Urinary tract infection is one of the common postpartum problems faced by women.
Pregnancy changes your body in many ways. And the changes affect your body even after giving birth. It is possible that your recovering body may have to deal with several postpartum problems that vary in type and severity. One of these common postpartum problems that women face after childbirth is the UTI or urinary tract infection.
Urinary tract infection is defined as an infection of the lining of the urinary bladder and urethra. A urinary tract infection occurs when an infectious organism enters your urinary tract, usually through the urethra and causes an infection. In some cases, the bacterial infection can reach the kidneys and cause a kidney infection.
What causes the post-delivery UTI?
A shorter urethra (4 cm) in the females compared to the males (20 cm) facilitates the infection of the bladder by the bacteria. Therefore, UTI is very common in women than in men. And pregnancy makes them more vulnerable.
The muscles of the pelvic floor help keep the urethra closed so that urine does not leak. During labor, these muscles go into overload along with the ligaments, nerves and muscles of the lower abdomen. Excessive wear and tear during labor can cause injury or trauma to this set of muscles and ligaments. Later, they may stop doing their job as they did before work. Pregnancy can also cause the bladder to lose its tone, making it difficult for women to empty their bladder completely. This makes the urine more susceptible to flowing back through the ureters. The longer the urine remains in the urinary tract, the greater the chances of multiplication of the bacteria and, therefore, the greater the vulnerability to the infection.
What are the signs and symptoms?
Inflammation of the bladder and urethra Pain in the pelvic region and abdomen Urges hard to urinate (but can urinate only a few drops) Urinate more often Burning sensation when urinating Unpleasant urine (bad smell) Generalized body pain, fever and fatigue
How is it treated?
UTI is usually treated with antibiotics. In some severe cases an intravenous drip can be administered with antibiotics. If you are breast-feeding, your doctor will prescribe antibiotics that are safe to take during those times. Antipyretics may be given to help lower the fever. Analgesics can help relieve pain.
What are the preventive measures?
Drink plenty of water to help eliminate bacteria from your excretory system. Drink cranberry juice. The juice is scientifically proven to treat and prevent urinary tract infections by preventing disease-causing organisms from attaching to the walls of the urethra. Have plenty of foods rich in vitamin C. They make the urine more acidic and help the body to destroy and reduce the amount of bacteria that cause UTI in the urinary system. Practice the good hygiene of the bathrooms. Avoid tampons and change sanitary napkins regularly during menstruation. Avoid the use of perfumed products, creams or gels around the genitals, as they can significantly increase the susceptibility to urinary tract infections. Wear loose clothing to allow the genitals to stay dry and prevent the growth of bacteria. Be careful when having sex. Urinate shortly after having sex to eliminate organisms that may have reached the urethra. Also, wash the area thoroughly with water after having sex.
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Reference: https://www.thehealthsite.com/pregnancy/postpartum-uti-causes-symptoms-treatment-and-prevention/, by Dr. Anitha Anchan