Although both men and women can suffer from urinary tract infections (UTIs), they are far more common in women. In fact, half of all women will experience at least one UTI in their life, and of those, 25-30% develop recurrent infections unrelated to any functional or anatomical abnormality of the urinary tract. A common bacterial infection, there are many myths around UTIs.
- MYTH: CRANBERRY JUICE WILL CURE MY UTI
Cranberry juice as a cure for UTLs is probably the most widely believed myth about the treatment of UTI’s. While it may taste great, cranberry juice is not an effective treatment or preventative method for a UTI. There are varying results in research studies conducted regarding the effectiveness of cranberry juice in preventing UTIs, said Dr Laura Martin, a female pelvic medicine specialist at the University of Miami Health System. However, most studies don’t support drinking cranberry juice for the prevention of UTIs as it does not contain a high concentration of proanthocyanidins (PAC), the substance found in cranberry juice that is linked to urinary health.
- MYTH: UTIS ARE SEXUALLY TRANSMITTED
While it is true that sexual intercourse can increase a patient’s risk for getting a UTI, it is not, however, a sexually transmitted infection. The short distance between the anus and the urethra makes it easy for UTI-causing bacteria to travel up the urinary tract, especially with increased activity in the genital area. Engaging in sex does not cause or transmit UTIs, and as such UTI’s are not contagious. Patients can prevent having sex-related UTI by emptying the bladder immediately after sex to ensure that any bacteria that may have travelled up the urethra or bladder will be flushed out.
- MYTH: POOR HYGIENE CAUSES UTIS
According to Dr Martin E.coli, Enterococcus, Staphylococcus, Pseudomonas, or Klebsiella bacteria are the most common causes of UTIs and bladder infections. Urine is not sterile and an imbalance in the bladder bacteria or urobiome is the more likely cause. As a result, when an imbalance occurs, a patient may experience a UTI. Dr Elodi Dielubanza, the associate surgeon with the Division of Urology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, said that although general hygiene practices are important, UTIs are not caused by the direction in which a patient wipes after urinating, the use of tampons, or wearing tight-fitting pants. “A lot of patients express concern about these, but studies have shown there is no association between these practices and UTIs.”
- MYTH: UTIS ARE NOT A BIG DEAL
It is advised that patient’s seek medical attention for a UTI as soon as possible with early diagnosis and treatment the key to making a speedy recovery. It is true that most UTIs can be treated effectively with antibiotics and a patient will return to feeling normal, however, a delay in treatment can spread to the kidneys and other parts of the body. For pregnant patients, a UTI might increase the risk of delivering prematurely or low birth weight. The infection can also spread to the kidneys and other parts of your body.