Urinary tract infection risk increases in women after pelvic organ prolapse surgery or urinary incontinence, so a new method has been developed to assess that risk. Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are a common type of infection, costing roughly $1 billion annually in the U.S. The risk of UTIs among women who undergo pelvic organ prolapse surgery and who have urinary incontinence is much greater than in women without these conditions.
The study found that certain urinary bacteria and antimicrobial peptides, which promote proper functioning of the bladder immune system, may help identify a woman’s risk of UTI following pelvic floor surgery.
Senior author Katherine Radek said, “This information may help us improve UTI prevention and treatment strategies for women down the road.”
The study looked at the relationship between urinary bacteria, antimicrobial peptides, and UTI symptoms in 54 women undergoing pelvic floor surgery. These participants completed questionnaires and provided a catheterized urine specimen obtained under anesthesia on the day of the surgery. Urine sample was analyzed using advanced DNA-based detection methods.
The researchers found that 13 participants had positive urine cultures prior to surgery, while the remainder had negative urine cultures. Of the 54 women, 10 developed UTI symptoms post-surgery and four had positive urine cultures post-surgery.
The diversity of urinary bacteria and antimicrobial peptides varied between the women who developed UTIs and those who did not. Recognizing the mechanisms through which bacteria and antimicrobial peptides communicate during disease can help to better develop prevention and treatment methods for UTIs.
Preventing urinary tract infections in women
Here are some prevention tips for urinary tract infections in women.
- Stay hydrated and drink plenty of fluids to flush your system out.
- Eat probiotic-rich foods like sauerkraut, yogurt, and kimchi – if you’re on antibiotics, ensure to up your dosages of probiotics as well.
- Avoid wearing tight underwear or skinny, tight jeans.
- Eat a well-balanced diet.
- Reduce stress and exercise.
- Don’t hold in your urine, always empty your bladder when you feel the need to go.
- Wipe front to back.
- Take a shower instead of a bath.
- Avoid scented feminine hygiene products.
- Clean your genitals prior to and after sex.
- Urinate after sexual intercourse.
- Consider switching your birth control methods from a diaphragm to oral contraceptives.
- Wear cotton underwear.
By following these prevention tips, you can have greater success in lowering your risk of a possible urinary tract infection.