A urinary tract infection (UTI) can happen to anyone of any age, even babies. However, the most common victims of UTIs are women – older women, in particular. Women are about 10 times more likely than men to get a UTI and close to 60% of women will experience one or more UTIs in their lifetime.
One reason for this is due to the anatomical differences in urethra length between men and women. Women have a significantly shorter urethra than men, making it easier for bacteria to reach the bladder. The urethra in women is also much closer to the anus than in men, which makes it easier for bacteria to wind up in the wrong place. Older women can also suffer with vaginal atrophy, which affects the pH of the vagina, increasing the risk of a UTI.
That being said, the main cause of urinary tract infections is bacteria. UTIs occur when bacteria get in your urinary tract. This can happen due to poor hygiene, certain contraception methods, increased sexual activity and an ageing vagina/bladder.
If you want to reduce the chances of getting a UTI, there are a few things you should do. The more consistent you are with these habits, the less likely you are to develop a UTI after sex (or any other time).
Our 5 top tips to help reduce the risk of a UTI:
- Always, always take a course of Live Bacteria probiotic capsules if you’ve had antibiotics to treat a UTI. Broad-spectrum antibiotics may clear up a UTI but they will also decimate the friendly bacteria in the bladder. E-coli bacteria are more resistant to antibiotics and this imbalance can increase the risk of UTI. Take one Live Bacteria capsule before breakfast and one before bed with a small glass of water, for a minimum of 30 days, but ideally 90 days. Any women who get recurring UTIs or even an irritable bladder need to take one For Women probiotic capsule daily, before breakfast and before bed. For anyone with UTIs under control, but struggling with digestive issues, the recommendation is one Live Bacteria capsule before breakfast and one For Women capsule before bed. If you have any questions about which protocol is for you, please contact us for advice.
- Avoid getting constipated. There is a link between sluggish bowels and UTIs. Toxins from retained faeces may be able to pass through the bowel wall into the bladder, increasing the risk of a UTI. If you need help to resolve your constipation, send us an email.
- Always urinate and wash your vagina after sexual intercourse. There is always the potential for e-coli bacteria from the rectum to travel up the urethra into the bladder during/after intercourse, so take measures to try and prevent this. If you do get regular UTIs, and practice anal sex, stop! Anal sex is a sure-fire way of introducing e-coli bacteria into the bladder and causing a UTI.
- Stay hydrated with water so that your bladder is doing what it’s meant to do – get rid of urine and harmful bacteria. Try and drink three litres daily.
- If you’re menopausal, there is an increased risk of getting a UTI as the vagina begins to dry out and tissues atrophy, so use a natural lubricant like ‘Yes’ or ‘Wyld’ to keep the vagina lubricated.
For more information on the management of UTIs, you can download my free UTI Fact Sheet here. If you have any questions about urinary, digestive or gut health, please get in touch.