Cystitis in pregnancy is a urinary tract infection. It is important not to underestimate it and it is recommended to undergo a urine test.
Cystitis in pregnancy
Escherichia coli is a bacterium physiologically present in large quantities in the intestine of both men and women and which, under normal conditions, coexists without problems with the intestinal bacterial flora. However, if its concentration increases and bacteria invade the urethra, it can give rise to an infection commonly known as cystitis. What does it mean to have cystitis in pregnancy?
In this article
Cystitis: women are more predisposed
“Cystitis it particularly favors the female sex, especially in childbearing age “points out Irene Cetin, head of the OU of obstetrics and gynecology at the Luigi Sacco Hospital in Milan and Professor of the University of Milan.” In fact, women proximity between intestine and urethra, which makes bacterial colonization of the urinary tract easier. In addition, during the fertile life, the increase in estrogen hormones and the frequency of sexual intercourse, which increase the possibility of infections. “
Cystitis: the risk increases during pregnancy
During pregnancy, additional risk factors are associated: the increased production of progesterone slows bowel movements favoring constipation and this leads to a fecal stasis which favors bacterial proliferation; moreover, it is easier to meet a dehydration, which on the one hand makes it more difficult to hibernate, on the other hand it makes the urine more concentrated and richer in bacteria.
Finally, the hormonal changes of pregnancy they modify the pH of the urinary tract, which becomes less hostile to the entry and proliferation of bacteria from the intestine.
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How does an E. Coli infection manifest?
- burning while urinating
- more frequent urge to urinate
- low amount of urine
- less frequent, blood in the urine and fever
The classic symptom of an E. coli infection is burning while urinating, especially towards the end of urination, to which pollakiuria is added, that is a more frequent urge to urinate associated with a low quantity of urine emitted.
Less frequently, it can appear blood in the urine and fever. Sometimes, however, i symptoms are more nuanced and the woman may not notice the infection, given that during pregnancy it is easy for the urge to urinate to increase, especially in the last months
How cystitis is identified and treated
If the woman feels discomfort, the doctor will prescribe a urinalysis with urine culture, which allows to ascertain the presence of Escherichia coli or other germs (cystitis in fact, less frequently, can also be determined by other pathogens) and prescribe the antibiotic more suitable to eradicate them, compatible with the state of pregnancy.
“Escherichia coli, as well as other forms of cystitis, it should not be neglected during pregnancy, since the bladder is very close to the uterus and the inflammatory stimulus could cause the uterus to contract, increasing the risk of premature birth “stresses Irene Cetin.” Precisely for this reason, even in the absence of symptoms, it is more important than ever to carry out the monthly urinalysis that is routinely required of all pregnant women “.
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How to prevent cystitis
Some lifestyle habits can be very effective for prevent cystitis, especially if you have already suffered from the discomfort before pregnancy and are known to be predisposed to the problem.
Drink more. It is the first and most effective rule for preventing cystitis, as it decreases the concentration of bacteria in the urine.
Take care of intimate hygiene. After the evacuation, care must be taken to wash from front to back, so as not to bring stool residues and therefore intestinal microbes towards the uro-genital system.
Do not hold the urine for a long time, to avoid the stagnation of bacteria in the bladder.
Counteract constipation by following a diet rich in fiber and practicing regular physical activity permitted during pregnancy.
Limit spicy foods, coffee, chocolate, spices and alcohol, as they contain acidifying substances that irritate the intestines and therefore cause inflammation.
Avoid synthetic underwear and tight clothing, which do not allow transpiration and facilitate bacterial proliferation.
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Cystitis: The effectiveness of blueberry and bearberry is not proven
It has long been argued that the antioxidants present in cranberry and bearberry have a protective function against Escherichia coli infections, since they reduce the pH of the urine and hinder the adhesion of the bacterium to the walls of the bladder. “Although these are harmless supplements in pregnancy, at the moment there is no solid scientific evidence of their effectiveness” concludes prof. Cetin.