Preventing Urinary Tract Infections During the Summer Seasons
Summer is peak season for urinary tract infections (UTI), and the chances of you having a bladder infection are 46% higher during the summer months. This is mainly due to the fact that many people experience dehydration during the summer, which is a major predisposing factor for UTIs.
Dehydration during the summer months provides the perfect opportunity for bacteria to grow and thrive in your bladder, causing urinary tract infections. If you notice that you are not going to the restroom as frequently or if your urine is dark-colored, then you probably are dehydrated.
Tips on how to prevent UTIs
Here are some ways to prevent summer dehydration and urinary tract infections, and urinary tract infection treatments:
- Drink plenty of water daily. Drinking water prevents dehydration, so it is recommended that you drink around 8-ouce glasses or 2 liters daily. The amount of water recommended to consume may increase depending on the engagement of activity or exposure to hot environments.
- Cut down on caffeine. Caffeine is known to cause bladder irritation, and as a result, may worsen the symptoms associated with a urinary tract infection.
- Avoid excessive alcohol consumption. This is like caffeine, but much worse. Not only does alcohol cause bladder irritations and promote dehydration, but it can also cause problems with kidneys. Thus, if the UTI is left untreated, it may lead to severe complications with your health. In other words, do not drink an excessive amount of alcohol when you are suffering from symptoms of a UTI.
- Avoid sugary food and drinks. This is also similar to caffeine. Sugar may also cause bladder irritation, and may aggravate the symptoms associated with a UTI.
- Re-hydrate often especially after exercises or periods of intense heat. Exercise and prolonged exposure to intense heat will cause dehydration, so it is best to prepare and carry a cold water bottle refreshment around with you to avoid such problems.
- Drink cranberry juice (the 100% juice kind, not the cocktail flavored, which is mainly sugar water). It was initially believed that drinking cranberry juice helps reduce the risk of UTIs but recent studies show that cranberry juice, or cranberry products (such as tablets or capsules) are not really helpful. However, drinking cranberry juice will help with keeping hydrated and can assist with UTI discomfort, but they should never be used as a form of treatment or a substitute for antibiotics.
- Urinate when you have the urge to do so and do not hold your urine for a prolonged period. Holding in urine when you need to urinate allows bacteria to build up in your bladder, so the longer you hold your urine, the higher the chance you will ultimately succumb to a UTI.
When to Seek Immediate Medical Attention
Seek medical attention immediately if you experience any of the following symptoms:
- Pain or burning when you urinate
- Bleeding while urinating – pink, rose, or red urine
- Urge to urinate frequently but only passing small amounts of urine
- Pain or feeling of heaviness in your lower abdomen
- Foul-smelling or cloudy urine
- Fever and chills
- Nausea or vomiting
- Constant severe pain in the back just below the rib cage or on one side of the body
Most urinary tract infections are bladder infections and are usually not serious if treated right away. However, if left untreated, they can spread to your kidneys and can lead to kidney infections, which can cause serious, permanent, and irreversible damage if not treated promptly.
For more beneficial health information, check out our other health blogs.