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Are you dealing with UTI during periods? 8 tips to manage it

UTI can cause a lot of discomfort but it can become even more problematic if you get a UTI during period. Here's how to deal with it.
View All Images UTI during period
Here's how to manage UTI during period. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock
Team Health Shots Published: 26 Jan 2024, 18:00 pm IST
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We are all guilty of being lazy during the winter days. Sometimes we even shy away from changing pads or other period products on time. This mistake may seem okay until it causes a problem. If you tend to do it too, you should that it can increase the risk of urinary tract infections (UTIs). UTI during periods is more common during this time, and hormonal changes caused by periods can even exacerbate period-related issues. Thus, if you are dealing with UTI during period, here’s what you need to know about it.

What is a urinary tract infection (UTI)?

A urinary tract infection (UTI) is a bacterial infection affecting any part of the urinary system, including the bladder, urethra, ureters, and kidneys. Due to the infection, one may experience symptoms such as frequent and painful urination, a strong urge to urinate, cloudy or foul-smelling urine, pelvic pain, etc. UTIs are typically treated with antibiotics but can lead to serious complications if left untreated, especially if the infection spreads to the kidneys.

Know why the risk of UTI is higher during periods

During menstruation, the risk of urinary tract infections (UTIs) increases due to several factors. Firstly, menstrual blood can introduce bacteria into the urethra, leading to infection. Additionally, tampons and sanitary pads create a warm and moist environment, which is conducive to bacterial growth. These products can also cause irritation and chafing, increasing the likelihood of UTIs.

Woman on a pot
The risk of infection is high during period. Image courtesy: Freepik

Moreover, hormonal changes during menstruation can affect the pH balance of the vagina, making it more susceptible to bacterial overgrowth. Women may also be more prone to holding in urine during their periods due to discomfort, which can increase the risk of infection. Additionally, some individuals engage in sexual activity more frequently during menstruation without using conception, which may also increase the risk of UTIs. In fact, if you do not maintain proper hygiene, especially during your period, you are at greater risk of developing a urinary infection.

3 tips to prevent UTI during period

1. Change pads or tampons on time

Changing pads and tampons frequently is important if you want to reduce the risk of UTIs. These period products can swiftly harbor bacteria, potentially spreading them to the urinary tract. This will also reduce the chances of bad odour coming from the vagina, especially during the period cycle.

2. Use gentle feminine hygiene products

Steer clear of feminine care products with pleasant fragrances and soft textures, as these products could elevate the likelihood of vaginal infection. Synthetic materials and fragrance-laden chemicals have the potential to trigger urinary tract infections. So, it’s advisable to opt for cotton-based, chemical-free, and breathable pad and tampon alternatives to minimise the risk of UTIs.

3. Prioritise sexual hygiene

Maintaining good sexual hygiene is key to UTI prevention. Always urinate after sexual activity to flush out bacteria lingering in the urinary system. If you are experiencing any UTI symptoms, make sure you bathe regularly and avoid having sexual intercourse until the infection is cured. Additionally, consume a fibre-rich diet and stay hydrated to reduce the impact of infections.

8 tips to manage UTI during period

1. Stay hydrated

Adequate hydration is crucial for flushing out bacteria from the urinary tract. Aim to drink plenty of water throughout the day, as this can help dilute urine and reduce the risk of bacterial growth.

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2. Practise good hygiene

Maintain proper hygiene during menstruation by changing sanitary pads or tampons frequently, and make sure you wash your vagina when your urinate.

Also read: Rice water for UTI: An Ayurvedic remedy to help relieve the pain

3. Wear cotton underwear

Wearing breathable cotton underwear and avoiding tight-fitting clothing can also help prevent moisture buildup, which can create an environment conducive to bacterial growth.

Period underwear
Always prefer cotton underwear to keep the risk of infection at bay. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

4. Urinate frequently

Make a conscious effort to urinate regularly, even if you don’t feel the urge. Holding urine for extended periods can allow bacteria to multiply in the urinary tract, increasing the likelihood of a UTI. Urinating before and after intercourse can also help flush out bacteria.

5. Use unscented products

Avoid using scented feminine hygiene products, such as soaps, sprays, or wipes, as these can disrupt the natural pH balance of the vagina and increase the risk of UTIs. Opt for mild, unscented products instead to minimise irritation.

5. Maintain menstrual hygiene

Change sanitary pads or tampons every few hours, especially on heavy flow days, to prevent bacterial buildup. Avoid using super-absorbent tampons, as these can increase the risk of bacterial growth and UTIs. Additionally, wash your hands thoroughly before and after changing sanitary products to minimise the risk of introducing bacteria into the urinary tract.

6. Avoid irritants

Limit the consumption of irritants such as caffeine, alcohol, and spicy foods, as these can irritate the bladder and exacerbate UTI symptoms. You may drink herbal teas and water-based beverages.

7. Practise safe sex

Engage in safe sexual practices, such as using condoms, to reduce the risk of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) that can contribute to UTIs. Additionally, urinating after sex can help flush out bacteria that may have been introduced into the urinary tract during intercourse.

couple in bed
Always maintain sexual hygiene to avoid the risk of infection. Image courtesy: Adobe stock

8. Apply heat

Applying a heating pad or warm compress to the lower abdomen can help alleviate discomfort associated with UTIs during menstruation. Heat therapy can also help relax the muscles and promote urine flow, which may aid in flushing out bacteria from the urinary tract.

If you experience persistent or severe UTI symptoms, such as burning urination, frequent urges to urinate, or lower abdominal pain, consult a healthcare professional immediately.

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