Many people, especially women, experience urinary tract infections (UTIs). These can be very cumbersome to deal with as they result in painful urination, abdominal pain, and multiple trips to the bathroom. Women commonly try home remedies and try to avoid the risk factors to deal with this condition. However, the information available about treating UTIs is not always accurate, and this can make it difficult to alleviate the symptoms.
Let’s debunk some of the commonest myths about UTIs to help you find the right cure.
Myth 1: UTIs are caused by tampons
Since tampons are inserted into the body as opposed to many other sanitary products that stay outside, many women believe that they can cause UTIs. The truth, however, is that tampons cut the risk of developing UTIs by keeping the genital area dry and hence not letting bacteria replicate.
Myth 2: UTIs only occur in sexually active women
This is a myth because, while sexual contact can cause some of the bacteria in the vaginal area to enter the urethra and cause UTIs, it is not the only risk factor for UTIs, and sexually inactive women can get UTIs too. It is important to urinate after sex to ensure that any vaginal bacteria that accidentally entered the urethra is flushed from the body.
Can you avoid UTIs forever by abstaining from sex? Not really. The truth is that pregnant, perimenopausal, and menopausal women are more likely to develop UTIs owing to hormonal changes that impact the urinary tract. The enlargement of the uterus during pregnancy prevents complete emptying of the bladder, further increasing the risk of developing UTIs.
The most appropriate mode of action is talking to a healthcare provider about the symptoms of UTIs and any recurrent infection patterns, if present. The presence of the symptoms does not necessarily mean that an infection is present; it is, thus, necessary to be properly tested if you have the symptoms of a UTI.
Myth 3: UTIs are caused by bathing suits
There is some truth to this statement because wearing a wet bathing suit for a prolonged time provides optimum conditions for bacteria to thrive near the urethra. The moisture and warmth are responsible for increased replication of the bacteria which enter the bladder and cause UTIs. This risk can be reduced by removing wet clothing quickly after swimming.
Myth 4: UTIs can be cured by cranberry juice
This is one of the most famous myths associated with UTI treatment. However, a glass of cranberry juice is not your cure, and getting proper treatment from a certified doctor is crucial for recovery. There is not enough data that can be used as substantial evidence to prove the effectiveness of cranberry juice in curing UTIs. Although some studies suggest that symptomatic UTIs may be alleviated with cranberry juice, they remain vague about the necessary dosage and duration of treatment needed to achieve this effect. The bottom line is that cranberry juice does not live up to its reputation in treating UTIs.
Myth 5: UTIs only occur in women
Women are indeed at a higher risk of developing UTIs than men owing to the size of their urethras. The urethras of women are shorter than that of men, allowing the bacteria from outside to have easier access to the bladder. Nevertheless, men get UTIs too. The incidence of UTIs in men is associated with certain risk factors, such as a lack of circumcision and the presence of medical conditions such as urinary tract stones, urinary incontinence, and prostate cancer.
Surprisingly, children, especially girls under 12 and uncircumcised boys under 3 months of age, can develop UTIs too. Fever, bedwetting episodes, increased urination frequency, and painful urination are some of the commonest symptoms of UTIs during childhood. Diagnosing a UTI can be difficult in toddlers and infants; lack of healthy weight gain (especially in infants) and fever can be some of the signs of an infection of the urinary tract.
Urinary Tract Infections are painful and there is a lot of misinformation out there. Lately, more evidence has shown that taking vaginal probiotics regularly can help prevent UTIs. There are many high-quality products available over the counter.