Lime Creek

For Women of a "Certain" Age
Ways to Avoid Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs)

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.)

If you find you are still getting UTI's even when using the above steps, then it is time to see your doctor. First have the doctor (urologist or OB/GYN) verify there is no physical issue. Your doctor may recommend an estrogen cream to smear in the genital area to fix the pH problem. (The cream makes the area less basic/more acid so it is unattractive to the bacteria.) My doctor only has me apply it once a week and it seems to have helped. If they don't suggest the estrogen cream ask them about it because many doctors don't know about this. I learned about it from my urologist, but my internist didn't know about it.

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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