It is easy to understand why women feel hesitant discussing vaginal infections with their doctor, but if you don’t you will simply keep suffering. Random or chronic, UTIs are painful and the feelings or urgency can take over your daily life. Who wants that when you can treatment?
When to See Your Doctor
First of all, there is no reason to feel embarrassed. Urinary tract infections are a medical problem, and they are not your fault. Besides, you won’t tell your doctor anything he or she hasn’t heard before. If your physician or OB-GYN is a woman, she may well understand first-hand what you’re experiencing.
The sooner you make an appointment to get checked out, the sooner you can get relief. To make the proper diagnosis, your doctor will need specific information:
- Your specific symptoms (cloudy urine, strong smell, blood in your urine, frequent need to urinate but with little output)
- How long you‘ve had them
- How often they recur
- Your dietary habits (certain foods or the amount of fluids you consume can affect urinary tract and bladder health)
- Your hygiene habits (although there is no clinical proof, many experts suggest that wiping your vagina from front to back helps reduce risk of inadvertent bacterial infection from feces)
- Other vaginal symptoms you may be having related to menopause (more on that below)
Even one urinary tract infection is too many when it’s happening to you. However, according to Harvard Health, 25% to 30% of women suffer another URI within six months. This is why it’s so important to see your doctor.
You Could Try At-Home Prevention or Treatment
There are over-the-counter products you can purchase to relieve bladder infection symptoms, but they do not cure the problem. Only antibiotics can kill bacteria, which are the most common cause of urinary tract infection. Antibiotics require a prescription. A low-dose medication is usually enough to eliminate the infection, although if you get frequent infections there is a chance that the bacteria in your body will develop resistance to the medication, which can make future treatment more difficult.
Drinking cranberry juice has been anecdotally associated with preventing and alleviating symptoms, although there is no clinical evidence that supports this. Cranberry juice does offer other nutritional benefits. Drinking lots of fluids in general (water, coffee, tea, etc.) helps flush your kidneys and urinary tract, which may also help reduce the presence of bacteria that cause infections.
Some doctors suggest that women who suffer from frequent urinary tract infections avoid wearing tight pants or underwear, though again there is no scientific evidence that this helps.
Treating More than UTIs
As noted earlier, urinary tract infections can become a bigger problem for women during and after menopause, as estrogen production diminishes. But loss of estrogen also leads to vaginal atrophy which produces unwanted symptoms such as dryness, pain or discomfort (or lack of sensation) during intercourse, itching or burning, discharge, and stress urinary incontinence. So treating the broader issue can help relieve a multitude of symptom in addition to chronic UTIs.
A common option is estrogen therapy, which can be delivered locally using a vaginal cream. However, there are medical and personal preference reasons to avoid taking estrogen.
More and more women are now taking advantage of an entirely different approach – MonaLisa Touch laser vaginal therapy. This simple, fast in-office treatment – just three 5-minute sessions – produces long-lasting results because it stimulates renewed natural hydration and production of firmer, healthier tissue. MonaLisa Touch delivers exceptional results without pain and with little to no downtime. And that’s one more great reason to see a doctor that specializes in this treatment.