How Common is UTI after Childbirth?
Pregnancy changes a woman's body in various ways, and these changes can stay during the postpartum period as well. Your body stays in a recovering state while healing from multiple things that vary in severity. A common postpartum issue that almost all women face is urinary tract infection or UTI, which is the inflammation of the urinary bladder and urethra lining. It transpires when an infectious germ enters your urine tract through the urethra and induces an infection. This bacteria can also travel to the kidneys in severe cases, resulting in dangerous kidney conditions.
Causes of Postpartum UTI
Females have short urethra that makes it easy for the bacteria to infect the bladder. For this reason, UTIs are more common in women than in men, and pregnancy makes them worse.
The pelvic floor muscles are responsible for keeping the urethra closed to prevent the urine from leaking out. The pelvic muscle pushes beyond limits during labor during delivery. Excessive wear and tear can injure these muscles and ligaments, and they might fail to operate as they did pre-labor.
Moreover, pregnancy may cause the bladder to lose its tone, making it difficult for women fully urinate. This can cause your urine to flow back up the ureters. The longer your urine stays in the bladder, the more it will multiply the bacteria, making you vulnerable to the infection.
Symptoms of Postpartum UTI
Following are the symptoms of postpartum UTI:
- Infected bladder and inflamed urethra
- Pelvic region and abdomen pain
- Constant urge to urinate but can not empty the bladder.
- Urinating more than usual
- Burn while urinating
- Foul urine smell
- Body pain, fever, and fatigue
Treatment of Postpartum UTI
Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) is generally cured with the use of antibiotics. However, antibiotics are administered with intravenous drips in some severe cases to get effective results.
In case you are a breastfeeding mother, your primary care physician will prescribe safe antibiotics during such times. Moreover, antipyretics are prescribed to bring down a fever, and pain killers are used to avoid excruciating pain.
The following preventive measures have proven to be effective in case of postpartum UTI:
- Drink excessive water to rinse out bacteria from your excretory system.
- Drink cranberry juice as it is scientifically verified to treat and prevent UTIs.
- Consume a lot of vitamin C-rich foods. These foods make the urine more acidic, which helps your body destroy and reduce UTI-causing bacteria in the urinary system.
- Practice good hygiene. Try not to use tampons and regularly change sanitary pads.
- Do not use scented products, creams, or gels around the genitals because they can significantly increase UTI sensitivity.
- Always choose loose clothing as it allows the genitals to remain dry and prevent bacterial growth.
- Be vigilant when having sex. Always urinate after intercourse and thoroughly wash the area with room temperature water to prevent bacterial growth.
Other Postpartum Complications
Besides postpartum UTIs, women go through many other complications as well. Some of them are:
Childbirth is no joke as it leaves a mother with many stitches and open wounds. Vaginal tears are a reality for all mothers, and no matter how much you try to avoid them, you will suffer some levels of tears when you push your baby out. Even if you give birth through cesarean, you will still have many stitches on your lower abdomen area.
For the stitches in the vaginal or perineal area, use a squirt bottle to clean after using the restroom. You should also use a doughnut-shaped pillow to relieve discomfort when sitting.
It is normal for the stitches to make you feel pain when it is healing, but an increase in this pain is not healthy. The pain may signify that there is an infection in the incision area. Often, women get other disorders, including kidney or vaginal infections, in postpartum. You need to go to the doctor if you have any of these signs:
- Increasing pain
- Burning sensation
- Pain when urinating
If an infection is caught early, it is easily treated with antibiotics. However, if you do not inform your doctor timely, it could also lead to hospitalization. Therefore, you need to be vigilant with your symptoms and consult a urologist doctor when you experience any discomfort.
Inconsistent Bowel Movements
Many women lose bladder and bowel control post-childbirth, and urinary incontinence right after birth is more common than you may consider. These conditions are not dangerous but may cause discomfort and embarrassment.
Usually, simple home workouts can treat this issue for many women. However, if someone has an extreme case, medical assistance is required.
Constipation or bowel inconsistency is also usual after childbirth. You do not need to worry as it is a temporary issue and will get fine with time. Many women benefit from menstrual underwear and extra layering in their panties to manage their situation. Duet changes and drinking a lot of water may help keep things moving in your large intestines.
Almost all postpartum health issues are treatable, and most get normal with time. However, if you experience worsening or prolonged symptoms, you need to visit your doctor to check if everything is fine.
It is always better to consult a specialist for better guidance. Book an appointment with the best Urologist in Lahore through Marham for more information.
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