This is the first of several articles on UTI infections. Bladder(Cystitis; UTI) is one of the most common problems for many women. Bladder pain and infections make many women miserable and effect the quality of their life. Constant infections are a thorn in relationships as well. A healthy sex life is important to a couple’s happiness and bladder infections can persist for days and weeks in some women.
Why do women get more UTI infections than men?
A women’s anatomy is very different than a males. The urethra in a woman’s bladder is very short compared to a males. In sexual intercourse, bacteria are pushed higher into the urethra, which then travel up into the bladder where an infection can start. Most women who have constant UTI complaints have immune deficiency problems as well. Each person has certain weaknesses in their body. Women who have frequent bladder complaints seem to have a weakness in that body system.
Urinary tract infections may have several causative factors:
Immune Deficiency: Women who have frequent bladder infections need to boost their immune system. Stress control is one of the ways to help prevent UTI’s. There are herbal supplements focused on building up the bladder and kidney system. This regimen is not a quick fix and the herbs may have to be taken for months. If the bladder is compromised by genetics, diet, or sexual activity, it needs to be given help to heal and be strong. I had an accident many years ago which compromised my kidneys. I have a weakness in my urinary tract system because of that accident. Taking herbs helped my bladder to heal after the accident and continues to help them function normally. Herbs for the bladder and kidney are usually taken in a combination that may include: Juniper berries, parsley, uva ursa, marshmallow, goldenseal root, and ginger. These herbs help to strengthen the urinary tract system and support the body inherent ability to heal itself. Ezzeac or ecceac is a formula that is incredible in its ability to help and support the urinary tract system. I have taken it for years and I credit this formula to keeping me out of the hospital at times.
Sugar Laden Diet: To keep a healthy, balanced urinary tract system, you need to restrict sugar, bread, white flour, and junk food. These foods feed the overproduction of yeast in the body. This also contributes to bladder infections. In some women, caffeine, orange juice, citrus juice, and acid drinks such as coffee, ice tea, and soda will cause bladder symptoms and burning. If you are prone to bladder infections you need to eliminate all of these diet factors. If you have immediate burning after drinking acid drinks, you may not have a bladder infection but cystitis or interstitial cystitis.
Rectal Bacteria Contamination: Rectal bacteria can be spread into the vagina by wiping from back to front. Women should always wipe from the front to the back to help prevent infections. Bowel toxicity can be a factor in frequent bladder infections. Your elimination system should be healthy. This means that you have a bowel movement every day and are not constipated. Bowel health is important to bladder health. When your bowel is clogged up, it puts out toxins into the whole body including polluting the bladder.
Sexual Activity can promote bladder infections in some women. Bacteria are forced up into the short vaginal canal into the urethra by sexual intercourse. Women with one sexual partner or who abstain from sex generally have fewer infections. Abrasive rough sex can cause a bladder infection because the internal vaginal lining is made raw which then attracts bacteria and infection. Women who have sensitive vaginal tissues should use scent free KY Jelly to moisten tissues during sex to avoid abrasion and rawness. Don’t use perfumed douches and sprays. After sexual intercourse a women should urinate immediately, wipe the vaginal area off with warm water, and drink a full glass of water. This helps prevent the bladder infections that some women get after sexual intercourse. It is also wise for the male to wash off well before sexual intercourse. Anal sex is also one of the causes of bladder infections. Women who frequently get bladder infections should consider changing the way they make love to gentler methods. Some women are more sensitive to vaginal abrasion which leads to infections.
Insufficient Water : Many women fail to drink plain water. Sodas and tea do not count. Pure water helps to keep the bladder healthy and keep the bacteria count down. Water helps the bladder and kidneys to flush toxins out as well. Women need to urinate frequently and not hold it in. When you urinate the bacteria is expelled. Make sure you void all of the urine from your bladder each time.
Yeast Overgrowth: Yeast is present in every woman’s body. Yeast is kept in balance by the beneficial gut bacteria. Stress and diet can throw off the body balance causing an over production of yeast which results in a yeast infection. Many women run chronic yeast infections which contribute to tenderness and infections. Yeast infections are fed by white flour and sugar. It is wise to go on a strict diet eliminating these empty, high calorie foods. Yeast can be carried by the male especially when uncircumcised. Re-infection reoccurs after sexual intercourse. Both partners should get treatment for yeast problems. Yeast infections can be a systemic problem. The yeast over populate the gut and intestines as well as the vaginal areas. It can take weeks or months to clear out a systemic yeast infection. There are herbs that help balance the body and eliminate the over production of yeast.
Tight Underclothing That Doesn’t Breath: Tight jeans and pants cut off circulation to the area causing it to stay moist which attracts bacteria. The area may become raw as well causing problems. Wear cotton underwear that breathes to help with this problem.
Menopause: In menopause the estrogen decreases. This causes the outer and internal vaginal tissue and bladder lining to thin in some menopausal women. The vaginal tissue tends to be dry and easily bruised. It is important for women to use lubricant during foreplay and sexual intercourse. Some women get relief with a regimen of oral estrogen or progesterone cream massaged into the tissues to help strengthen those tissues making them stronger and healthier.
Diabetes: In diabetes, there is damage to nerves and small blood vessels. There may be reduced blood flow which in women causes problems such as sexual dysfunction, urine retention, urinary frequency, urgency, and incontinence. This may lead to more frequent bladder irritation, bladder and kidney infections. Glucose control is one of the most important steps in preventing bladder infections overall but especially in the diabetic. Maintaining a healthy weight and lifestyle also helps with both diabetes and urinary tract infections.
If your bladder infections are not affected by antibiotics, result in a negative urine test, and the cause goes undiagnosed, you may be looking at another causative factor for your bladder pain. Some bladder infections are not infections at all but cystitis. The next article will go into this bladder problem. There are several forms of cystitis including interstitial cystitis which are not easily diagnosed by doctors.