UTI & Menopause
Is there is a connection between urinary tract infection (UTI) and menopause? For the last 6-weeks I have a constant heavy feeling, burning inside, but I'm not sure if it's my vagina or bladder. There is no itching or burning when I urinate but can feel hot burning pressure inside me.
Yes, there is a connection between menopause and urinary tract infection (or UTI). Many associate menopause with changes in vaginal health. More common are symptoms such as vaginal dryness and the thinning of the vaginal walls. Both of these symptoms can make sexual intercourse very painful for menopausal women; however they can also lead to vaginal infections.
Like the tissues in the vaginal walls that thin with age; the tissues in the urinary tract also thin. This leaves the vagina more susceptible to incontinence (a nice way of saying accidental urination) and urinary infections.
Urinary tract infections are, quite simply, infections of or around the urinary tract - which includes areas of the kidneys, the bladder and the urethra. Women are most susceptible to UTI during the 5-year duration that follows their last menstrual period.
When a woman hits menopause (the moment she hasn't had a period for exactly 12-months) and begins post-menopause (the stage following menopause) she no longer ovulates, produces female hormones (estrogen and progesterone) or menstruates. The lack of female hormones doubles her chances of developing urinary tract infections.
You will know you have a urinary tract infection because urination will be painful and cause a burning sensation. You may also have to urinate frequently, and you may have some lingering discomfort in the vaginal area. If you're suffering any these symptoms, please consult your doctor immediately. Only a doctor can diagnose your condition properly and prescribe the proper antibiotics.
Unfortunately, for most menopausal women who experience one UTI - there are more to follow. UTI is similar to yeast infections in that some women are more prone to them then others. However you can do your best to prevent reoccurring UTI by taking the following measures:
- Wear loose-fitting, clean cotton underwear.
- Exercise regularly to promote immune health.
- Consume a healthy diet. Avoid soda, caffeine and foods high in salt, fat and sugar.
- Always make sure you urinate right before and after you have sexual intercourse.
- Never fight the urge to urinate or "hold it."
- Drink 10-glasses of water a day to promote urination and to flush your system.
- Wash your vaginal area (but don't douche) before and after sexual intercourse.
- Never wipe back to front. It may spread bacteria and encourage infection.