ORLANDO, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — Up to ten million doctors’ visits each year are for urinary tract infections. If untreated, these infections can be dangerous. In fact, famous actress Tanya Roberts who appeared in a James Bond film and the sitcom That 70’s Show recently died from complications of a UTI. So, how can you protect yourself from these troublesome infections? Ivanhoe reports.
One in five women will have at least one urinary tract infection, or UTI, in her lifetime. These common infections happen when bacteria gets in the urinary system. They’re usually treatable with antibiotics, but they can be serious.
“They can turn into low back pain, fever, get into the kidneys and become a really serious infection that would require hospitalization,” explained Lora Plaskon, MD, MS, FPMRS, an urologist at Athena Urology.
So how can you prevent these unwanted infections? Dr. Plaskon said avoid the three big risk factors:
“It’s douching, spermicidal jelly, and constipation,” Dr. Plaskon stated.
Douching and spermicides can wipe out your body’s good bacteria. Constipation may lead to a greater colony count of bacteria when you pass a bowel movement, which could cause a UTI. Also, other research shows staying hydrated is important. Aim for six to eight glasses of water a day. Also, don’t wait to go if you need to urinate. This can encourage bacteria growth. And some research has shown consuming probiotics and cranberries can ward off UTI’s. Dr. Plaskon also says a healthy, low-sugar diet is a key factor.
“It has to do with sugar. So, the excess blood sugar is going to be spilled into your urine,” continued Dr. Plaskon.
Dr. Plaskon also said increasing evidence suggests that drug-resistant bacteria are causing UTI’s in some women who eat antibiotic-treated chicken and meat. She believes eating primarily local, organic meats will reduce this risk.
Contributors to this news report include: Julie Marks, Producer; and Roque Correa, Editor.
PREVENTING PAINFUL UTI’s: 3 RISK FACTORS
BACKGROUND: A urinary traction infection (UTI) is a common type of infection in the urinary system. It can involve the urethra, ureters, bladder and kidneys. Most UTIs can be treated with an antibiotic. Urinary tract infections are very common, occurring in 1 out of 5 women sometime in their lifetime. Though they are common in women because the urethra (tube that carries urine out of the body) in females is shorter and closer to the anus, where E. coli bacteria are common. However, they can also happen to men, older adults and children. If you get frequent urinary tract infections, your doctor may do tests to check for other health problems such as diabetes or an abnormal urinary system that may be contributing to the infections. People with frequent UTIs are occasionally given low-dose antibiotics for a period of time to prevent the infection from coming back.
SYMPTOMS, RISKS, AND TREATMENT: A UTI is typically confined to the bladder, but may spread to the kidneys, which is serious and can cause permanent damage. Some symptoms to keep watch for are a painful, burning sensation during urination; the feeling of urgency to urinate; cloudy, dark, or foul-smelling urine; fever, tiredness, or shakiness; and nausea or back pain. Some factors that increase a woman’s risk of developing UTI include age; incomplete emptying of the bladder; sexual intercourse and the use of diaphragms and condoms with spermicidal foam as contraceptives; diabetes; menopause; and abnormalities of the urinary tract, such as kidney or renal stones, which act as a focus for infection. The main treatment for UTIs is antibiotics along with adequate amount of water and other fluids. Cranberry and blueberry juices is believed to help prevent infection. And probiotics have also been shown to reduce the chance of getting a UTI, as “good” live bacteria is introduced into the bowels and reduces the chance of the “bad” bacteria spreading and causing a UTI.
HOPE IN UTI TREATMENT: Low levels of UTI infections can sometimes be found long after the infection has cleared. Research suggests this could be an unknown, but leading cause of chronic bladder dysfunction. Flinders University researchers in Australia, in collaboration with Griffith University on the Gold Coast, analyzed how the immune system responds to UTIs and the direct link this response has to magnifying bladder pain. Research shows that understanding how nerves in the bladder transmit different sensations to the brain could potentially help limit bladder dysfunction in overactive bladder patients. “We believe that chronic pain and bladder dysfunction are a failure of these nerves to reset after inflammation, so by understanding how these nerves function with a UTI and what causes them to become more sensitive over time, we can develop effective treatments,” said Dr. Luke Grundy, Clinical Pharmacology Research Fellow & Head of Bladder Research. This study provides new information into how UTI causes hypersensitivity of the nerves that carry sensation from the bladder to the brain, resulting in the symptoms of urinary frequency, urgency, and pelvic or suprapubic pain.
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