Why Are Utis More Common During Menopause
UTIs are caused by growth of bacteria in the urinary tract. This includes the kidneys, ureters , bladder and urethra . Unfortunately, bacteria are amazing at getting into the urinary tract by travelling up the urethra from your genital area, especially thanks to the changes seen in this area of your body during your menopause journey. There are quite a few changes that, unfortunately, make getting a UTI more likely during menopause.
Classification Of Urinary Tract Infections
UTIs are classified into 6 categories. The first category is an uncomplicated infection this is when the urinary tract is normal, both structurally and physiologically, and there is no associated disorder that impairs the host defense mechanisms. The second category is an complicated infection this is when infection occurs within an abnormal urinary tract, such as when there is ureteric obstruction, renal calculi, or vesicoureteric reflux. The third category, an isolated infection, is when it is the first episode of UTI, or the episodes are 6 months apart. Isolated infections affect 2540% of young females. The fourth category, an unresolved infection, is when therapy fails because of bacterial resistance or due to infection by two different bacteria with equally limited susceptibilities. The fifth category, reinfection, occurs where there has been no growth after a treated infection, but then the same organism regrows two weeks after therapy, or when a different microorganism grows during any period of time., This accounts for 95% of RUTIs in women. Bacterial persistence happens when therapy is impaired by the accumulation of bacteria in a location that cannot be reached by antibiotics, such as infected stones, urethral diverticula and infected paraurethral glands. The sixth category, relapse, is when the same microorganism causes a UTI within two weeks of therapy however, it is usually difficult to distinguish a reinfection from a relapse.
Living With Urinary Tract Infections
If you have 3 or more urinary tract infections each year, your doctor may want you to begin a preventive antibiotic program. A small dose of an antibiotic taken every day helps to reduce the number of infections. If sexual intercourse seems to cause infections for you, your doctor many suggest taking the antibiotic after intercourse.
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What Can You Do About Recurring Utis
If you keep getting a UTI during menopause or at any other time in your life, its important to see your doctor so they can check if there is any underlying cause for your repeated infections, and whether there is anything they can do to help prevent it. While this can be an uncomfortable topic to discuss with your doctors, these issues are extremely common. Proper treatment should help you to enjoy your sex life once more, without the worry that you will end up with another UTI.
Are There Herbal Remedies To Help Me
It is possible to take herbal remedies to support home measures while easing your symptoms of a bladder infection. Uva-ursi, also known as bearberry, is a small plant found in Europe, and has flowers of similar shape to a bladder. However, it is for more than this coincidence that Uva-ursi is used to relieve the symptoms of a bladder infection. It is thought to have antiseptic properties and promotes excretion of bacteria in the urine.
However, if you are looking for a herbal solution to support you throughout the stages of the menopause, and all the associated side-effects, then soy isoflavones which mimic the effect of oestrogen in the body can help to reduce unwanted symptoms. These can be found in herbal remedies, such as A.Vogelâs Menopause Support.
Also Check: How Can I Treat A Bladder Infection At Home
Symptoms Of Menopausal Frequent Urination
As well as needing to urinate more often, women with this condition may suffer from a number of other, related symptoms. These include the following:
- Urge incontinence
- Stress incontinence
- Waking up to urinate during the night
- Pain or bleeding during sexual intercourse
These symptoms can be extremely distressing and embarrassing, but luckily there are a number of treatments available including both medical and non-medical interventions.
When Urinary Tract Infections Keep Coming Back
If you are prone to recurrent UTIs, you can head them off before they take hold.
Unless you’re in the fortunate minority of women who have never had a urinary tract infection , you know the symptoms well. You might feel a frequent urgency to urinate yet pass little urine when you go. Your urine might be cloudy, blood-tinged, and strong-smelling. For 25% to 30% of women who’ve had a urinary tract infection, the infection returns within six months.
If you have repeated UTIs, you’ve experienced the toll they take on your life. However, you may take some comfort in knowing that they aren’t likely to be the result of anything you’ve done. “Recurrent UTIs aren’t due to poor hygiene or something else that women have brought on themselves. Some women are just prone to UTIs,” says infectious diseases specialist Dr. Kalpana Gupta, a lecturer in medicine at Harvard Medical School.
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Why Are Menopausal Women More Prone To Utis Genitourinary Syndrome Of Menopause
As you go transition into menopause, your bodys production of estrogen begins to decline and your estrogen levels fluctuate and eventually decrease. These hormonal changes affect your urinary tract, vaginal tract, and vulva in ways that can make you prone to developing UTIs. These physical changes and the symptoms associated with them are known as the genitourinary syndrome of menopause .
Can Menopause Cause Frequent Urination Without Infection
During menopause, many people find that they need to urinate more often. Up to 77% of people wake up one or more times a night to urinate during menopause, according to an article in The Journal of the North American Menopause Society.
The article also suggests that lower estrogen levels may inhibit antidiuretic hormone, which helps regulate the amount of water in the body.
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You Can Look Out For The Following Symptoms To Confirm A Urinary Tract Infection:
- Burning like sensation while urinating
- Foul odor from the urine
- Very frequent urge to urinate
- Dark-colored urine
- Uneasiness because of the incomplete passage of urine out of the body
To your surprise, the home remedies for urinary tract infections are quite simple to bring in effect. So, lets begin with the best home remedies to use for curing urinary tract infections in males.
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Study Sheds New Light On Urinary Tract Infections In Postmenopausal Women
- UT Southwestern Medical Center
- A new study suggests why urinary tract infections have such a high recurrence rate in postmenopausal women: several species of bacteria can invade the bladder walls.
A UT Southwestern study suggests why urinary tract infections have such a high recurrence rate in postmenopausal women: several species of bacteria can invade the bladder walls.
UTI treatment is the most common reason for antibiotic prescriptions in older adults. Because of the prevalence of UTIs, the societal impact is high and treatment costs billions of dollars annually.
“Recurrent UTI reduces quality of life, places a significant burden on the health care system, and contributes to antimicrobial resistance,” said Dr. Kim Orth, Professor of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry at UTSW and senior author of the study, published in the Journal of Molecular Biology.
The investigation demonstrates that several species of bacteria can work their way inside the human bladder’s surface area, called the urothelium, in RUTI patients. Bacterial diversity, antibiotic resistance, and the adaptive immune response all play important roles in this disease, the study suggests.
Since the advent of antibiotics in the 1950s, patients and physicians have relied on antibiotics for UTI treatment.
The latest findings build on decades of clinical UTI discoveries by Dr. Zimmern, who suggested the collaboration to Dr. Orth, along with other UT System colleagues.
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Why Utis Increase Post Menopause And What You Can Do About It
More than half of all women develop a urinary tract infection at some point in their life, according to theU.S. Department of Health & Human Services. Unfortunately, once you enter menopause the risk of UTIs increases dramatically.
At Urgent Care of Ada in Ada, Ok, our family medicine specialists have extensive experience in treating UTIs. They offer the following overview and tips for preventing recurrent post-menopausal UTIs.
Treatment Of Contributing Factors
Vaginal atrophy is common in postmenopausal women and can be identified on pelvic examination by the appearance of dry, friable, and thin mucous membranes. The pathogenesis of recurrent UTIs is believed to be due to alterations in bacterial flora, changes in vaginal pH, and breakdown of natural mucosal barriers preventing ascending infection. The mechanism of local estrogen replacement stimulates blood flow, increases pH, and aims to restore mucosal barriers. A Cochrane review from 2008 cited two randomized clinical trials showing that vaginal estrogens reduced the recurrence of UTIs compared to placebo with RR of 0.25 and 0.64 in each study . No such benefit was found with oral estrogens.
In our practice, if there is evidence of vaginal atrophy on pelvic examination, we strongly consider such an approach. The risks for local therapy are very low, with the most common side effect being local irritation.
The most compelling evidence is for use of intravaginal suppositories of Lactobacillus crispatus. In a recent RCT, use of such an approach had a relative risk of 0.50 in young women . Given the low risk-benefit profile of intravaginal suppositories taken on a weekly basis after treatment of the acute UTI, this tends to be an attractive option for patients interested in non-antibiotic-based approaches. If intravaginal Lactobacillus suppositories are not available at a retail pharmacy, patients may be directed to online retailers such as Amazon.
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How Do Probiotics Work In The Urinary Microbiome
Research has shown that Lactobacillus probiotic strain works in three different ways in your urinary system. One way is by producing lactic acid in the microbiome that helps fight and kill infection-causing bacteria and viral pathogens. Another way is the formation of protective epithelial colonies in the urinary tract lining that prevents any bacteria from settling and colonizing. The last way is by stimulating the immune response to kill any foreign microbe in the body .
You should keep in mind that chronic UTI should only be treated by using properly prescribed medicines by your doctor. Dont start supplements without prior knowledge of your condition and expect relief from chronic infections. Probiotics are good for preventing recurrent UTI and keeping you safe in the long term.
What Conditions Are Related To Recurrent Utis
Recurrent UTIs sometimes happen along with other conditions, such as:
- vesicoureteral reflux , which is found in 30%50% of kids diagnosed with a UTI. In this congenital condition, pee flows backward from the bladder to the ureters. Ureters are thin, tube-like structures that carry pee from the kidney to the bladder. Sometimes the pee backs up to the kidneys. If its infected with bacteria, it can lead to pyelonephritis.
- hydronephrosis, which is an enlargement of one or both kidneys due to backup or blockage of urine flow. Its usually caused by severe VUR or a blocked ureter. Some kids with hydronephrosis might need to take daily low doses of antibiotics to prevent UTIs until the condition producing hydronephrosis gets better or is fixed through surgery.
But not all cases of recurrent UTIs can be traced back to these body structure-related problems. For example, dysfunctional voiding when a child doesnt relax the muscles properly while peeing is a common cause of UTIs. Not peeing often enough also can also increase a childs risk for recurrent infections. Both dysfunctional voiding and infrequent urination can be associated with constipation.
Rarely, unrelated conditions that harm the bodys natural defenses, such as diseases of the immune system, also can lead to recurrent UTIs. Use of a nonsterile urinary catheter can introduce bacteria into the urinary tract and also cause an infection.
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Everything You Need To Know About Utis During Menopause
What do hot flashes, mood swings, and urinary tract infections all have in common? You guessed it. A magical time called menopause.
Sarcastic? Us? Never.
Okay, so menopause may not be magical. But it is a completely natural part of every womans life. The average woman hits menopause at the age of 51 when she gets her last period, but symptoms can show up before, during, and after menopause, too. Hot flashes, night sweats, irritability, irregular periods, and weight gain are all signs that your menstrual cycle is about to stop spinning.
But one of the most frustrating symptoms of menopause has to be recurrent urinary tract infections . In a single year, about 10% of all postmenopausal women experience at least one UTI. Frequent UTIs are especially common in menopausal women because there are so many factors that make it easier for infections to come back with a vengeance.
If youre struggling with menopausal UTIs , heres everything you need to know about spotting and preventing UTIs during menopause
Why do UTIs get more frequent with age?
Lets start with urinary tract 101. Consisting of the kidneys, ureters, bladder, and urethra, the urinary tract is the system that removes excess fluid from your body . Bacteria in the urinary tract is usually flushed out when we pee, but sometimes it sticks around and spreads. The result? A urinary tract infection.
Why does menopause cause UTIs?
Changes in the bladder
How can I treat UTIs during menopause?
Not Again When Utis Wont Quit At Midlife
- By Hope Ricciotti, MD, Editor in Chief, Harvard Women’s Health Watch
ARCHIVED CONTENT: As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date each article was posted or last reviewed. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.
This week, a patient came in reporting two awful urinary tract infections that she had this summer while traveling on vacation. She is in her 50s, postmenopausal, and fit and healthy. After having sex with her partner, she woke up with burning and pain with urination. She was treated for a urinary tract infection with antibiotics and felt better in a few days. She did fine for two weeks until they had sex again, when the same symptoms returned. Although antibiotics worked again, and quickly, at this point she felt consumed by the whole thing. She was unable to enjoy her vacation, and she was afraid to have sex. It took several weeks before she felt normal down there.
If this sounds familiar, then you may be suffering from recurrent urinary tract infection . Recurrent UTIs are defined as either three episodes of infection in the previous 12 months or two episodes in the previous 6 months.
About the Author
Hope Ricciotti, MD, Editor in Chief, Harvard Women’s Health Watch
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Menopause And Your Urinary Tract
It has been debated whether the changes in a woman’s urinary tract with age are due to menopause and the lack of estrogen or are related to the aging process alone. However, it is known that the bladder is loaded with estrogen receptors, so the reduction of estrogen that happens in menopause probably doesn’t help.
With age, the bladder begins to lose both its volume and its elasticity, and it’s normal to have to go to the bathroom more frequently. As the bacteria concentration in your genital region increases your urethra may thin, allowing bacteria easier access to your bladder. For these reasons, urinary tract infections are more common as women age. This risk begins to increase within four or five years of your final menstrual period.
The bladder also begins to thin, leaving women more susceptible to incontinence, particularly if certain chronic illnesses or recurrent urinary tract infections are also present.
The pelvic muscles weaken as you age. You may find that exercise, coughing, laughing, lifting heavy objects, or performing any other movement that puts pressure on the bladder can cause small amounts of urine to leak. Lack of regular physical exercise may also contribute to this condition.
What Causes Urinary Tract Infection
The vast majority of urinary tract infections are caused by the bacteria Escherichia coli , which is usually found in the digestive system. However, other pathogens may cause a UTI. These include:
- Klebsiella pneumonia
- Enterococcus faecalis
- Staphylococcus saprophyticus
The bacteria may infect any part of the urinary tract bladder, urethra or kidneys. Depending on where the infection occurs, the UTIs are often known as:
- Cystitis infection of the bladder
- Urethritis infection of the urethra
- Pyelonephritis infection of the kidneys
The infection in urethra and bladder is usually not very serious and clears up with treatment. Similarly, ureters very rarely get infected. However, if a UTI reaches the kidneys, it may lead to kidney infections and a person may have to go to the hospital for treatment.
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Changes To Your Bladder
Along with your vaginal tissue, the tissues of your bladder and urethra are also changing in response to declining estrogen. Your bladder becomes less elastic and has a decreased capacity, which can make it difficult for your body to hold as much urine as it did previously. You may experience urinary incontinence in which urine will leak from your bladder.
Paradoxically, because your bladder is less elastic, when you do urinate you may actually have difficulty emptying your bladder, leaving residual urine. This leftover urine in your bladder is a fertile field for bacterial growth leading to more frequent urinary tract infections.
Urine is typically sterile and flows in one directionout of your body. When your bladder is overloaded or retaining urine and the flow is hindered, that urine is more easily contaminated by bacteria which leads to infection.
Alloy can help you understand your menopause-related UTI symptoms, provide you with treatment options that will help prevent them from reoccurring, and get you back to feeling like yourself.
Lets first address what to do if you already have a UTI.