I hope you’ve found this link when you needed it the most. Vaginal health is one of the most ignored topics till this date. And while there’s more information online, and open discussions about it, problems like UTI or urinary tract infections can be painful. Today I’m going to be addressing some of the most common causes as well remedies of UTI as well as a few tips to help you avoid it altogether.
My personal experience with UTIs
I think the first time I heard about a UTI was from my ex-boyfriend. He was driving her sister to emergency care as she couldn’t sit still due to the pain and irritation in her lady parts. This was after spending the night with her boyfriend. (Skip to how sex is related to UTIs).
When I was younger and working long hours in India Today, there were many days when I was completely dehydrated. I also used to eat out a lot, a lot of times from unhygienic street spots that could contribute to E.coli, a bacteria usually found in the large intestine actually making its way into the urethra. It sounds gross, but it’s actually our anatomy.
The Time I Got UTI During My Period
I experienced the milder symptoms of UTI i.e. burning sensation and difficulty in peeing. A urine test later, my doctor was shocked at the number of pus cells and immediately put me on antibiotics for 3 days while telling me to sip on cranberry juice and hydrate myself as much as possible.
The Time I Couldn’t Stop Peeing
I’d gone out for dinner with my friends and came back home only to realize I was using the loo to pee every hour. The intervals got smaller to 30 minutes, 20 minutes and 10 minutes. I was in tears since I couldn’t understand what was happening and soon enough, my stomach hurt too. This led to an emergency visit to the chemist by my dad who woke up at 3 am and spoke to the doctor. It sounds like a serious urinary infection he’d said and given me a medicine to relax my muscles down there. This could actually be classified as the second type of UTI known as cystitis. Since I had a lot of fever and chills in days to come, it also had an effect on my kidneys (which I didn’t know at the time) and was put on heavy medication.
So what have we learned?
There are 3 types Of UTIs
- Burning sensation and irritation means it’s in the urethra, aka Urethritis
- Frequent urination, lower belly pain is cystitis
- Fever, chills, back pain along with the above symptoms can be Pyelonephritis
If you feel any of these symptoms, my first advice would be to not ignore it. It’ll only get worse. Speak to your doctor immediately who may want to do a simple urine test to assess your situation. He may put you on antibiotics like cefixime, Sodium Citrate-Citric Acid and cranberry tablets depending on his assessment and your discomfort.
How To Avoid UTIs
Can I deliver some bad news first? You’re more susceptible to UTIs once you get them. I wish I had better news but it’s not all gloomy. If you pay some attention to vaginal health, you may just be able to beat UTIs for good.
- Drink a lot of water. Every doctor says it. Make sure you drink at least 8-10 glasses of water every day. Use an app, keep a tab on the number of bottles used. Basically, do anything that works for you.
- A lot of studies, first-person accounts have shown relief through probiotics. Due to my IBS and food sensitivities, I take one daily. You can also try to add Kombucha or yoghurt to your diet.
- Make sure you avoid scented products at all costs. These include soaps, feminine wipes promoted by many brands across the globe.
- When using toilet paper, make sure you wipe front to back.
- Make most of cotton underwear as much as possible.
- If you’ve just come back after a long hard day, make sure you change your underwear especially if you’re sweaty. The idea is not to stay in that outfit for too long.
- Make most of dusting anti-fungal powders like Abzorb with Clotrimazole and toilet sanitizing sprays like Pee Safe to stay consistent with a hygiene routine.
- Reducing caffeine, alcohol and sugar intake while you have an infection is also known to reduce painful symptoms.
Can Sex Lead To UTIs?
I know what you’re thinking. Can I at least have sex in peace? Apparently not. Turns out, any genital contact can introduce bacteria into the urethra, causing you to get a UTI. So make sure you keep your hands and lady parts clean, and talk to your partner about it too. Secondly, most doctors suggest you pee right after having sex to flush out the bacteria. Thirdly, you cannot transmit it to your partner but your discomfort may increase if you have a urinary tract infection. So try to avoid having sex till all symptoms disappear (I personally vet this too. It’s not worth it guys!). Lastly, check if you’re sensitive/allergic to latex which is causing an infection.
A list of sources I’ve used to vet this info