Do you feel a little anxious during winter months because you could be a little more prone to Urinary Tract Infections? While it is proven that cold temperatures can cause this condition, there are preventative measures you can take to deal with it effectively.
In this article, you will discover more about Cold weather and how to avoid Urinary Tract infections.
How does Winter Cause UTI?
Winter not only leads to some respiratory problems and dry skin but also UTI.i Many studies have established the link between UTIs and cold weather, where UTIs are often a result of cold-induced diuresis.ii Cold diureses are your body’s way of preventing hypothermia by decreasing blood flow to your skin and concentrating it around your organs to keep them warm.
When the blood vessels constrict to allow more blood flow around your internal organs. As a result, more blood will flow through your body, specifically through your kidneys. When your kidneys have more waste to filter out of your blood, they end up producing more urine than their normal capacity. Thus, you experience an increased urge to urinate when it’s cold.
Symptoms of urinary tract infections
However, if you don’t stay hydrated during winter, your kidneys won’t have enough fluids to filter waste. And waste that stays long in your urinary system can result in a bladder infection. The common signs and symptoms of UTIs are as follows:iii
- Increased urination
- Burning sensation or discomfort in the lower abdomen while urinating
- Unable to empty your bladder completely
- Foul urine odour
- Blood in urine
- Cloudy or dark urine
Additionally, cold weather can not only cause UTIs but also exacerbate underlying lower urinary tract problems like residual urine, urge incontinence, and excessive nighttime urination.iv
What to Do to prevent urinary tract infections in winter?
Luckily, a urinary tract infection as a result of cold-induced diuresis is preventable. Follow these 7 tips how to prevent UTI:
- Drink 8 glasses of water each day. Keeping yourself hydrated will help your urinary system flush toxic waste effectively.
- Don’t hold it in for too long. Urinate as soon as you feel the urge to go to the bathroom to reduce your risk of bladder infection.
- Personal Hygiene: After visiting the toilet it is important to ensure you have cleaned your genital area thoroughly, wiping front to back to prevent infection.
- Wear cotton underwear. Cotton is a breathable fabric that allows your crotch area to stay dry. Trapping too much moisture in that area can make an excellent breeding ground for disease-causing bacteria.
- Increase your Vitamin C intake.v This immune system booster can provide protection against UTI. It works by increasing the level of acidity of your urine, eradicating the bacteria that can cause infections. Of course, fruits and veggies like oranges, kiwi, red peppers, and grapefruit are the best way to increase your daily Vitamin C intake.
- Include D-mannose in your diet. It is a type of sugar that is being used as a nutritional supplement for people with active and frequent UTIs. It has antibacterial properties that can stop E. coli from latching on to cells in the urinary tract. Based on a study, D-mannose can help lower the risk of increased infection in women who had frequent UTIs.vi With that said, it can also help prevent urinary-related infections. However, proper dosage is an important factor in the effective treatment of UTI so check with your doctor before taking one.
- Eat cranberries. Raw cranberries and cranberry juice have always been used as a natural remedy for UTIs. This fruit is rich in proanthocyanidins, a chemical compound that can prevent bacteria (e.g. E. Coli) from attaching themselves to your bladder.vii Thus, cranberries can thwart a possible bladder infection and reduce UTI frequency.
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*All the tips provided in this article are generally applicable, we suggest you take necessary advice from your healthcare professional before.