Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are among the most common bacterial infections in women. They are so common that it’s thought about 50% of women have had a urinary tract infection. Having a UTI is extremely painful and inconvenient. In this article, we’re going to answer some questions about UTIs, including whether there’s a relationship between UTIs and your period.
What causes a UTI?
UTIs are caused by bacteria, usually E. coli. The bacteria move from the vaginal area and anus and get into the urinary tract and cause a UTI. Sex is one of the triggers for UTIs. If you get a UTI, you should see a doctor immediately. They will give you the right antibiotics that will get rid of the infection and ensure it does not get worse.
What can you do to avoid a UTI?
There are several things you can do to avoid a UTI including drinking the recommended amount of water, wiping yourself from front to back, and peeing after sex. Peeing after sex helps flush out any bacteria that entered the urinary tract during sex.
For some women, doing all the above is not enough because they are simply more prone to getting UTIs. If you still get UTIs after doing all the above, incorporate foods and drinks that alkalize your urine after sex. Doing this improves the chances of flushing out stubborn bacteria in your urinary tract.
Is there a correlation between your period and UTIs?
Although having a UTI shouldn’t affect your periods, some factors link them together. These include stress, hormonal imbalance, hygiene, and sex.
Most pads and tampons trap heat and moisture, and if they aren’t changed regularly, they provide the perfect conditions for bacterial growth which increases the probability of getting a UTI. It’s important to remember that using tampons does not directly cause UTIs. However, if you already have a UTI, you should try to avoid using a tampon as using one can make the symptoms worse.
To avoid a UTI during your period, hygiene is very important. This entails using pads and tampons that are free of dyes and parabens and that have the right absorbency level for you, changing them regularly (do not use a single tampon for more than six hours), and staying clean and dry.
As mentioned above, sex is one of the most common triggers for a UTI. The reason why it might seem like there is a correlation between periods and UTIs is that some women engage in more sex when on their period. This is because they know there is less risk of getting pregnant. Having sex during your period can reduce menstrual cramps, but it also aggravates the urethra more and this will increase the chances of getting a UTI.
Can UTIs cause an irregular cycle or delay your period?
It can be quite stressful having an irregular cycle or a late period, especially if you have a UTI around when you usually get your period.
We already know that UTIs do not directly cause late or missed periods. However, periods and UTIs have stress in common. When a woman is under great physical or emotional stress, it is possible to miss their period or for it to come late. Chronic diseases, especially those that are left unmanaged and untreated, can cause enough stress that affects your period. Also, although very unlikely, a UTI can stress you enough to cause you to miss your period.
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Photo: Loren Biser via Unplash.