These seemingly harmless habits could be the reason why your UTI keeps coming back.
Having a urinary tract infection, or UTI, is not just uncomfortable but also painful. It is often referred to in the Philippines in local lingo as balisawsaw. What starts out as a seemingly simple bacterial infection could lead to lifethreatening conditions, such as septic shock.
Most of the UTIs affect the lower urinary tract or the bladder and is called acute uncomplicated cystitis. If you are frequently urinating or if you are experiencing pain or dysuria, you may have acute uncomplicated cystitis UTI.
Although acute uncomplicated cystitis may not be thought of as a serious condition, the quality of life of those who have this, is often significantly affected. The person will experience at the most six days of discomfort.
In one study of women with with acute uncomplicated cystitis, nearly one-half of participants reported that their symptoms caused them to miss work or school. Additionally, up to one-half of those with acute uncomplicated cystitis also reported avoiding sexual activity for an average of one week.
How Does the Infection Start?
UTI in men is, of course, also highly possible, although it’s harder for them to get UTIs. The culprit lies in women’s anatomic structure. Compared with men, they have a shorter urethra —the organ which carries urine out the body—and this makes it easier for bacteria to reach the bladder.
The most common cause of UTI is Escherichia coli (E. coli), which is usually found in the gastrointestinal tract.
Unfortunately, the causes of UTI are highly varied and seemingly harmless. We may already be placing ourselves at risk and we don’t even know it! Keep this infection at bay by avoiding the following habits.
Eight Habits That Cause UTI
1. SITTING FOR LONG PERIODS OF TIME
We already know that people with a sedentary lifestyle—those who work in an office for 8 hours or more, for example—are more prone to obesity and heart diseases. New evidence from the American Journal of Kidney Diseases linked prolonged sitting to kidney problems, including UTIs. According to the study, those who sit less and exercise more has the lowest risk of developing urinary complications. However, the team’s leading researcher Dr. Thomas Yates, MD, explained that exercising to make up for lack of physical activity and prevent kidney problems is more effective in men than in women.
2. EXCESSIVE MUNCHING ON SWEETS
For many of us, a healthy dose of sweets is enough to get us through a stressful day. But if you can’t control your portions, you’re more likely to get a UTI later on. When sugar makes its way into the bloodstream, the urine becomes more conducive for the spread of E. coli. Plus, according to Dr. Deborah Gordon, MD, a surge in blood sugar level impairs the body’s ability to fight off infections. You don’t need to shun sugar completely, but make sure to indulge only sparingly.
3. WIPING THE WRONG WAY
As mentioned earlier, E. coli is one of the most common causes of UTI. They’re found in the gastrointestinal tract, and that includes the bowel. So if you wipe from back to front, you’re actually spreading this bacteria into the urethra. The right way to wipe is from front to back—always!
4. NOT PEEING ENOUGH, ESPECIALLY AFTER SEX
During sex, bacteria near the anus or vagina can get into the opening of the urethra in various ways. This is why it helps if you pee right after sex, and this is true both for men and women. Getting urine out of your system can eliminate the bacteria that cause UTI, and that’s why holding it in is also not advisable. When urine stays in the bladder for long periods, the bacteria in there do nothing but multiply.
5. LETTING YOURSELF GET DEHYDRATED
Water is the most common home remedies for UTI. If you drink enough water every day, you’re less likely to get this infection. It facilitates the production of urine, letting you flush out toxins and bacteria.
6. USING CERTAIN TYPES OF BIRTH CONTROL
Certain types of contraceptives can irritate the urinary tract. For women, using a diaphragm can tear the area near the bladder, and this makes them more susceptible to bacteria. Plus, the spermicidal gel, which is typically used along with the diaphragm, contains nonoxynol-9, chemical linked to the risk of UTI.
Who knew that pregnancy is one of the causes of urinary tract infection? Even though it does not expose women to UTI-causing bacteria, pregnancy increases the pressure in the bladder. Another factor is that pregnancy-induced hormonal changes can disturb the urinary tract. This makes it more likely for the infection to escalate into a fullblown kidney problem. Women should therefore take extra care of themselves by having regular medical-checkups with a trusted practitioner.
8. WEARING SEXY UNDERWEAR
Men and women who love sexy and tight underwear (or clothing, in general) are more likely to get a UTI because of increased friction. Also, make it a point to change your undies often to prevent the spread of bacteria.