It’s been discovered that half of all women will have at least one urinary tract infection (UTI) in their lifetime, with 20 per cent aged 20 to 65 suffering at least one episode a year.
UTIs occur when excessive bacteria invade your lower urinary tract (bladder and urethra). This is due to the fact that women have a shorter urethra, which makes it easier for bacteria to move up into the bladder.
Also increasing the risk of infection is the closeness of the urethra to the vagina and anus, which are active sources of bacteria.
This is why it is crucial to know the symptoms of a UTI and get the right treatment. Left untreated, a UTI could lead to infection or even renal failure.
KNOW THE SYMPTOMS
- A burning sensation when urinating.
- Frequent urination or the urge to urinate even when the bladder is empty
- Cloudy, dark, foul-smelling or bloody urine
- Lower abdominal pain and/or fever
- Nausea or back pain (signs of renal infection)
6 WAYS TO PREVENT A URINARY TRACT INFECTION
- Drink at least two litres of fluid a day – more if you’ve been exercising. Empty your bladder regularly to prevent the accumulation of stale urine.
- Practise good personal hygiene. Be sure to wipe yourself from the front to back in the loo to prevent faecal contamination in the vaginal area.
- Avoid vaginal deodorants and bubble baths, which irritate the genital area.
- Cleanse the genital area with water when you shower, especially before and after sexual intercourse. Also, urination after sexual intercourse can help flush out any bacterial contamination.
- Load up on probiotics such as live culture yoghurt, which is proven to reduce the occurrence of UTI. This introduces “good” bacteria into your system, thus preventing “bad” bacteria from spreading.
- Drinking cranberry juice is said to help prevent infection as it contains phytochemicals that stop bacteria from sticking to the bladder wall.
Special thanks to the Department of Urogynaecology, KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital.
KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital is the only integrated women’s and children’s hospital in Singapore, providing specialised care for women, babies and children. For more information go to www.kkh.com.sg or call Tel: 6225 5554
To get more helpful tips on women’s health, get a copy of the SingHealth Beautiful Inside & Out booklet with the January issue of Her World magazine. To subscribe to Her World magazine, go to: www.herworldplus.com/magazine_subscription