UTIs during periods can be uncomfortable! If you have been looking for ways to manage it, here are some home remedies to manage the problem.

Menstrual cycle is difficult as it is, and it gets worse when problems such as urinary tract infections (UTIs) coincide with it. Urinary tract infections are infections that can happen in any part of the urinary system. If you are dealing with urinary tract infections during periods, incorporating some home remedies can be beneficial. Here are some of the beneficial home remedies to ease UTIs during periods.

What is a urinary tract infection (UTI)?

A urinary tract infection (UTI) occurs when bacteria enter the urinary system, which includes the bladder, kidneys, ureters, and urethra. The most prevalent cause of UTIs is the Escherichia coli bacterium, which is frequently found in the digestive system. Women are more prone to these infections because their urethra is shorter, allowing bacteria better access to the bladder. The symptoms may include pelvic pain, hazy or strongly scented urine, burning while urinating, and frequent desire to urinate, according to a study published in the Singapore Medical Journal.

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UTI is more common during periods and lead to problems. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

How are periods and UTI connected?

Many people are curious whether there is a direct link between increased susceptibility to UTIs and menstruation. “Changes in the vagina’s pH and hormone levels during menstruation may foster an environment that is more favourable to the growth of bacteria. Plus, using certain menstruation products, such as pads and tampons, can introduce or trap bacteria, which could result in an infection. It is critical to understand the relationship between using feminine health products and improving hygiene during our cycles,” says obstetrician and gynaecologist Dr Sadhna Singhal.

What are the causes of UTI during periods?

Urinary tract infections (UTIs) during periods can occur due to hormonal changes that occur in your body. Here are some common causes and contributing factors:

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1. Hormonal changes

Hormonal fluctuations during the menstrual cycle can impact the urinary tract and make it more susceptible to bacterial overgrowth. Changes in estrogen levels, in particular, can affect the balance of bacteria in the urinary tract, potentially increasing the risk of UTIs, as per a study published in the American Society for Microbiology.

2. Tampon use

Using tampons during menstruation can sometimes introduce bacteria into the urinary tract. Improper hygiene practices, such as leaving a tampon in for too long or not changing it frequently can increase the risk of bacterial growth and UTIs, found a study published in the Journal of Pediatric and Adolescent Gynecology.

3. Anogenital distance could be a cause

Anogenital distance (AGD) is the distance from the anus to your genitals. This proximity of the genital and anal areas can facilitate the transfer of bacteria from the anus to the urethra. This is more common during menstruation when blood flow and moisture create a conducive environment for bacterial growth, explains the expert.

4. Decreased immune response

Some women may experience a temporary decrease in immune function during their menstrual period, which can make them more vulnerable to bacterial infections, including UTIs, found a study published in the Pediatric Nephrology Journal.

5. Hygiene practices

“Poor hygiene practices during menstruation, such as inadequate wiping or improper cleansing of the genital area, can contribute to the spread of bacteria and increase the risk of UTIs,” explains the expert.

Home remedies to deal with UTIs during periods

Here are some of the beneficial home remedies to treat urinary tract infections caused during periods, as explained by the expert.

1. Cranberry juice

Cranberry juice is known for its potential ability to prevent and manage UTIs. It contains compounds that can prevent bacteria from adhering to the urinary tract walls. One of the most well-known remedies for UTIs is to drink unsweetened cranberry juice. You can also take cranberry juice in pill form if you prefer not to drink unsweetened juice. According to a study published in the Journal of Integrative and Complementary Medicine, participants who had a history of recurring UTIs reported fewer infections after having cranberry juice for 6 months.

2. Increase vitamin C intake

Vitamin C can help boost the immune system and acidify urine, creating an unfavourable environment for bacteria. Including foods rich in vitamin C such as citrus fruits, strawberries, bell peppers, and kiwi into your diet can help mitigate the risk. This is a great home remedy for UTIs and one that can benefit your whole body, says the expert.

3. Keep yourself hydrated

According to a study published in the BMJ Open Quality Journal, dehydration is connected to an increased risk of urinary tract infections. Regular urine can aid in the removal of bacteria from the urinary tract, hence preventing disease. When you are dehydrated, you do not urinate as frequently, which might provide a breeding environment for bacteria. Staying hydrated is crucial to flush out bacteria from the urinary tract and promote healing. Aim to drink at least 8-10 glasses of water per day. You can also include herbal teas like chamomile or cranberry tea, which may have additional benefits for UTIs.

A glass of water
Drink enough water to avoid UTI during periods. Image courtesy: Freepik

4. Eat garlic

Garlic extract could be an effective weapon against multi-drug resistant types of pathogenic bacteria linked to urinary tract infections (UTIs), a study published in the Pertanika Journal of Tropical Agricultural Science. If you are suffering from a UTI during periods, try eating garlic to ease a UTI during periods.

5. Eat probiotic-rich foods

According to a study published in the World Journal of Gastroenterology, probiotics found in yoghurt and other fermented foods such as kimchi and kombucha can help restore the balance of good bacteria in the gut and urinary tract. Incorporate probiotic-rich foods into your diet or consider taking a probiotic supplement.

Keep this in mind!

These home remedies may assist with urinary tract infections, but they are not a substitute for medical therapy. If you are experiencing UTIs, it is essential that you consult a healthcare provider to identify the underlying reason and receive the required medical assistance.

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