Monday, November 10, 2008

Recurrent Urinary Tract Infections- PART II

What can you do to stop infections? It depends on many things as noted in the previous post on UTI causes.

Often, constipation, diarrhea, IBS can lead to infections. High bacterial counts in constipated women, or constant soiling of the perineum by diarrhea can increase the risk for vaginal contamination by fecal flora. Constant wiping leads to broken skin and local skin infections can occur that lead to chapped and red vaginal skin/labila skin that resembles baby rash. The vagina will burn, become red and warm and very uncomfortable. Urine contact on this type of skin only makes the burning worse. Women will say "it hurts to pee", but what they really mean is the that stream doesn't burn (dysuria), but that the urine contract on the vaginal skin burns them. This can also be true for women who have urinary incontinence where the the constast wetness of the labia from leaking urine leads to baby rash.

Good hygiene seems obvious but maybe hard to control. Frequently sweating, from working out or hot climates can increase the local bacterial counts. Urinating before and after sex and bathing after sex is always a good idea if infections are noted to occur 1-2 days after sex. Use of sexual instruments or anal sex followed by vaginal sex seems an obvious culprit. Using lubrication during vaginal sex helps to prevent small cuts/brakes in the vaginal skin allowing bacteria to enter.

Tampons keep blood and bacteria in the vagina. Switching to pads sometimes does the trick.

Certain foods and medications can raise the pH of the urine or vagina. Acidification of the vagina or urine can be done by avoiding over-douching, or taking urinary acidifiers that can be found OTC.

Vaginal estrogen is a common medication in post-menopausal women, not only to help rejuvinate the vaginal tissue for sex and lubrication, but also preventing UTIs.

These are just some of the tricks that can be tried. There are many other reasons recurrent infections can occur.

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