Urinary tract infections or UTIs after periods are a complicated problem. Not only are these infections troublesome but also impact parts of the urinary system. Though infections typically occur in the lower urinary tract, bladder, and urethra, they are capable of harming your kidneys too. UTIs are increasingly common to get. However, if left untreated, the infection can spread to the kidneys and renal system resulting in severe complications. Therefore, on this Menstrual Hygiene Day, let’s learn how timely prevention and treatment of UTI is important for our health.
Health Shots got in touch with Dr Sanjay Garg, Consultant, Urology, Manipal Hospital, Ghaziabad, who listed simple reasons you keep getting UTI after periods.
Understanding the causes of UTI after periods:
Dr Garg says, “Largely, UTI after periods get over are caused due to presence of bacteria in the urinary tract through the urethra, which extends to the bladder. However, women face higher gender-specific risks mainly due to female anatomy. Commonly, specific infections include cystitis or bladder infection due to general bacteria or E. coli bacteria present in the GI or Gastrointestinal tract, and urethritis or urethra infection.”
Poor menstrual hygiene and using poor quality period products are also responsible for the growth of infection causing microorganisms. Also, menopause and intake of oral contraceptives further raise UTI risks. Though, older adults face higher cystitis risks due to partial clearing of the bladder.
Other general risk factors include urinary tract abnormalities or blockages due to kidney stones or an enlarged prostrate, weakened immune system due to pre-existing medical conditions, or a medical history of urinary conditions and surgeries.
Look out for these early symptoms of UTI:
- UTI symptoms are often less visible and vary depending on the infected region in the urinary tract.
- Early symptoms due to inflammation include pressure in lower pelvis and abnormal urination changes such as burning sensations, strong urge to urinate or passing small and frequent urine
- Dr Garg suggests, “One should watch out for cloudy, red, brown, or bright pink or strong-smelling urine abnormalities even after your periods get over. Particularly, women can experience pain in the central pelvic and pubic bone region.”
- Symptoms like fever, back pain and vomiting require urgent medical attention.
Here are 5 simple ways to help prevent UTI after periods:
1. Increase fluid intake
Ensure daily water intake of nearly eight to ten glasses can help dilute urine, and flush out unnecessary bacteria in the urinary tract through frequent urination. Additionally, drinking plenty of fluids can reduce risks if you experience frequent UTI’s. Also, one can eliminate potential bladder irritants such as caffeinated beverages and spicy foods through fluids when menstruating.
2. Avoid potential irritants in genital area
Certain feminine hygiene products like washes, powders or deodorants can irritate the urethra. Avoid using these products to clean your vagina right after your periods.
3. Good personal hygiene
“Personal hygiene particularly during bowel movement can prevent bacterial growth. Particularly, women have a shorter urethra than men. Therefore, women must ensure good hygiene to minimize increased UTI risks, especially during menstrual cycles. Change your pads and tampons within 4 hours .and clean your hands before and after inserting tampons and menstrual cups,” says Dr Garg.
4. Change birth control methods
Certain birth control methods like diaphragm increase UTI risks for women. Accordingly, women must seek birth control advice from specialists.
5. Comfortable clothing
Wearing tight-fitted clothes during your periods can lead to bacterial growth in the urinary tract, which may even cause recurrent UTI in some women. Therefore, opting for cotton clothes and underwear can prevent excess moisture near the Urethra and future UTI after periods.
Simply ensuring good hygiene and adequate water intake can prevent UTI’s in the first place. However, one should seek timely treatment depending on symptoms, to prevent serious complications and aid quick recovery.