Urinary and Vaginal Infections

26 February 2016

Varying from an irritating minor annoyance to a more serious long-term problem, urinary-tract and vaginal infections are among the most common ailments affecting women.  There is plenty you can do to compliment any treatment prescribed by your doctor, ensure a rapid recovery and prevent a recurrence.

  • See your doctor If you suspect a urinary-tract infection, see your doctor.  Untreated infections can spread further up the urinary tract to the kidneys, leading to a more serious problem.  If an infection is confirmed, you’ll probably be given antibiotics, which usually produce rapid and effective relief.


  • Flush out the problem Increasing your fluid intake dilutes urine and helps to flush out bacteria.  Aim to drink six to eight glasses of fluid a day.


  • Urinate after sex In women especially, bacteria may enter the urethra during sex.  Passing urine immediately afterwards helps to flush them out.  Some women find that using a diaphragm or spermicidal gel promotes infection.  If so, it may help to change your method of contraception.  Unlubricated condoms or those impregnated with a spermicide can also cause problems – use the lubricated type without spermicide.


  • Be careful what you drink Avoid drinking alcohol, fruit juices, coffee, tea and other caffeine-containing drinks, which can further irritate the bladder and increase frequency or urgency of urination.


  • Urinate frequently Don’t put it off because you know it might hurt – go as soon as you feel the urge because bacteria are more likely to grow if urine sits in the bladder for too long.  If its very painful, passing urine while sitting in a warm bath can lessen the burning sensation.


  • Wear loose clothes Keeping the air circulating helps to counter infection, which thrives in moist, sweaty conditions.  Avoid nylon underwear and tight jeans.


  • Wipe from front to back To avoid introducing germs from the intestines into the urethra, women should always wipe from front to back after a bowel movement, or wipe each area separately.


  • Choose cotton underwear Underwear made of cotton rather than synthetic fabrics such as nylon reduces sweating and allows the genital region to ‘breathe’, so that it stays drier, which helps to counteract yeast infections.


  • Don’t lounge around in a wet swimsuit After a swimming session, dry yourself thoroughly and put on clean, dry underclothes as soon as possible.


  • Treat yeast infections with an antifungal medication The most common yeast infection, known as thrush or candidiasis, which causes a thick white vaginal discharge, can be effectively treated with an over-the-counter antifungal medication.  If you’re not sure you have thrush of if symptoms are slightly different from those you’ve had before, or if you have had a recent new sexual partner or are pregnant, consult your doctor.


  • Avoid products containing chemicals and perfumes Anything that potentially irritates the delicate skin and membranes of the valve and vagina can encourage infections to take hold, so avoid talc, deodorant sprays, bubble baths and coloured or scented toilet paper.  Choose plain, unperfumed soap or select a pH-balanced wash specifically formulated for the genital area.  A wash cloth soaked in cool water laid over the affected area can provide temporary relief from external itching.


  • Use supplements to counteract thrust Strengthening your immune system with vitamin C and Echinacea may help your body to fight an acute yeast infection.  The herb Echinacea seems to stimulate white blood cells to destroy the yeast, and vitamin C may inhibit yeast growth.  Probiotics-available as  bio yogurts as well as in the form of oral supplements and a topically applied cream – will boost your body’s supply of ‘friendly’ bacteria.



reference: readers digest – 1001 best health hints and tips