Almost 10 percent of postmenopausal women say they’ve had one in the last year. It’s important to get effective UTI management to prevent more serious problems. Keep reading this guide to learn more about treatment in Tempe, AZ.
What Is a Urinary Tract Infection?
A UTI describes an infection occurring in the urethra, bladder, or ureters. The kidneys may also become infected which can have serious consequences.
The ureters carry urine from the kidneys to the bladder. The urethra takes the urine from the bladder to outside the body. Bacteria is the most common cause of UTIs.
Pathogens such as E. coli, carried in bowel movements, can travel from the rectum to the urethra. Bladder infections, called cystitis, are the most come type of UTI.
Individuals with a urinary tract infection often have a sudden onset of symptoms. These include strong urges to urinate and more frequent, small volume urination. Many times, they feel as if they still “need to go” but can’t.
Other symptoms include burning or pain when passing urine. Increased need to urinate at night and low, mid abdominal or back pain may also occur.
Risk Factors for UTIs
While women have a higher incidence of UTIs, men also experience this illness. The urethra in women is shorter and closer to the rectum than in men. This means it’s easier for bacteria to get to the urinary tract in women.
The following describes other risk factors that put women at increased risk:
- Having your first UTI at an early age
- Taking antibiotics
- Family history of UTIs among first-degree females
- Personal history of repeated UTIs
- Having sexual intercourse
- Use of a diaphragm or spermicide
- Having a new sex partner during the past year
- Being post-menopausal
Male UTI risk factors include the following:
- Obstructive benign prostatic hyperplasia often occurs in men over age 50
- Prostate cancer or other blockages of the urethra
- Abnormalities of the urinary tract system including bladder diverticula
There are also several factors that contribute to UTI problems in both genders. Examples include:
- Bowel incontinence
- Having a recent procedure involving the insertion of an instrument or catheter
- Neurologic disorders such as spinal cord injuries that impact normal urination
- Poor hygiene including not bathing and wearing dirty underwear
Individuals with these risk factors should take more precautions and report symptoms early. Getting treatment quickly can reduce the chances of complications.
There are several steps involved in the treatment of UTIs. The healthcare provider will begin by completing a history and physical. This helps define risk factors or causes as well as create the best treatment plan.
For some individuals, the best management starts with practicing healthy prevention. Drinking lots of fluids, especially water, helps dilute the urine. This makes it harder for bacteria to stay in the system and create an infection.
Many people drink cranberry juice to prevent or stop the first UTI symptoms. There aren’t conclusive scientific studies to support this, but it’s not harmful. If you choose this option, see a healthcare provider if your symptoms aren’t going away.
To avoid exposing the urethra to bowel movements, always wipe from front to back. This reduces the chance of getting E. coli in the urinary tract.
Sexual intercourse exposes the urethra in women to possible pathogens. To reduce this risk, empty your bladder after intercourse. Also, drink plenty of water to flush out bacteria.
If you have frequent UTIs associated with intercourse, consider changing birth control. Diaphragms and spermicide-treated or unlubricated condoms can promote bacterial growth.
Some feminine hygiene products may irritate the genital area or urethra. Examples include powders, deodorant sprays, or douches.
The Relationship Between UTI and Gut Health
Today, there’s an increased emphasis on the importance of a healthy gut (good bacteria). As we age, our tissue becomes thinner making it easier for bacteria to get in and cause infection. There are several ways to help counteract this natural risk factor.
Drinking plenty of water not only dilutes the urine but also reduces its acidity. Your healthcare provider may recommend L-glutamine. This probiotic helps improve the bacterial flora in the vagina and gastrointestinal tract.
Another option is D-Mannose which prevents E. coli from attaching to the bladder walls. This is a type of sugar related to glucose. If the bacteria can’t take hold, it can’t cause an infection.
How Hormones and Urinary Tract Infections Are Connected
Genitourinary syndrome of menopause (GSM) often appears about 10 years after menopause starts. The vagina and lower urinary tract have many estrogen hormone receptors. Estrogen keeps these tissues moist, thick, and intact.
Natural menopause, hysterectomies, and contraceptive use can suppress estrogen. Estrogen receptor-modulating medications, such as tamoxifen, also lower estrogen levels. Reduced hormone levels can cause painful intercourse, vaginal dryness, and repeated UTIs.
This relationship between UTIs and hormones is often the key focus of treatment. The 2019 American Urological Association supported to use of estrogen to treat UTIs.
This is recommended for both peri- and post-menopausal women experiencing recurring problems. These guidelines focused on the use of vaginal therapy for better urinary results.
Herbs, nutrition, and bioidentical hormones describe natural therapies that work with your body. Your cells recognize and use bioidentical hormones like your body’s own hormones.
They don’t carry the risks associated with synthetic hormones. You can get customized hormone prescriptions in pill, cream, pellet, or gel forms.
Would You Like to Find a Naturopathic Clinic in Tempe, AZ?
Finding the best UTI management can greatly improve your quality of life. Desert Wellness Center offers a variety of naturopathic, Integrative, and aesthetic medical care.
We offer weight loss, allergy treatment and testing, and nutritional IV therapy. Our team also prescribes bioidentical hormone therapy and helps couples with fertility optimization.
Contact our staff today to ask questions and make an appointment.