Isn’t it true that being able to urinate peacefully is the most relaxing thing to do?
Shradha, a working woman with a healthy physique, was 25 years old when she got her first Urinary Tract Infection (UTI).
One day while working in office, she got a sensation of wanting to urinate urgently and her lower abdomen felt quite heavy and painful. As she sat down to pee, her bladder forced out the first warm stream of urine and boy, it did hurt, as if she hadn’t urinated in ages. While urine flowed down, she couldn’t tolerate the terrible burning sensation. Once done, she splashed as much water as possible, but then followed the creepy prickly sensation. She couldn’t take forever in the restroom so dried up the area and adjusted her tight panty and jeans so to reduce irritation. Nothing really helped and she left the room with a smile, trying to be back to normal, yet walking awkwardly.
Uneasily resting her butt on the seat, she tried working with all the concentration on the itching sensation. Within 15 minutes she got the urge to pee… yet again. She had spent only 2 hours in office and already visited the restroom 10 times. This went on for quite some time till her colleagues looked at her suspiciously and laughed.
Finally, she tried controlling the urge, thinking that it may be a psychological condition. Possibly, she has eaten something too hot and spicy or did not drink adequate amount of water. Yes, we humans do tend to skip drinking water regularly and conveniently blame it on work. Drinking sufficient water is the best thing we can do to ourselves, but what Shradha was going through was not just because of insufficient water consumption.
Being an otherwise fit woman, she was really concerned about the constant burning and itching sensation which went on for days. Thoughts of being unclean embarrassed her. From tight jeans, she shifted to comfortable cotton pyjamas. It did help but couldn’t relieve the actual problem. She comes from a family where girls take their mothers along to visit a doctor, always. So she had to talk to her mother first.
Mother and grandmother came up with many home remedies to reduce the heat in her body, but it seemed her lower body had a brain of its own. When it all became unbearable, Shradha, with her mother’s consent, decided to visit a general physician.
Physician patiently heard her symptoms and questioned ‘Are you married?’ Mother looked at poor Shradha with another level of suspicion. After hearing a straight ‘No’, physician sighed and smirked, looking at Shradha, adding to her discomfort.
Yes Shradha had a boyfriend and they were sexually active. But at that age, especially in India, even knowing about sex-related topics like the existence of an emergency contraceptive pill was a taboo, forget consuming one! So her boyfriend would only suggest her to consume these pills without telling anyone, so to avoid uncalled-for baby bumps. Thinking that these are the only precautionary measures to be taken after sex, Shradha wouldn’t take any other concern seriously.
To spare the horror of her family asking weird questions, Shradha decided to keep them all away from her mysterious concerns. She tried talking to her friends about recurring UTIs, but found her more informed than anyone else in her circle. When she described her problems to her boyfriend, he slyly said ‘These issues happen when a girl turns into a full-fledged woman’ (with untimely lust in his eyes, of course).
Now Shradha was left alone with her painful lower abdomen and irritating urination. All the time she would keep consuming antibiotics and plenty of fluids. Yet UTIs would recur.
It was time to take Google’s help and learn more. She started spending all her money buying cranberries. Knowing that drinking sufficient water and consuming antibiotics helps fight UTI, Shradha kept following this practice with every recurring UTI. But these UTIs, like any uninvited guest, kept coming back. She did not care about the danger of recurring UTIs and one fine day while working at the office; she experienced interim chills, terrible back pain and heavy fever.
This episode got her bedridden for a month, as she was diagnosed with inflammation of the kidneys. If Shradha still doesn’t take appropriate care, her kidneys are sure to fail. So what did Shradha do wrong? Why are UTIs so persistent in her life?
Like Shradha, many women are silently suffering and conveniently ignoring the symptoms of urinary tract infections. Statistics say that at least half of all women will suffer from UTI once in their lives and in many it may recur and keep recurring.
You can start taking the following steps towards preventing Urinary Tract Infection.
Increase consumption of liquids, especially water. Drinking plenty of water may keep the bladder empty and free of bacteria, thus helping UTI prevention.
Change your wiping pattern. Always wipe from front to back. Usually, when even tiny bits of faeces enter urethra, it encourages growth of bacteria. So avoid wiping the other way to keep your vaginal area clean.
Urinate soon after intercourse and drink a full glass of water to help flush bacteria. This is a very negligible yet crucial point to be considered after intercourse.
Stop irritating your genital region using external products. If you use feminine products such as deodorant sprays in the genital area, it can irritate the urethra.
Change your birth control method, if you see the pattern of getting UTIs after intercourse. Diaphragms, unlubricated or spermicide-treated condoms can all lead to the growth of bacteria.
Never encourage unprotected sex: If not UTI, unprotected sex can lead to the birth of many STDs. It’s better to be cautious before inviting serious trouble.
Drinking plenty of water helps. Cranberries can help, too. But to completely beat UTI it is essential to debunk the myths, know the causes and get appropriate treatment. It is time every man and woman makes informed choices by practicing a healthy lifestyle.
In the next article, we shall discuss more about UTI and also try to understand what Shradha could do right to prevent its recurrence.