Was once enough?
No one would voluntarily choose to suffer a second bladder infection. What woman (or man) would want to repeat the burning, the abdominal pain, the frequent urination?
Whereas symptoms are reason enough to avoid a recurrence, the expense is also a significant concern. Although antibiotics to treat such an infection may run only $4, the cost of a doctor’s call plus urinalysis plus culture can easily amount to over $100. Preventing a bladder infection is certainly the best way to save money.
Here are 5 proven tips to lower your risk and save you money:
1. Drink plenty of fluids. Like any plumbing system, the urinary system does best when it is flushed frequently. Too little flow and the fluid stagnates, like a swamp. Aim to drink 8 glasses of water a daily to keep things clean and flowing, like a sparkling stream.
2. Avoid holding your urine. Some people hold their urine, especially when traveling, which allows the few germs that may be present to propagate. Bacteria within the bladder double every 20 minutes. If even one germ is present, in 1 hour there are 8, in 2 hours 64, in 3 hours 512, in 4 hours 4096, in 5 hours 32,768, and in 6 hours 262,144. The number of bacteria in the urine that is considered the threshold for diagnosing a urinary tract infection is 100,000 per cc. You can see how quickly an infection can take hold, if the bladder is not emptied regularly and allowed to ‘start fresh.’
3. Avoid bubble baths. Though a sweet-smelling bubble bath may smooth your skin and relax your body, the soap is an irritation to the urethral opening that leads to the bladder. Any time this sensitive area is irritated, germs may invade and infection result.
4. Urinate after intercourse. The term ‘honeymoon cystitis’ refers to a bladder infection that occurs after (presumably first or frequent) vaginal intercourse, which may cause both frictional irritation as well as local irritation. If the bladder is emptied soon afterward, the risk of infection is dramatically decreased.
5. Avoid antibiotics. Most women are aware that taking antibiotics predisposes to yeast infection. But the same mechanism that allows a yeast infection to occur may also produce a bladder infection. The microorganisms that are susceptible to a particular antibiotic are killed off, allowing other microbes to propagate. When one organism multiplies, it invades the surrounding tissues, causing symptomatic infection. Amoxicillin is probably the most commonly used antibiotic that may result in a urinary infection. (Sometimes amoxicillin actually helps a urine infection, however.)
© Cynthia J Koelker, MD – All rights reserved