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Myth or Fact: Urinary Tract Infections

From the Pelvic Floor Articles List

Urinary Tract Infections facts and mythsWhat are some interesting facts I should know about urinary tract infections?

Burning. Urgency. Pain. Sound familiar? Like many women, you probably know what it is like to have a urinary tract infection (UTI). But even if you know about a UTI first hand, there could be more you could learn to help you manage one.

Myth: If I am clean, I won’t get a UTI.
Fact: While good hygiene may be helpful, it doesn’t prevent UTIs.

When bacteria enters the urinary tract, a urinary tract infection can occur. While there are steps you can take to try to minimize this happening, a woman’s anatomy makes her more susceptible to a UTI. Wiping from front to back and staying clean are good practices, but they won’t guarantee you will never have this type of infection.

Myth: I will only get UTIs if I am sexually active.
Fact: While sexual intercourse can increase your risk, you can get a UTI even if you are not sexually active.

Women who are sexually active have a higher risk for a urinary tract infection, but sex is not the only culprit. Even women who are not sexually active can develop a UTI. To help prevent intercourse related UTIs, it is a good idea to shower and urinate after sex. You can also talk to your doctor about the risks of using spermicides or diaphragms and having multiple partners, all increasing your risks for intercourse related UTIs.

Myth: There is no connection between menopause and UTIs.
Fact: Women may have more UTIs during menopause.

Estrogen helps keep the urinary tract healthy. Without adequate estrogen, the urinary tract can change in several ways, increasing the risk for urinary tract infections. Whether you are in natural or surgical menopause, using one of the estrogen choices can help keep your urinary tract healthy and prevent recurrent UTIs.

Myth: I don’t need to seek medical treatment for a UTI.
Fact: Though some UTIs do resolve on their own, it is best to seek medical attention for a UTI.

With time, some urinary tract infections will resolve without any intervention. Others may respond to various home remedies such drinking lots of cranberry juice or water. Unfortunately, an untreated UTI that does not resolve can cause kidney infection and damage leading to more serious health concerns. If you suspect you have a UTI, it’s best to talk to your doctor right away and begin medical treatment quickly.

Myth: Cranberry products can prevent or treat UTIs.
Fact: There are mixed opinions about the effectiveness of cranberry products for UTI prevention, and they likely don't treat an existing UTI.

The active ingredient, A-type proanthocyanidins (PACs), in cranberries can prevent bacteria from sticking to the urinary tract. The key, however, is for the cranberry product to have enough of this ingredient to make to the urinary tract. As the FDA does not regulate supplements, it is hard to know exactly how much of the active supplement a product might contain. Cranberry cocktail may also have minimal amounts of real cranberries along with significant amounts of sugar. And through the active ingredient in cranberries may prevent bacteria from sticking to the urinary tract, it may not prevent all urinary tract infections, and it does not treat an already existing UTI. So while drinking pure cranberry juice may help prevent a UTI, cranberry cocktail or cranberry tablets may not be effective. In addition, you should not use cranberry to treat a suspected UTI--seek medical attention instead.

This content was written by staff of HysterSisters.com by non-medical professionals based on discussions, resources and input from other patients for the purpose of patient-to-patient support.

09-09-2015 - 08:45 PM


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