July 19 to 25 is Wee Week, an initiative from Kidney Health Australia and the Cranberry Institute, aimed at promoting kidney and urinary tract health.
One in three women will experience a urinary tract infection (UTI) in their lifetime, yet an online survey conducted as part of Wee Week found that half of Australians don't understand what causes UTIs and how they can be effectively treated.
UTIs are caused by bacteria, which enters the urinary tract and then multiplies. The most common bacteria to cause UTIs is E.coli, which is found in your digestive system.
Cystitis is the most common lower urinary tract infection, Kidney Health Australia says. It causes the bladder lining to become raw and inflamed and is painful but not contagious. But if left untreated, the infection can travel deeper into the urinary system and reach the kidneys.
Symptoms include a burning sensation when passing urine and wanting to urinate more often, but only being able to pass a few drops.
- Drink lots of water to help flush out the bacteria.
- Take a commercial urinary alkaliser or one teaspoon of baking soda or bicarbonate of soda in water, which may help to alleviate the discomfort of passing urine.
- Avoid acidic food or drinks (such as caffeine, citrus fruits, tomatoes and alcohol) as these foods may aggravate the burning sensation.
- See a doctor if symptoms persist.
- Always practise good hygiene, wash daily and always after sex.
- Empty your bladder before and after sex to flush out bacteria.
- Drink plenty of fluids each day.
- Empty the bladder as soon as the urge to urinate occurs.
- Regular consumption of cranberries can reduce the risk of UTIs by 50 percent as they contain phytochemicals which prevent bacteria from attaching to the cell lining of the bladder.
For more information, visit www.kidney.com.au or www.cranberries.com.au.