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Are we feeding the UTI monster?

Causes, Symptoms, Prevention and Natural Remedies

What we know

Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs) are most often caused by germs, usually bacteria, when they get into our bladder, which is part of our urinary tract. 

What we don’t know

This is how we put ourselves at risk of Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs).

Certain habits of ours lead to more germs, usually bacteria, getting into our bladder. This inadvertently increases our chances of contracting UTIs.

Today, Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) is one of the most popular search topics. Why is that?

That is because Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) is now a very common infection among women in Singapore. Unfortunately for many, urinary tract infection can become a recurrent nightmare.

Here are some statistics to gauge your likelihood of contracting UTIs.

Based on Singapore General Hospital (SGH):

  • 1 in 5 women aged 20-65 experience UTI at least once per year
  • 1 in 2 women experience UTI at least once in their lifetime.

The severity of the UTI depends on how far it has spread. It is the easiest to treat in the lower urinary tract (usually the initial phase) and much harder to treat in the upper urinary tract (usually the later phase).

The upper urinary tract consists of:

  • Kidneys
  • Ureters

The lower urinary tract consists of:

  • Bladder
  • Urethra

When UTI spreads to the upper urinary tract, there is a higher chance for it to spread to your blood, hence making UTI dangerous and possibly life-threatening.

Learning to recognize what the common UTI symptoms are can help you identify and stop the infection at its early stage.

Symptoms of Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)

While it is not uncommon for women having UTIs to experience no symptoms, here are some UTI symptoms one may expect:

In addition to the above, one may also experience severe abdominal pain due to UTI.

A doctor visit is highly recommended if the above symptoms persist.

4 Common UTI Risk Factors

1. Menopause

The decrease in estrogen levels during menopause eventually leads to an increase in “bad” bacteria in your vagina (vulva). This in turn increases your susceptibility to UTIs.

Additionally, menopausal changes such as pelvic organ prolapse, urinary leakage aka incontinence and the inability to fully empty our bladders elevate the risk of contracting UTIs.

2. Hygiene – Daily and During Menses

A study specific to women found that poor menstrual hygiene increases women’s susceptibility to Urinary Tract Infection (UTI), Bacterial Vaginosis (BV), and Reproductive Tract Infection (RTI).

The study also noted that practices to ensure menstrual hygiene are mostly dependent on the products women use for menstrual blood absorption.

Learn how to choose your menstrual pads to keep UTIs at bay.

3. Sexual Intercourse

Research has established a clear link between sex and UTIs. Sexual activities can introduce bacteria up the urethra and into the bladder, encouraging UTIs.

A study in 2015 found that occurrences of UTI are strongly associated with sexual hygiene. For example, simply washing both parties’ genitals before and after sex lowers the chances of UTI.

4. Medical conditions

For instance, patients with diabetes are almost two times more likely to contract UTIs than people without diabetes as sugar in our urine promotes bacterial growth.

Disorders that can result in our inability to empty our bladders fully elevate the risk of us contracting UTIs.

Other medical conditions that lower our immunity also indirectly increase our chances of having UTIs.

Preventive Measures and Natural UTI Remedies

As listed above, the causes of UTIs can generally be traced down to bacterial and fungal growth – approximately 80 percent of UTIs are caused by the E-coli bacteria.

Below, you will learn 7 natural ways on how to prevent and solve urinary tract infections.

1. Drink more water!

As cliche as it may sound, drinking more water reduces urinary tract infections as proven by a controlled trial conducted in 2020.

Drinking more water leads to more urination. This flushes out bacteria from the urinary tract before infections can begin. Limit alcohol and caffeinated drinks as they may irritate your bladder.

How much water is enough?

It is recommended that you drink at least 2 liters per day.

2. Don’t hold your urine.

Holding your urine encourages bacterial growth. Try not to wait more than 4 hours before urinating and fully empty your bladder each time.

This reduces the chances of you getting urinary tract infections as a result of bacterial infections.

3. Choose your menstrual products wisely.

Unfortunately for women, there is no strict law in Singapore regulating our most intimate menstrual products.

Hence, we have to educate ourselves by learning more about what we are using as some menstrual products contain chemicals and substances that encourage:

  1. Bacterial and fungal growth
  2. Disruption of our vagina’s pH balance
  3. Medical conditions, possibly critical illnesses

4. Avoid these products

Scented Sanitary Pads

The vagina has a natural pH balance that can be destabilized by chemicals from these products. Once the balance is destabilized, harmful bacteria are allowed to overgrow. This leads to UTIs, bacterial vaginosis and fungal infections.

Tampons

Using them is akin to asking for bacteria buildup in your system. In fact, all tampons come with a life-risk warning, stating that they can result in Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS) – a rare but life-threatening condition due to an overgrowth of bacteria.

Found the tips above useful? Learn how to choose your sanitary pads here.

5. Avoid these feminine products too!

Your urethra can be irritated when you use the following products around your v-zone. 

  • Deodorant sprays
  • Perfumes
  • Vaginal douches
  • Powders
  • Soaps and detergents
  • Bath oils

Similar to scented sanitary pads and scented pantyliners, the above products may contain chemicals and substances that can disrupt your vagina’s pH balance, thereby promoting the growth of harmful bacteria.

6. Wipe from front to back.

The proximity between our anus and vagina contributes to why Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) is more common in females.

Make sure you wipe from front to back after urinating and after you poop. This prevents the bacteria spreading from the anus to the vagina and urethra.

7. Do these before and after sex.

You can lower the risk of contracting UTI by urinating before and after sex. This helps to flush out UTI-causing bacteria.

Gently wash your genital area before and after sex to lower the possibility of bacteria entering your urinary system through your urethra.

IF YOU ARE HAVING UTI NOW,

It is recommended that you make an appointment with a doctor to have it treated.

If you have recurring Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs), we also recommend that you use Alchemy sanitary pads and pantyliners to keep your v-zone free of bacteria as much as possible to reduce infection. This helps to reduce UTI recurrence rate.

UTI may seem like a common issue that most women bear with, but if the infection persists and develops in severity, the price can be too big to ignore.

Such complications can include permanent kidney damage, problems during pregnancy, and life-threatening infections. So please do see a doctor before it worsens.

Meanwhile, you can also learn how to reduce the severity of your UTI through your choice of pads here!

Elisabeth,
Be Transformed. Period.

Commonly Asked Questions

The 2 main reasons are

  1.  A woman’s urethra, which carries urine from the bladder to out of the body, is shorter than a man’s. This means bacteria has a shorter distance to travel to infect the bladder.
  2. The urethra is located close to the anus which carries lot of bacteria e.g. E.Coli.


Other risk factors can be found here.

UTI is usually a bacterial infection. In fact, around 65% to 75% of UTIs are caused by the E.Coli bacteria. In rarer cases, they can be fungal or viral infections.

UTI can be dangerous when they infect the upper urinary tract. Complications may include permanent kidney damage, miscarriage and sepsis.

UTI symptoms may include abdominal pain, cloudy urine and increased urinary frequency. For more symptoms, you can refer to this list.

UTI treatments usually involves the use of antibiotics by doctors. In addition to that, here are other preventive measures you can take.

  1. Drink plenty of water to flush out the bacteria.
  2. Avoid using products laced with chemicals on your vagina. E.g. douches, scented pads, deodorants.


Refer to this for more natural home remedies and preventive measures you can take.

If you are on antibiotics, symptoms usually subside after 3-5 days. Please ensure that you complete the whole course of antibiotics.

UTI recurrence rate varies from person-to-person due to varying physiologies and hygiene levels. It was reported by Harvard that 1 in 4 women, who had UTI, will have another infection within 6 months.

On top of the ways listed above, you can lower the chances of UTIs by killing bacteria around your v-zone through the use of Alchemy sanitary pads and pantyliners.

If you have any other questions, you can contact us via
1. WhatsApp
2. Email su*****@al**********.com
3. Drop us a message here.

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    About Alchemy

    Hi I’m Elisabeth, the founder of Alchemy. We are determined to improve the state of women’s health and have been conducting health talks in schools and companies for the past 11 years.

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      Prevent & Reduce UTIs?

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