What New Mums Need To Know About Postpartum Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)
Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) is a common occurrence in women, but did you know that you may be more susceptible to it after giving birth? Get some expert advice on the symptoms and prevention tips of postpartum UTI for new mums
As a woman, you might have suffered from a Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) before and may recall that it definitely was not fun.
A UTI occurs when there is a significant number of bacteria present in your urinary tract.
In Singapore, 20% of women aged between 20 – 65 years suffer at least one attack per year and around 50% of women will experience UTI at least once in their lives.
theAsianparent spoke to Dr Sam Peh Oon Hui, a Urologist from the PanAsia Surgery Group for more information about postpartum UTI and what new mothers can do to avoid it:
1. What are the causes of postpartum UTI?
The incidence of postpartum UTI is about 2.8% overall including caesarean sections and normal vaginal deliveries.
It is higher after caesarean section possibly due to catheterization.
Use of sanitary pads postpartum also may contribute the higher incidence of UTI.
2. Why UTI is the most common type of infection which plaques women?
Women are at an anatomical disadvantage due to the short urethra which enables bacteria to gain access to the bladder more easily.
The perineum is always populated by gut bacteria and it proximity to the vagina and therefore the urethra further contributes to the high incidence of UTI in women.
3. Why is UTI the most common type of infection postpartum women faces?
Women who had caesarean usually have a urinary catheter inserted and this increases the risk of infection.
Postpartum women also have pads put on and these also increase the risk of UTI.
4. What are some tips and tricks new mothers should adopt to avoid contracting UTI?
The urinary catheter, if present, should be removed as early as possible.
Sanitary pads (if required) should be changed regularly.
Finally, early mobilization will reduce the risk of UTI.
More tips on how to prevent UTI include:
- After going to the toilet, always wipe from front to back
- Avoid vaginal deodorants, vaginal douching agents and bubble baths
- Practice good personal hygiene (especially before and after sexual intercourse)
- Empty your bladder fully
- Drink lots of water
5. What is the recurrence rate in postpartum women?
The recurrence rate is the same as the rest of the population unless the women have an underlying problem.
6. What are the signs and symptoms?
Painful urination, urinary frequency, urgency, blood in the urine and fever are the symptoms of UTI.
Other symptoms include:
- Any pain in your back or lower abdomen
- Cloudy or dark urine that has a strange smell
- Feeling tired or shaky
- Fever or chills (this is only if the UTI has already reached your kidneys)
7. What are the health complications that can arise from having UTI?
Most of the time UTI have no long term health complications.
Quite often UTI causes undue stress to the women who suffer from it, more so if it is a recurrent UTI.
In individuals whose immune system is compromised for example poorly controlled diabetics or patients on chemotherapy it may lead to severe infections where the bacterial goes into the blood — this then becomes a life threatening situation.
8. What are some natural ways to prevent this?
There are a few things women can do to reduce the incidence of UTI. One of the ways is to consume cranberries on a daily basis.
The general guideline is to drink half a cup of pure cranberry juice with high concentration of cranberries or a quarter cup of dried cranberries (craisins).
Cranberries are an exceptional fruit that provide one-of- a-kind health benefits as it contains a unique combination of compounds including Type-A PACs (or proanthocyanidins), that prevent bacteria from sticking and causing infection.
New studies also discovered a class of compounds, xyloglucan oligosaccharides, which have similar anti-bacterial properties against E. coli as PACs which are also found within cranberries.
This means there are multiple, unique elements within cranberries which will rejuvenate the body from within.
Take care of yourself
You may have your hands full taking care of your new little bundle of joy, but it is also important that you take good care of yourself.
Should you be feeling any pain or suspect that you may have postpartum UTI, it is recommended that you seek immediate medical help to get the treatment you require.
Although UTI is a common occurrence in women, you should always watch out for the signs and symptoms and get appropriate medical treatment to prevent any possible complications down the road.
Have you ever suffered from UTI? Share your story with us below.