Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) is a common issue among women which is caused due to the unwanted growth of bacteria (generally E. Coli) in the urine. When the bacteria move up to the urinary tract, it may result in serious infection which is characterised by symptoms such as fever, nausea, chills, discomfort and burning sensation while passing urine. Earlier research also indicated certain habits that make you prone to UTIs.
In case, you are experiencing symptoms of UTI, consult your doctor immediately and take antibiotics to control the infection. Do not ignore the signs as ignorance can lead to health complications. Quite often, other infections such as Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) may be the actual cause of conception issues which may get confused with UTIs as their symptoms are similar.
The issue of urinary tract infections affects both men and women, but women are more vulnerable to UTIs as the female urinary tract is smaller as compared to men. Therefore, women have to take extra care to prevent UTIs.
* UTI and infertility
Urinary tract infection affects organs such as the kidney, liver, uterus and bladder that perform the function of waste removal while regulating the body temperature. If the infection persists or recurs frequently, especially affecting the upper tract (kidney, uterus, fallopian tubes), it might affect your ability to conceive.
This condition is also called as pelvic inflammatory disease which can damage the fallopian tubes severely. Chronic kidney disease can affect other parts of the body and may affect your health and ovulation process which may affect chances of conception.
UTI in males can also lead to infertility. Infections of genito-urinary tract may account for male infertility. The bacteria spreads across the prostate gland and other reproductive structures which may result in decreased sperm count and motility.
The infection can affect sites such as the testis, epididymis and male sex glands. Sometimes, other health conditions such as diabetes may result in UTIs and may lead to infertility. However, this issue can be treated with medication.
Tips to control UTI
Dr Priti Gupta, consultant fertility and IVF, First Step IVF Clinic, New Delhi, suggests simple precautions that can help you prevent UTI:
• Fluids are your best friend: Drink lots of water and take fluids that flush out toxins. Water dilutes the urine and makes it less acidic and lighter in colour. This way, the person will not experience abdominal pain or irritation while urinating.
• Maintain hygiene: Avoid using public washrooms as the infection spreads frequently in common utilities. You should wipe from front to back to prevent bacteria around the anus from entering the vagina or urethra.
• Frequent urination: Do not hold urine. Use washrooms whenever you feel the urge to go. This will not only release toxins but also eliminate heaviness of the bladder and give you relief from abdominal pain.
• Comfortable underwear: Do not wear tight underwear as the bacteria dwells in moist and warm environment. Change your undergarments regularly and maintain personal hygiene.
• Avoid using strong soaps, antiseptic creams, feminine hygiene sprays and powders.
• Increase the intake of Vitamin C and zinc to reduce bacterial growth in urine.