Any woman who’s ever had a urinary tract infection can attest to the fact that it’s incredibly painful. In most cases when a woman gets a UTI, she books it to her doctor to get some antibiotics to clear up the infection so she can go on her merry way, especially her merry way back to her sex life. But a recent study has found that medication that’s prescribed to women for UTIs may have negative effects on your libido.
According to gastroenterologist Dr. Robynne Chutkan, certain antibiotics can really eff with gut microbiome, and when that happens your entire body can get messed up. Sure, you may be putting an end to the pain and inconvenience of have a UTI, but it’s costing you in more ways than one. In fact, those antibiotics could even be screwing up your sex drive, which no one wants, along with creating anxiety and autoimmune disorders you don’t need, bloating, and even brain fogginess.
As Chutkan explained in her piece for The Daily Beast: “Just five days of a broad-spectrum antibiotic can destroy up to one third of your essential microbes —and there’s no guarantee they’ll ever all come back.” Chutkan finds this to be most especially the case in women who take medication to prevent the onset of post-sex UTIs in the first place. It’s a vicious cycle, isn’t it?
Because your next urinary tract infection just might be a day or two away, it’s time to load up on facts about them. Here are seven things to know about UTIs.
1. UTI Meds Decrease Necessary Vaginal Microbes
As Chutkan found in her research, antibiotics used to treat or prevent UTIs can decrease bacteria Lactobacillus, which is the necessary bacterium you need in your vagina to keep things working properly. This particular bacterium protects women from sexually transmitted diseases, yeast infections, and other possible complications.
2. Sex Is The Biggest Thing To Blame When It Comes To UTIs
If you think your hygiene has anything to do with your UTI, you’re way off base. The biggest factor in women getting UTIs is sex, because our urethra is adjacent to our vagina, so that vaginal bacterium, even the good stuff, get in the urethra and creates problems. Thanks to our vagina, which is usually our best friend, women are 10 times more likely to get UTIs than men. Thanks, vag!
3. You Actually Don’t Always Need Antibiotics To Fight UTIs
According to Chutkan, the last century has been dedicated to fighting off microbes in our bodies without the true realization that some of those microbes are our buddies. Because that’s the case and the human body is pretty much the perfect machine, urinary tract infections can often go away on their own, because your body fights them on its own terms. However, there is the off chance that a UTI could go rogue and head straight for your kidneys, so it’s always best to be safe than sorry and go see your doctor.
4. Cranberry Juice Is Your BFF When It Comes To UTIs
Studies have found that cranberries, thanks to their sulfuric acid, are a major asset when it comes to keeping UTIs at bay, so much so that women who ingest cranberry products on a daily basis get to enjoy the lower risk of getting the infection after 12 months. While 12 months may seem like a long time, there’s not time like the present to amp up your cranberry intake, especially those of you who suffer from recurrent UTIs.
5. Diaphragms Increase Your UTI Risk
Although diaphragms may seem like something your mother or grandmother used as a means to avoid getting pregnant, there are still women out there who prefer them as their main form of birth control. But the problem with the diaphragm is it presses against the urethra while it’s in place and, therefore, can create issues. Basically, if you’re someone who’s prone to UITs and you’re considering using a diaphragm, you may want to reconsider.
6. You Can't Pass A UTI
While sex may be a leading factor in why women get UTIs, it is, in no way, a sexually transmitted infection, which means it can be contracted from someone or given to someone. You may want to blame your partner for “giving” you a UTI, but he technically didn’t.
7. UTIs Are The Most Common Complaint For Women After Recovering From The Flu
According to 2013 study results published in the New York Times, for women of reproductive years the biggest complaint after getting over a cold or the flu is having a UTI. But since you’ve been sick and probably not having sex, it can seem a little perplexing, right? In this case, the reason for your UTI is due to the medication you took when you were sick.
A 2014 study by Harvard found that antihistamines and decongestants are the enemy when it comes to keeping your body free of UTIs, because they force the body to hang onto urine that should be expelled. As much as you might need that NyQuil to sleep, you need to weigh the pros and cons of it ― maybe a shot of whiskey before bed is a better option, because whiskey never gave anyone a UTI.
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