Typically women get more UTIs as they age. This is because of changes
to our bodies. As women get older, we tend to have less estrogen. This causes two issues:
1) It changes the pH of our genital areas making it more agreeable to bacteria. 2) It causes
the vagina to atrophy or collapse which creates more bacteria friendly space between the urethra (where we pee) and
the anus (source of fecal bacteria.) To complicate matters, as we age we
often develop small anal fissures.
Oh, and of course our immune system gets weaker with age. Really, what fun!
Since no one wants the spend their life taking antibiotics, these are things I have learned that help to avoid UTIs. (Because my breast cancer was hormone positive, I had to take "anti" hormone drugs so I experienced the hormone issues at a much younger age than most.)
- Keep hydrated If your urine isn't fairly light in color you should be drinking more.
- Keep the area super clean.
Keep the area near the urethra very clean. Always wipe with toilet paper from front to back, using a clean piece or section each time. When you poop, after you clean yourself with paper, use wet flushable wipes or baby wipes (not flushable) for the final clean. Even if you aren't getting UTI's this is a good idea.
- Wear breathable underwear and slacks Cotton underwear is best. Cotton, rayon or linen slacks.
- Take cranberry pills.
If you find you are getting UTI's, cranberry has been shown to help prevent bacteria from attaching to the bladder wall. Choose the "one a day" cranberry pills to keep it simple. I have found them at CVS, WalMart and Costco. In fact if you are getting symptoms you can even take one twice a day for a week or two and see if that clears it up.
Despite all of this I still occasionally get a UTI but it usually is less than one a year, which is pretty good.
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