One in two women will develop at least one UTI during their life (Incontinence Australia). A urinary tract infection happens when bacteria enters the urethra and can lead to most commonly bladder infections. Up to 85% of UTI’s are caused by E. coli bacteria typically from the bowel (McKertich,K).
Symptoms of a UTI
For those who have had a UTI the symptoms are well known
- Pain or burning sensation when urinating.
- Needing to urinate more frequently.
- Pain in lower abdomen or back.
- Cloudy or foul-smelling urine
- Fever, nausea, vomiting or feeling shaky (severe infection)
Women are more susceptible to UTI’s in part because we have shorter urethras compared to our male counterparts. This shortened urethra allows the bacteria to move towards the bladder easier. Post menopausal women have decreased levels of oestrogen this can cause changes to the tissue making them drier. This makes it easier for bacteria to colonize in the vagina.
Recurrent UTI’s are defined as
- 3 or more episodes within last 12-month period
- 2 or more episodes within the last 6-month period
Risk factors for recurrent UTI’s
- Bladder prolapse which makes it difficult to fully empty the bladder. This allows for bacteria growth in the bladder to form.
- Poor bladder emptying resulting from pelvic floor muscle dysfunction.
- Urinary incontinence
- Thinning of the vaginal tissue due to menopause
Tips on how to prevent UTI’s
- Drink water! Urine should be pale yellow in colour. A deep yellow or brown colour indicates that your body needs more water.
- Good toilet hygiene – wash your hands and wipe front to back.
- Empty your bladder after sex.
- When voiding on the bathroom your stream should be constant and feel like you have fully emptied each time.
- Avoid constipation to ensure you can fully empty your bladder each time.
Other causes for UTI symptoms that are important to rule out:
- Vaginal thrush
- Poor bladder emptying
- Cancer of the urinary tract
Treatments for UTI’s
We have all heard of cranberry juice or bicarb and water but if you are experiencing UTI symptoms it is always best to seek medical advice. Screening should be completed, and antibiotics may be necessary to help treat your symptoms.
Can a physiotherapist help me?
Women’s health physiotherapists are trained to assess and treat conditions associated with the pelvis. Some causes for UTI’s may come from conditions associated with the pelvic floor or improper emptying. Because of this it may be helpful to seek an assessment to prevent ongoing or recurrent UTI’s. Bump Fitness have trained physiotherapists to assess and treat women in this and many more pelvic conditions, we are located on the Gold Coast and can be contacted via Instagram or phone 1300 620 672.
Until Next time,