As kids, we were always forced to hydrate ourselves, sometimes even force-fed a lot of liquids. We are adults now and we have completely ignored the importance of staying hydrated. Dehydration is one of the major reasons for multiple issues in our body today. It is also one of the major reasons why women are infected with Urinary Tract Infection, also commonly known as the UTI.
Now, UTI is not gender-specific, but the chances are extremely high for a woman. Women have a shorter urethra, hence it is easier for the bacteria to travel to the bladder infecting it. If the infection is not treated on time and accurately, the bacteria go on to infect the kidney. Gynaecologist Dr Priya Selvaraj says, “The frequency for urinary infections can be attributed to pre-existing conditions like diabetes or kidney stones or obesity, multiple childbirths and menopause. It is more common in pregnancy too. Poor hygiene and unsafe sexual practices also may increase frequency of infections. All of these can always be treated and prevented.”
There are certain symptoms that could be duly noted and treated before these infections get too severe.
“The main symptoms are an increase in burning sensation while passing urine (Dysuria) and an uncontrollable urge to pass urine too and an increase in number of visits to the toilet (frequency). In addition, one may develop high fever, body pain, lower abdomen pain extending from the flanks to the groin, chills and rigours.”
Summers is around the corner, not that UTI is seasonal, but hydration and hygiene are some of the key factors influencing the Tract Infection. Dr. Selvaraj emphasises on this, “I wish to lay a lot of stress on personal hygiene and hydration especially during the summers. Also young people who travel a lot and fail to hydrate themselves or use public restrooms more often are prone to contracting UTI’s.”
In other words, ladies, it is crucial to wash yourself well, there should be no comprise when it comes to maintaining the vagina well by and always keeping it extremely clean and dry. “It is always front to back and not the other way around. Most of these organisms that cause UTI are normal commensals (residents) of our genital and anal tract and when we self contaminate ourselves by not washing the correct way, it leads to an infection. There are feminine hygiene wipes that are subtle and balance the pH around our urogenital areas that can be used for travel and even within the city. I recommend feminine washes for clients to use instead of fancy soaps.”
The third major factor influencing UTI is unhygienic sex. “Do not perform douches and apply unnecessary creams or perfumes anywhere in that area. Lastly, I always pay attention to the spouse/partner’s habits too. If a woman has a recurrent UTI, one must look into sexual practices and possibly treat them together as partners,” says Dr. Selvaraj.
UTIs is not seasonal, but it is crucial to stay more clean and hydrated considering the weather and sweat we are more prone to this in our country. Adding to this, Dr. Selvaraj says, “We need to replenish the water we lose through sweat especially if we are runners or work outdoors. Kidneys are known for flushing out our toxins and hence they need a constant circulation that allows them to do just that. Always empty your bladder at regular intervals. We tend to stock up for many reasons and that worsens it. Also clean up and empty before and after sex. I always advice to allow your skin to breathe in summer, so light cottons are a recommendation especially for inner or intimate wear. Fruits are most welcome and if you are not diabetic or already have a renal issue, juices are most welcome, especially cranberry.”
It’s summer and dehydration will be the major factor influencing abnormal body conditions. Make sure you drink plenty of water by not consuming fresh fruits and vegetables in fair amounts. One may also have summer breakouts of acne and fungal infections. The same in winter results in dry and chapped skin, and another cause for break outs and dandruff. All around the year as a working woman or a working out woman one needs to maintain health and personal hygiene.