Follow Us:

Habits that put you at risk of urinary tract infections

Urinary tract infections are caused by microorganisms — usually bacteria — that enter the urethra and bladder, causing inflammation and infection. Though a UTI most commonly happens in the urethra and bladder, bacteria can also travel up the ureters and infect your kidneys.

SNS | New Delhi |

Having a urinary tract infection, or UTI is not just uncomfortable but also painful. It is often referred to in the Philippines in local lingo as balisawsaw. What starts as a seemingly simple bacterial infection could lead to life-threatening conditions, such as septic shock.

Most of the UTIs affect the lower urinary tract or the bladder and are called acute uncomplicated cystitis. If you are frequently urinating or if you are experiencing pain or dysuria, you may have acute uncomplicated cystitis UTI.

Although acute uncomplicated cystitis may not be thought of as a serious condition, the quality of life of those who have this is often significantly affected. The person will experience at the most six days of discomfort.

Urinary tract infections are very common, occurring in 1 out of 5 women sometime in their lifetime. Though UTIs are common in women, they can also happen to men, older adults, and children. One to 2% of children develops urinary tract infections. Each year, 8 million to 10 million visits to doctors are for urinary tract infections.

Urinary tract infections are caused by microorganisms — usually bacteria — that enter the urethra and bladder, causing inflammation and infection. Though a UTI most commonly happens in the urethra and bladder, bacteria can also travel up the ureters and infect your kidneys.

More than 90% of bladder infection (cystitis) cases are caused by E. coli, a bacterium normally found in the intestines.

Unfortunately, the causes of UTI are highly varied and seemingly harmless. We may already be placing ourselves at risk and we don’t even know it! Keep this infection at bay by avoiding the following habits.

Seven Habits That Cause UTI

1. SITTING FOR LONG PERIODS

We already know that people with a sedentary lifestyle—those who work in an office for 8 hours or more, for example—are more prone to obesity and heart diseases. New evidence from the American Journal of Kidney Diseases linked prolonged sitting to kidney problems, including UTIs. According to the study, those who sit less and exercise more have the lowest risk of developing urinary complications. However, the team’s leading researcher Dr. Thomas Yates, MD, explained that exercising to make up for lack of physical activity and prevent kidney problems is more effective in men than in women.

2. EXCESSIVE MUNCHING ON SWEETS

For many of us, a healthy dose of sweets is enough to get us through a stressful day. But if you can’t control your portions, you’re more likely to get a UTI later on. When sugar makes its way into the bloodstream, the urine becomes more conducive to the spread of E. coli. Plus, according to Dr. Deborah Gordon, MD, a surge in blood sugar levels impairs the body’s ability to fight off infections. You don’t need to shun sugar completely, but make sure to indulge only sparingly.

3. WIPING THE WRONG WAY

As mentioned earlier, E. coli is one of the most common causes of UTI. They’re found in the gastrointestinal tract, and that includes the bowel. So if you wipe from back to front, you’re spreading this bacteria into the urethra. The right way to wipe is from front to back—always!

4. LETTING YOURSELF GET DEHYDRATED

Water is the most common home remedy for UTI. If you drink enough water every day, you’re less likely to get this infection. It facilitates the production of urine, letting you flush out toxins and bacteria.

7. PREGNANCY

Who knew that pregnancy is one of the causes of urinary tract infection? Even though it does not expose women to UTI-causing bacteria, pregnancy increases the pressure in the bladder. Another factor is that pregnancy-induced hormonal changes can disturb the urinary tract. This makes it more likely for the infection to escalate into a full-blown kidney problem. Women should therefore take extra care of themselves by having regular medical checkups with a trusted practitioner.

If you have any of these symptoms, or your other symptoms continue after treatment, call your healthcare provider. A UTI can spread throughout your urinary tract and into other parts of your body. However, treatment is very effective and can quickly relieve your symptoms.