Burning, pain and frequent urge to pee are the alarm bells that 1 in 2 women already know what they are referring to: cystitis. Symptoms of urinary bladder infection often come on violently, and in some cases they can occur several times a year. In the summer, some known factors can increase the risk of urinary bladder infection, but preventing it is possible. We talk about it with the doctor Roberto Musci urologist in Humanitas San Pio X.
What is cystitis and why is it so common in women?
Cystitis is a bladder infection caused by bacteria that typically live in the intestines. When they manage to reach the bladder through the urethra, that tube-shaped organ that allows urine to escape, they colonize the urinary tract, inflame it and give rise to cystitis.
Women suffer from it more than men, why?
In fact, it is estimated that urinary tract infections, especially cystitis, are 50 times more frequent in women than in men, especially if sexually active and of childbearing age. It is probably due to the fact that in women there are several predisposing factors for cystitis, such as the anatomy of the lower genital tract that positions the female urethra, shorter than the male one, a short distance from the genital and anal orifices, increasing the risk of contamination by vaginal and intestinal germs, or hormonal changes, even in pregnancy and menopause, or changes in vaginal pH or the immune system. Finally, constipation and irritable colon, more frequent in women, can cause frequent cystitis.
What are the symptoms?
Cystitis does not always manifest itself with the same symptoms in every person. The most common, however, are burning when urinating, increased frequency of urge to pee, pain in the lower abdomen, hips and bladder, sometimes nausea, vomiting, fever, and blood in the urine. From the bladder, the infection can also extend to the kidneys, often with very intense symptoms.
What are the “summer” behaviors at risk of cystitis?
Lifestyle also affects urinary health, and can increase the chances of cystitis. For example, drink little, have a diet rich in sugars, delaying the moment of urination, that is, holding on to pee for a long time, or wearing fitted dresses, such as tight pants and jeans, or synthetic underwear, are bad habits at any time of the year, but especially in summer when you are more at risk of dehydration due to the heat. Even some habits, such asuse of tampons, cigarette smoke or the use of harsh cleaners for intimate hygiene they are risky behaviors.
Any advice to prevent cystitis?
It can start by correcting bad habits, such as diet, hydration, hygiene, and associating the use of prebiotics and probiotics, especially for women who suffer from constipation or intestinal balance disturbances. Important is the intake of foods rich in fibers and slags such as wholemeal bread, cooked fruit, cooked leafy vegetables that help regulate the intestine. Finally, drink plenty of water because in addition to the necessary hydration, it also helps to disinfect the urinary tract.
Here are some simple tips :
- use cotton linen,
- do not use tight-fitting clothes,
- in summer, on the beach, do not stay long on the shoreline with a wet costume, which can cause an alteration of the natural defenses and expose you to a greater risk of irritation
- after each sea bath, it is advisable to rinse immediately with fresh water in order to avoid irritation caused by saltiness
- do not sit directly on the sand to avoid the transmission and growth of harmful germs,
- also avoid sitting on the edges of swimming pools or on changing room benches and toilet boards,
- alternate external pads with internal pads for adequate intimate comfort,
- when the tampon is used more, it is advisable to change it often;
- it is never advisable to exceed 6-8 hours between one change and another, it is advisable not to wash more than 3 times a day, except in case of menstruation (washing at each change of sanitary napkin) or intense sporting activity,
- always use personal towels,
- the cleansing of the private parts must be carried out with delicate detergents that are well tolerated by the mucosa
- the ideal detergent is the liquid detergent with a dispenser because it is more practical, with a slightly acidic pH, clinically tested and possibly containing an antiseptic
Drink herbal tea with some of these substances, without exceeding (1 liter / g per 15g)
– cranberry (contraindicated in those who take anticoagulants, gastritis, diabetes, hyperuricemia)
– pendulous birch (contraindicated in those who take anticoagulants, barbiturates, hypotensives and allergy to salicylates)
– goldenrod (contraindicated in those who take diuretics)
– orthosiphon (contraindicated in those taking diuretics and hypotensive drugs)
– bearberry (contraindicated in gastritis)
Are there any foods to avoid?
In summer, but the rule applies all year round, even better limit carbonated drinks and alcohol, especially if you are predisposed to cystitis, or if the cystitis is relapsing. Furthermore, rreduce the consumption of chocolate, spicy foods, spices, pork and cold cuts and fresh cheeses. Among vegetables, however, it is advisable to limit the consumption of cucumbers is legumes, as well as crucifers (cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower) and mushrooms.
On the other hand, foods useful to restore a correct vaginal pH are foods such as: yogurt, lemon, cranberry juice, edamame (soy beans, are phytoestrogens), flax seeds, avocado, pumpkin seeds, sweet potatoes.