As much as we love winters, the cold season brings along with it a few spoilers. What top the list are dryness and dehydration. They are almost inescapable. You need to constantly remind yourself to hydrate and smear yourself with moisturisers to keep your skin supple. The cold wind doesn’t help even a single bit to keep the energy levels high, as the only thought that runs in your mind is to snuggle in some heated corner and warm up. You have to make the extra effort to take care of yourself and stay protected from all sorts of infections. A common one that affects a lot of people is Urinary Tract Infection (UTI).
So what is UTI? It is a bacterial infection that attacks the urinary tract, affecting the urinary bladder, kidneys, ureters or the urethra. Some of the common symptoms include persistent urge to urinate, a burning sensation while urinating, strong smelling urine, pelvic pain, cloudy urine, etc.
Dr. Anant Kumar, Chairman – Urology, Renal Transplant, Robotics and Uro-Oncology, Max Super Speciality Hospital, Saket, said, “Our bodies suffer from UTI in winters as we stop drinking water. While we can invest in any warm beverage rather than icy water when it comes to wintertime, it’s still critical to maintain the water intake. Consumption of less water, especially during winter is one of the main causes that worsen UTI.”
The Importance of Water
It’s not without reason that health experts advise us to drink good quantity of water daily, which includes minimum eight glasses of water. Water has many health benefits and is essential for the body – 70 per cent of our body is made up of water. Drinking water keeps the body hydrated, flushes out toxins, prevents constipations, boosts skin health and more.
Dehydration, on the other hand, can cause havoc in the system. During winters, we also like to indulge in fried and oily foods like pakoras and pizzas. These high calorie foods are held responsible for the burning sensation which is associated with UTI. The worst part is that people often shy away from seeking medical help and this worsens the condition.
How to Prevent:
According to Dr. Kumar, for preventing bladder infections the following lifestyle changes may help reduce or eliminate the occurrence of bladder infections:
1. Change underwear daily: Since women are more prone to infections, they should change their undergarments twice a day.
2. Don’t hold urine: Urinate as soon as you feel the need. Holding urine for long multiplies the bacteria, thus causes infection.
3. Wear cotton underwear: Cotton underwear’s are comfortable, especially for women as it helps keep the vagina dry. Synthetic underwear’s cause excessive friction, thus leading to discharge of fluid which causes irritability.
4. Don’t Use feminine hygiene sprays: The pH in the vagina regulates itself, and douching or spraying, changes the equilibrium.
5. Urinate before and after sexual activity: Urinating right after sex can help prevent the spread of faecal bacteria to the bladder and thus reduce the risk of UTIs. Men should pass urine each time after the sexual intercourse.