Yeast Infections In Women
Every womans vagina has a delicate balance of live bacteria and yeast cells. When this balance is thrown off, yeast cells can multiply, which leads to a yeast infection in womens vaginas and vulva. The most common bacteria found in a healthy vagina are Lactobacillus acidophilus and help keep yeast levels in check. These bacteria moderate the growth of yeast cells and help susceptible parts of your body fight off infection. You will most likely notice when this balance is thrown off because the overproduction of yeast can cause an array of uncomfortable symptoms.
What To Eat When You Have Bladder Pain
It can be hard, with just a list of things you can’t have, to figure out what to eat. There are plenty of foods you can still eat.
- Any meat, poultry, fish, or shellfish is OK, except cured meats like bacon or salami.
- Most vegetables other than tomatoes, onions, or hot peppers are fine.
- You can still eat bread, other than rye and sourdough.
- Dairy foods including milk, butter, cottage cheese, American cheese, and vanilla ice cream work. You can start adding some of the milder aged cheeses in small amounts once you start feeling better.
- Pasta, rice, and most cereals are OK.
- Salads can be a problem because of the dressing, but you can try them with herb-infused olive oil and coarse salt.
When you feel better, start slowly adding back foods one at a time. It can be tempting to just go back to your regular eating pattern, but you don’t want to have to start over. I started with a little mayonnaise on my sandwich because I really missed it. Add one food at a time, and take it very slowly.
Most vegetables, meats, breads, and dairy products will be fine.
Fertility Awareness May Work For Committed Couples
Know your cycle well? All you may need to do is use a barrier method, such as a condom, during the days that youre fertile. Preventing pregnancy through fertility awareness can be done by tracking your cycle on a calendar, monitoring your cervical mucus, and taking your body temperature.
Fertility Awareness Pros: You can forget about prescriptions, devices, and taking hormones with this natural birth control approach.
Fertility Awareness Cons: Youll need to make a strong commitment to monitor your cycle. Even with careful attention, theres still a large margin of error because women can ovulate on a different day of every cycle, Newmann says. And because sperm can stay alive for up to six days after sex, you have to use a barrier method for six days before you ovulate. The failure rate for using a combined method of checking your body temperature, monitoring cervical mucus, and watching the calendar is high, about 25 percent, Newmann says.
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How Are Utis Treated
Your doctor will typically prescribe an oral antibiotic to rid you of the UTI.
Yavagal says if you come down with a UTI frequently, ask your doctor to do a culture one time to be sure this is actually what you have. A chronic bladder condition known as interstitial cystitis is sometimes mistaken for a UTI, she says. You should be especially suspicious if the antibiotics you have taken for your UTIs in the past have not sufficiently helped.
How K Health Can Help
Did you know you can get affordable UTI treatment with the K Health app? Download K to check your symptoms using our AI-driven symptom checker and, if needed, text with a doctor in minutes. K Healths board-certified, U.S.-based doctors can provide a treatment plan and prescription to resolve your symptoms as soon as possible.
K Health articles are all written and reviewed by MDs, PhDs, NPs, or PharmDs and are for informational purposes only. This information does not constitute and should not be relied on for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment.
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How Are Utis Diagnosed
Only a health care provider can treat urinary tract infections. The first thing a doctor will do is confirm that a person has a UTI by taking a clean-catch urine specimen. At the doctor’s office, you’ll be asked to clean your genital area with disposable wipes and then pee into a sterile cup.
The sample may be used for a urinalysis or a urine culture . Knowing what bacteria are causing the infection can help your doctor choose the best treatment.
Can Utis Be Prevented
A few things can help prevent UTIs. After peeing, girls should wipe from front to back with toilet paper. After BMs, wipe from front to back to avoid spreading bacteria from the rectal area to the urethra.
Also, go to the bathroom when needed and don’t hold the pee in. Pee that stays in the bladder gives bacteria a good place to grow.
Keep the genital area clean and dry. Girls should change their tampons and pads regularly during their periods. Bubble baths can irritate the vaginal area, so girls should take showers or plain baths. Avoid long exposure to moisture in the genital area by not wearing nylon underwear or wet swimsuits. Wearing underwear with cotton crotches is also helpful. Skip using feminine hygiene sprays or douches, as these can irritate the urethra.
If you are sexually active, go to the bathroom both before and within 15 minutes after sex. After sex, gently wash the genital area to remove any bacteria. Avoid sexual positions that irritate or hurt the urethra or bladder. Couples who use lubrication during sex should use a water-soluble lubricant such as K-Y Jelly.
Finally, drinking lots of water each day keeps the bladder active and bacteria-free.
UTIs are uncomfortable and often painful, but they’re common and easily treated. The sooner you contact your doctor, the sooner you’ll be able to get rid of the problem.
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So How Do You Prevent Utis After Sex
If you are using spermicide-coated condoms or diaphragms during intercourse and keep getting UTIs after sex, you might want to rethink your method of contraception, because it could be making your vagina more friendly to the bad kind of bacteria. Spermicide kills the sperm, but it also may kill some of the healthy bacteria that are normal in the vagina, Goldman tells Allure. Then, when those healthy bacteria are killed or gone, some of the bacteria that you don’t want can take up residence in the vagina. Once they travel up the urethra, youve got a UTI.
Peeing right after sex might not necessarily be as crucial as you thought, but peeing regularly, in general, is definitely a good idea. One of the ways that women can prevent infections is that when bacteria gets in the bladder, hopefully, it kind of washes out when they go to the bathroom, Goldman says. The idea is to regularly flush out any bad bacteria that may be hanging around in your system before it gets a chance to build up.
Thats why its important to drink enough fluids so that youre peeing every few hours. And this is the case all the time, not just after sex. If some bacteria does get in there, and you’re totally dehydrated and you only go once a day, then what can happen is that bacteria is sitting there all day and has a chance to start dividing and causing problems, Goldman explains.
Why Does Vaginal Intercourse Cause A Yeast Infection
Candida fungus is a normal part of the microscopic bacteria ecosystem in your vagina. If this fungus begins to grow uncontrollably, it may lead to a yeast infection.
Intercourse introduces bacteria from your partners finger or penis into your vaginas ecosystem of bacteria and Candida. Sex toys can also transmit it.
This disruption may be enough to trigger a vaginal yeast infection.
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Signs And Symptoms Of Interstitial Cystitis
Interstitial cystitis causes mild symptoms in some people, and terrible pain and disruption in others. For some, symptoms come and go, while in others theyre present all the time.
Symptoms of IC may go away for a while, only to return months or even years later.
Changes in the bladder caused by interstitial cystitis may have the following symptoms.
Pain Interstitial cystitis can cause sensations of pressure, discomfort, or pain in or around the bladder. The pain may be mild or severe and may also affect the vaginal, urethral, or scrotal areas.
Pain in IC often gets worse as the bladder fills up and is relieved with urination.
Frequent urination Because the bladder becomes stiff and loses elasticity, people with interstitial cystitis often have the urge to urinate frequently both day and night.
Urinating fewer than 8 times during the day and no more than once at night is considered normal. In severe cases of IC, a person may need to urinate up to 60 times per day.
Urgency In people with interstitial cystitis, the need to urinate can be intense and hard to control. In some people, this sensation never goes away, even right after urination.
While certain other disorders that affect the bladder can cause urine leakage, IC typically does not. In fact, leakage can be a clue that you have a different condition.
Sexual dysfunction Many people with interstitial cystitis experience pain during sexual intercourse. In men, this may include pain after ejaculation.
Cranberry Juice And Tablets
Cranberry juice and tablets have been shown to reduce RUTIs as they contain a compound called tannin, or proanthocyanidin, which reduces E. coli vaginal colonisation., Although earlier, smaller studies have shown that consuming cranberry juice or tablets can prevent RUTIs, an updated Cochrane review showed that evidence for its benefit in preventing UTIs is small therefore, cranberry juice cannot be recommended any longer for UTI prevention.,
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How To Avoid Or Improve Cystitis
There are many ways to reduce the chances of infection:
- after having sex, empty your bladder as soon as possible to get rid of unwanted bacteria
- always wipe from the front of your genital area to the back, not back to front, when you go to the toilet
- don’t use perfumed bubble bath, soap, or talcum powder around your genitals
- have a shower, rather than a bath to lessen exposure to chemicals in your cleaning products
- always empty your bladder fully when you go to the toilet
- don’t wait to go if you need to urinate delaying it can place extra stress on your bladder and make it more vulnerable to infection
- wear underwear made from cotton rather than synthetic material such as nylon
- avoid wearing tight jeans and trousers
- some women find that drinking water and avoiding alcohol can relieve symptoms.
There is conflicting evidence about whether cranberry juice has any effect on bladder infections.
How Do I Protect Myself Against Yeast Infections
Protecting yourself against yeast infections should be a multi-pronged approach:1. Be aware of your body and its changes and cycles.2. Maintain good hygiene habits.3. Wear clothes that let your skin breathe.4. Change out of damp clothes, such as after the gym or after a swim.5. Having a dialogue with your doctor.With proper treatment, yeast infections after sex usually go away within a week. If your symptoms persist or get worse, contact your doctor immediately. A PlushCare doctor can help advise by phone or video chat which steps to take . Several symptoms of yeast infection mimic those of other sexually transmitted infections, so it is important to make sure that what you are experiencing is not indicative of a more serious problem.
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How Are Urinary Tract Infections Treated
You will need to treat a urinary tract infection. Antibiotics are medicines that kill bacteria and fight an infection. Antibiotics are typically used to treat urinary tract infections. Your healthcare provider will pick a drug that best treats the particular bacteria thats causing your infection. Some commonly used antibiotics can include:
- Quinolones .
Its very important that you follow your healthcare providers directions for taking the medicine. Dont stop taking the antibiotic because your symptoms go away and you start feeling better. If the infection is not treated completely with the full course of antibiotics, it can return.
If you have a history of frequent urinary tract infections, you may be given a prescription for antibiotics that you would take at the first onset of symptoms. Other patients may be given antibiotics to take every day, every other day, or after sexual intercourse to prevent the infection. Talk to your healthcare provider about the best treatment option for you if you have a history of frequent UTIs.
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Don’t Sabotage Your Recovery
Don’t give in and reach for the foods that are hurting you. I really sabotaged myself for a while because I would not give up that one cup of coffee in the morning. Once I got past that, I started to get better. Don’t undermine your recovery with that one glass of wine or cup of coffee, the way I did. Just stop. If all goes well, this will be a temporary situation. You can go back to enjoying those things later, but for now, you have to get this situation under control.
Instead of your regular acidic indulgences, milk or vanilla ice cream can be pleasant and very soothing. Make sure you get a brand of ice cream that does not contain a lot of chemicals.
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Preventing Utis With Drugs
At times, antibiotics are used as a preventative measure for those with frequent UTI recurrences. In addition, postmenopausal women can benefit from a different type of a medicinal prevention strategy.
- Antimicrobial Prophylaxis In some cases of urinary tract infection recurrences, a physician may recommend antimicrobial prophylaxis, which is the use of antibiotics to prevent another infection. This has been shown to effectively reduce ones risk of recurrent UTIs in women with two infections over the previous year.
- Postcoital Prophylaxis For those whose UTI recurrences are related to sexual intercourse, taking antibiotics after intercourse may be preferable. Depending on the frequency of intercourse, postcoital prophylaxis likely results in less use than antimicrobial prophylaxis.
- Estrogen for Postmenopausal WomenThe use of a vaginal cream or an estradiol-releasing vaginal ring have both been shown to be an effective strategy for reducing recurrent urinary tract infections in postmenopausal women. In fact, vaginal estrogen has been shown to reduce recurrent UTIs by 36 to 75 percent.
How Soon After A Uti Can You Have Sex
Its best to wait until the UTI has been treated to start having intercourse again. Your doctor will give you the green light about when that is, but its safe to assume it will be at least a week until youve finished your antibiotic regimen.
Even if you no longer notice symptoms, try your best to refrain from sexual activity until you are fully cleared of infection and done with your treatment.
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Other Uti Risk Factors
Sex increases the chances of contracting a UTI, but there are many other risk factors as well. If you are not sure how you got your UTI, check out 26 main UTI causes that you should know about.
Because bacteria can easily find their way into a womans very short urethra, its very common for women to have UTIs without knowing the real cause.
Sometimes, the urethra gets irritated by sexual activity and you might then get urinary symptoms like frequency, urgency, and burning while urinating. This is called honeymoon cystitis, which may be one of two things. Sometimes after not having any sex for a long time, the vaginal flora may be thrown out of balance chemically , increasing your risk of UTIs – some studies show increased bacteria in the urine after intercourse. Alternately, you could have honeymoon urethritis. In this case, the symptoms may not be caused by bacteria or STDs, but by overstimulation and inflammation in the urethra and will likely go away in a few days.
If you repeatedly experience these symptoms and your urine sample is clean, use a lubricant, stay away from spermicides, harsh soaps or other chemicals and make sure your partner is gentle during sex and takes good care of their nails.
Why Are Utis More Common In People With Vaginas
When it comes to UTIs, urethra size matters.
A shorter urethra is an easier path for bacteria to climb into the bladder, says Amin Herati, MD, director of mens health and male infertility and assistant professor of urology at Johns Hopkins Medicine.
In adults with vaginas, the urethra is much shorter, measuring about 1 to 1.5 inches long, while the urethra in people with penises is about 7 to 8 inches long, per an October 2018 paper in Biology of Sex Differences.
Plus, in people with vaginas, the opening of the urethra is in close proximity to the opening of the vagina.
From birth, the vagina is filled with different bacteria and yeast. But occasionally that microbiome can be altered, and there might become less of a certain type of good bacteria, says R. Mark Ellerkmann, MD, director of the Urogynecology Center at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore. And if that bacteria gets into the urethra, which can happen during sex or with improper wiping after going to the bathroom, it can lead to a UTI.
To make matters more complicated, the vaginal opening is also close to the anus.
All you need is for some E. coli from the anal area to move across the perineum, and its a hop, skip and jump to the vagina and urethra, Dr. Ellerkmann says.
That said, although its less common, people with penises can also get recurrent UTIs.
Whatever your anatomy, if youre experiencing a urinary tract infection every few months, below are some reasons that may help explain whats going on.
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