Menopause & Urinary Tract Infections

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Menopause & Urinary Tract Infections
Menopause & Urinary Tract Infections (Image: http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3015/2767375309_276b9c5f18.jpg)

Everyone experiences at least one urinary tract infection in their lifetime, most notably during infancy, pregnancy or old age. Menopausal women are especially prone to UTIs because the decrease in their estrogen causes their bodies to change. UTIs are generally harmless and it can be easily treated with a two-week course of antibiotics. If the infection is not treated or worsens, it can develop into a kidney infection. Kidney infections often require that you be hospitalized and cause irreversible damage to your renal system. Since menopausal women often don't even realize that they have a UTI, it is even more important to look for symptoms and take the appropriate actions.

Urinary Tract Infection

A urinary tract infection (also called a bladder infection or cystitis) is an inflammation of your body's urine producing system, including your kidneys, bladder and urethra. They usually begin in your urethra, which is the tube that drains urine from your bladder and leads it outside your body. The bladder is the other part of the urinary system that is most often affect by a UTI, but it can travel all the way up the kidneys. As a rule, the higher your urinary tract infection as traveled up your urinary system, the more serious that your condition has become.

Causes

You get urinary tract infections when bacteria normally found on the skin, in the intestinal tract or in the stool is spread into the urinary system through the urethra. This can happen any number ways, including normal sexual acts or everyday genital hygiene. If you are pregnant, you are more likely to develop UTIs because your uterus has been enlarged by the baby and pushes down on your bladder. As it pushes down on the bladder, it can block some of the urine from leaving your bladder. As the urine stagnates, it becomes a breeding ground for bacteria and leads to frequent UTIs.

Symptoms

The first sign of a urinary tract infection is often a burning sensation when you urinate or in your lower back. Bloody, cloudy or smell urine also indicates that something may be wrong.You may also develop an increased need to urinate or a sudden difficulty urinating. Both are common symptoms of a UTI. Also be on the lookout for intense cramps or pain in your lower back or lower abdomen.

Always see a physician to get a professional diagnosis if you think that something if you experience for these symptoms. If your doctor determines that you have a UTI after giving you urine test, he will most likely prescribe a course of antibiotics. You will be on antibiotics anywhere from one day to two weeks, depending on the seriousness of the infection.

Menopause

After menopause, a woman's chance of developing a UTI is much greater and you may even find yourself developing chronic UTIs. Hormonal changes associated with menopause can cause physical changes and make it easier to contract a urinary tract infection. Your bladder loses some of its elasticity and makes it harder for you to empty it completely, which can let bacteria grow there. Your urine acidity will also decline, killing fewer bacteria in your urinary tract.

Some menopausal women don't even realize that they have a UTI because their bodies are going through so many physical changes already. If you have any difficulties urinating or see a change in the appearance of your urine, you may have developed a UTI and should see your physician.

Home Remedies

Drink lots of water and other fluids to speed up your recovery from a urinary tract infection. Cranberries and other foods with high concentrations of antioxidants also prevent bacteria from attaching to the walls of the bladder and urethra. The bacteria are then flushed out of the urinary system as your urinate. Never hold your urine, as it can invite bacteria to take up residence in your bladder. And always wipe back to front after a bowel movement to avoid spreading bacteria to your urethra and the rest of urinary system. Cleaning your genitals thoroughly after sexual intercourse will also prevent bacteria from being spread around.

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