Avoid UTIs This Summer

Avoid UTIs This Summer

Dehydration Increases the Risk of UTIs, but Summer Fun Doesn’t Have to Suffer

Dehydration is not just about feeling thirsty, it brings about a multitude of risks, including an increased likelihood of developing urinary tract infections (UTIs). Dr. Maude Carmel, a urology specialist at UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, explains that during the summer, inadequate fluid intake, coupled with the scorching heat waves, can lead to more cases of UTIs. As she puts it, “Dehydration is a leading risk factor for UTIs.”

But fear not, for there are ways to enjoy summer to the fullest while reducing the risk of UTIs. Dr. Carmel suggests a few simple tips to stay hydrated, avoid UTIs, and continue having fun. First and foremost, it’s crucial to drink at least two liters (68 ounces) of fluids daily. By keeping yourself well-hydrated, you lessen the chances of developing a UTI.

Additionally, urinating frequently can also help in preventing UTIs. Dr. Carmel advises individuals to use the bathroom at least every three hours. This practice allows for the elimination of bacteria that may have entered the urinary tract.

Another valuable piece of advice is to avoid constipation. This might seem unrelated, but constipation can put pressure on the bladder and increase the risk of UTIs. Taking steps to maintain regular bowel movements can indirectly alleviate the risk of urinary tract infections.

Furthermore, it is essential to urinate after intercourse. This helps flush out any bacteria that may have been introduced during sexual activity. By following this habit, you minimize the chances of bacteria lingering in the urinary tract.

Although cranberry supplements are known to contribute to UTI prevention, cranberry juice alone is not potent enough to treat UTIs. Dr. Carmel suggests that while cranberry juice can reduce the risk of infection, it is too diluted to effectively combat UTIs.

Spotting the signs of a urinary tract infection is crucial for timely treatment. Symptoms may include a burning sensation or pain during urination, increased urinary frequency, urgency, and the presence of blood in the urine. However, it’s important to note that many other conditions can mimic UTI symptoms, making an accurate diagnosis vital. Dr. Carmel stresses the significance of a urine culture for confirming a UTI, as a urinalysis or dipstick test alone may not be sufficient.

If you suspect a urinary tract infection, it is advisable to consult a primary care physician. For those experiencing frequent UTIs (more than three a year), a urologist can help identify potential underlying causes and assess additional risks through further testing.

Remember, summer is meant to be enjoyed, and with a few precautionary steps, the risk of UTIs can be minimized without sacrificing the joy and fun of the season.

More Information

The U.S. National Library of Medicine provides further information on urinary tract infections.

SOURCE: UT Southwestern news release


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