Hello, better bladder health!
Chances are most women will experience a urinary tract infection (UTI) at some point in life, or have symptoms they think are a UTI. Either way, the discomfort can be miserable and impacts quality of life. A UTI is a bacterial infection anywhere in the urinary tract, from the bladder to the urethra.
“UTIs can happen at any age to any woman, but it’s important to know if it truly is an infection before being treated,” said Sarah M. Kane, M.D., urogynecologist. “If a woman is having symptoms, she should be tested for a UTI before starting antibiotics, because other conditions have similar symptoms.”
See a doctor if you have:
• A burning feeling when you urinate
• A frequent or intense urge to urinate, even though little comes out when you do
• An abrupt change in your usual routine or pattern of going
• Pain or pressure in your back or lower abdomen
• Cloudy, dark, bloody or strange-smelling urine
• Any sensation that doesn’t seem normal when you go
As women age and stop producing estrogen, bladder function begins to decline. Overactive bladder and stress or urge incontinence are common among post-menopausal women, who may try to manage symptoms by limiting water intake or “holding it” as long as possible. However, these can cause more frequent UTIs.
“Any concern over how your bladder is working should be discussed with a physician,” Dr. Kane said. “Urogynecologists specifically address these types of issues and have treatments and therapies for overactive bladder and urine leakage.”
How to prevent UTIs
• Urinate promptly when the urge arises.
• Always wipe from front to back.
• Empty the bladder shortly before and after intercourse.
• Avoid using feminine hygiene products.
• Take showers instead of baths.
• Wear underwear with a cotton crotch and avoid wearing tight-fitting pants, which can trap moisture.