For Your Health
News About Urinary Infections
Best bets to avoid and treat UTIs
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists estimate that more than one in 10 women in the U.S. is diagnosed with a urinary infection at least once a year. Adding insult to indignity, a new study at the University of Florida in Gainesville and presented at the American Urological Association annual meeting in April investigated a variety of risk factors. Investigators examined 180 women who came to the Florida Student Health Care Service with their first UTI, plus 80 without UTIs. They discovered that increased sexual activity and alcohol intake are both contributing factor for UTIs (alcohol may contribute only in the sense that more sex happens in its presence). There goes Saturday night! On the other hand, the use of tampons doesn’t factor into UTIs, though the use of sanitary napkins does.
If you’re among the millions of women who suffers UTIs, you probably know the drill: take antibiotics and the symptoms should clear up in a matter of days. Commonly prescribed drugs include amoxicillin, Cipro, Levaquin and Bactrim. It’s important to take action because untreated, UTIs can progress to kidney infections or even sepsis. But you don’t want to reach for the pill bottle every time you feel a twinge. You need to make sure an infection is present. Home testing kits are available, so if you’re a multiple offender, you can check the situation out for yourself before calling the doc. A recent article in the Wall Street Journal details what to look for in a test kit: you want one with separate tests for nitrate, which signals a bacterial infection, and white blood cells, which signal infection. Tests that do both are the most accurate. It’s best to use the test first thing in the morning, and note that you may get a false positive during your period.
Lifestyle techniques for treating UTIs include drinking lots of water to flush bacteria out of your system, and avoiding caffeine, alcohol, and citrus soft drinks, which can increase the need to pee. A heating pad placed on your stomach can be soothing. Drinking water also works as a preventative, and cranberry juice seems to have have some protective benefit. The Mayo Clinic advises avoiding genital deodorant sprays, as well as douches and powders because they can irritate the urethra.