How to avoid UTIs at summer

UTI stands for urinary tract infection and is a common thing among women during the summer. A UTI refers to an infection in any part of the urinary system, including the kidneys, ureters, bladder, and urethra. Both men and women can get UTIs, but women are more susceptible for two reasons :

  • Their shorter urethras
  • The closeness of women’s urethras to the anus

In both cases, it’s easier for UTI-causing bacteria to reach the urinary system. 

Common symptoms of UTI:

  • Frequent need to urinate
  • Burning sensation during urination
  • Passing frequent but small amounts of urine
  • Strong-smelling urine
  • Urine that’s cloudy, pink, or dark-colored
  • Pain in your lower abdomen
  • Temporary urinary incontinence

If UTIs are left untreated they may result in kidney infection and other serious symptoms like pain in the lower back, fever, nausea, and vomiting. 

Why are UTIs more common in summer?

A pair of sunglasses by the pool

In the summer, the temperature reaches its highest point and although it is a great opportunity to run to the beach, UTIs are lurking around the corner. When you are staying dehydrated for many hours or when you are holding in your urine for too long, because there aren’t many clean toilets nearby, it can lead to an infection. Doctors have also observed that more sexual activity tends to happen in the summer, and this may lead to more people getting UTIs as the weather warms up. Taking a dip in a contaminated pool can also invite infection. Citing other causes of urinary tract infections during the hot summer days, Dr. Lunawat goes on to say that poor hygiene in the genital area as well as excessive sweating in the perineal region during sunny days can facilitate bacterial transfer from the rectum to the urethra (especially in females). The most common bacteria linked to UTI is E. coli, it is found naturally in one’s gut but the problem occurs if they enter one’s urethra. Women of any age group can suffer from it.

What can you do to protect yourself?

The first and most important thing you should do is to drink plenty of water, to stay hydrated at all times. Avoid drinks that may irritate your bladder, like coffee, alcohol, and soft drinks that contain citrus juices or caffeine until your infection has cleared. They can irritate your bladder and tend to aggravate the frequent or urgent need to urinate. Many people drink cranberry juice to prevent UTIs. There’s some indication that cranberry products, in either juice or tablet form, have infection-fighting properties. Researchers continue to study the ability of cranberry juice to prevent UTIs, but the results are not conclusive. Also, try to maintain a good personal hygiene in your genital region. Always bring a second change of clothes when you are at the beach, so as to change your wet bathing suit and minimize the risk of infection. Avoid keeping your urine for too long, but try to use clean toilets when outside, and not public ones or swimming pools. Wipe from front to back after using the toilet to prevent bacteria from spreading from anal to vagina and urethra. If you are on your period, change your pads as frequently as you can. Using chemical products down there will not keep you cleaner, instead lots of water, skin-friendly undergarments from breathable fabric will keep you safer. Also, always wash your undergarments before using them. Finally, if you decide on some summer sex action, always pee afterwards to eliminate bacteria.

When should you look for help?

If you experience any of the above symptoms, it is essential to consult with a urologist. Dr. Sanjay  says, “A UTI is diagnosed via urinalysis and urine culture which looks for evidence of infection such as white blood cells in the urine sample and isolation of pathogenic bacteria in urine as urine has many commensal bacteria in normal circumstances. These tests are to be taken if one has burning and pain while urinating. There is a higher risk of infection if one has diabetes or is prone to stone formation. Skipping the tests can delay treatment and land you in trouble as infection can affect the kidneys also if not attended to. Antibiotics usually are the first line treatment for these infections. Which drugs are prescribed and for how long depend on your health condition and the type of bacteria found in the urine. Often, UTI symptoms clear up within a few days of starting treatment, but you may need to continue antibiotics for a week or more. UTIs are not something to be afraid of. 

It’s summer at last, and everything seems better, so put on your sunscreen, grab a cocktail, leave the negative thoughts behind, stay protected and have fun! For any major or minor health incident, trust the professionals. And if you are looking for a place to visit this summer, why not consider Greece, the top summer and fertility destination worldwide? 😉 

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How to avoid UTIs at summer