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If you’re experiencing recurring utis in menopause (urinary tract infection) you’re not alone. These infections are a common health issue for menopausal women. In this blog post, we’ll talk about what you need to know about recurrent utis in menopause and beyond. We’ll also provide some tips on what symptoms you should look out for as well as how to prevent a UTI. Keep reading for more information.
What is a UTI?
A UTI happens when bacteria from the bowel enter the urethra. Usually, it would be flushed out when you pee but that doesn’t always happen and the result is an infection.
Can menopause cause UTI?
A decline in estrogen
As you know, menopause means the end of your menstrual cycles and fertility. However, it also changes your hormone levels.
Some women experience a decrease in estrogen and testosterone production during and after menopause. The hormone estrogen allows the “good” bacteria to thrive.
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These bacteria produce acid, lowering the pH in the vagina which inhibits bad bacteria.
The result of lower estrogen levels is a higher chance of getting a UTIs.
Changing conditions in the urethra and vagina
Vaginal atrophy symptoms are thinning vaginal tissue which becomes inflamed and dry. This opens the way for bacteria to get into the urinary tract.
The urethra also thins and becomes shorter giving a quick path into the urinary tract for bacteria.
Lower estrogen can also cause issues with the bladder.
Weaker pelvic muscles can make it more difficult to fully empty the bladder. This again opens the way for bacteria to multiply causing inflammation and infection.
Urinary incontinence can mean small amounts of pee escape causing a higher risk of infection.
What are the symptoms of a UTI in menopause?
Symptoms of UTI in menopause can include:
– burning sensation when you pee
– pain in your lower back and side near the end of urination.
– Blood in the urine (it may be reddish)
– Incontinence, especially while laughing or coughing.
– Need to use the bathroom frequently especially at night.
– Pain with sexual intercourse.
– Fever (38C or more) or chills
If you experience any of these symptoms it’s important to visit your doctor to get tested. Your doctor can perform a urine test to see if there’s an infection and determine the best course of action.
– See your doctor if you experience any of these symptoms
Natural remedies for UTIs in menopause
A diagnosis can be made after a physical exam along with testing your urine.
Mild infections may clear up of their own accord however if it persists or you are having more serious issues then your doctor may prescribe antibiotics.
Here are a few tips for dealing with urinary tract infections:
- Drink lots of water to flush out bacteria and stay hydrated: Adequate hydration is crucial in menopause to help flush out bacteria from the urinary tract. Drinking plenty of water can dilute urine and promote frequent urination, which can help prevent the accumulation of harmful bacteria.
- Seek immediate medical attention if you have lower back pain, fever, or chills: These symptoms can indicate a severe UTI or a potential kidney infection, which can be more common and serious in menopausal women. Prompt medical attention is essential to prevent complications and ensure effective treatment.
- After urinating, wipe from front to back, do not use soap in that area: Wiping from front to back is essential to prevent the transfer of bacteria, reducing the risk of UTIs. Avoiding the use of soap in this sensitive region helps maintain the natural pH balance and prevent irritation.
- Avoid using feminine wipes, as they can disrupt your pH balance: Many commercial feminine wipes contain harsh chemicals that can disrupt the delicate pH balance of the genital area. This disruption can make it easier for harmful bacteria to thrive, increasing the risk of UTIs.
- Make sure you empty your bladder fully and avoid holding it in for too long: In menopause, changes in hormonal levels can weaken the pelvic floor muscles, making it more challenging to completely empty the bladder. This residual urine can serve as a breeding ground for bacteria. Ensuring that you empty your bladder fully and not delaying restroom trips can help minimize this risk.
- Reduce stress as this can trigger UTIs and UTI symptoms: Chronic stress can weaken the immune system and make the body more susceptible to infections, including UTIs. Managing stress through relaxation techniques, exercise, and mindfulness can help support overall health and reduce the likelihood of UTIs during menopause.
How to prevent a uti in menopause
Of course, the best cure is prevention so here’s what you can do to prevent an infection in the first place:
- Hydrate, I really can’t stress this enough. It will make you go to the toilet more often and help flush out bacteria: Proper hydration is a fundamental step in preventing UTIs during menopause. Drinking an adequate amount of water helps maintain a healthy urinary system by diluting urine and promoting more frequent urination. This increased frequency can help flush out potentially harmful bacteria before they have a chance to multiply and cause an infection.
- Empty your bladder fully: Ensuring that you empty your bladder completely is crucial for preventing UTIs in menopause. Incomplete voiding can leave residual urine in the bladder, creating an environment where bacteria can thrive. To help with this, it’s important to relax and take your time on the toilet, allowing your bladder to fully empty.
- Wear cotton underwear: Choosing cotton underwear over synthetic materials can help prevent UTIs in menopause. Cotton is a breathable fabric that allows moisture to evaporate, keeping the area dry. This dryness helps prevent the growth of bacteria.
- Avoid using feminine deodorant sprays and washes: Feminine deodorant sprays and washes often contain fragrances and chemicals that can irritate the delicate tissues in this area. This irritation can disrupt the natural balance of bacteria, making it easier for harmful bacteria to cause UTIs. Using only mild, unscented soap for externally is recommended to maintain the natural pH balance and reduce the risk of infection.
Vaginal estrogen therapy in the form of creams can help by stopping harmful bacteria and soothing irritations. The topical application is shown to be more effective than oral tablets. Unfortunately there are women who are not able to have hormonal treatments for menopausal urinary symptoms such as women with breast cancer. Talk to your doctor for more information.
Take a supplement that will help prevent UTIs, like Utiva’s Cranberry PAC supplement, especially if you are prone to infections.
Once you have a UTI, you may be more prone to have another. Therefore, it is worthwhile to do as much as you can to prevent them from recurring.
If you’re postmenopausal, speak to your healthcare professional about ways to increase your vaginal PH . If you experience incontinence, strengthening your pelvic floor muscles can be a first step toward allowing you to drink adequate fluids to help stave off a UTI.
UTIs are a common problem for many women. If you’re one of the unlucky few who suffer from recurrent infections, I feel your pain. These tips have helped me reduce my number of UTIs, but I would love to hear if you have any additional advice or tricks that work for you. Do you struggle with UTIs? Let me know in the comments and together we can help each other prevent these pesky infections.