Urinary Tract Infections
Urinary tract infections can occur in men and women of any age. They can be very uncomfortable and most symptoms include a burning feeling when urinating, urinating frequently, feeling tired or shaky, or feeling a pain or pressure in your back or lower stomach. They occur when foreign bacteria enter into the urethra and travel up to the bladder where they can cause an infection. The most common causes of UTIs are improper wiping after using the toilet (always wipe from front to back to avoid spreading bacteria from the anus to the urethra) and sexual intercourse, which can present larger numbers of bacteria into the bladder. (Tip: Always urinate after having sex – it helps to flush away any bacteria that may be present). UTIs typically clear up quickly with antibiotics, but drinking plenty of water, removing any bladder irritants from your diet (caffeine, alcohol, spicy foods), and emptying your bladder regularly can help treat UTIs too.
Yeast infections are caused by the presence of extra yeast in the vagina. When the normal ratio of yeast to healthy bacteria is off, yeast can grow too much and cause an infection. This imbalance can be caused by fluctuating hormones, certain antibiotics, or other conditions like diabetes. Many women experience itching in the vagina, in addition to painful urination and a thick white discharge. Yeast infections are typically diagnosed by a physician, and can be treated with OTC anti-fungal cream, suppositories, or anti-fungal tablets.
Younger women tend to have more sexual partners than older women. Great for your sex life – not so great when trying to prevent STDs. The human papilloma virus is the most common sexually transmitted disease, and one that you should be regularly checked for. Be sure to ask your doctor to check for HPV at each Pap smear. It’s a good idea to also get tested for chlamydia and gonorrhea while you’re at it.
Learn more about women’s conditions here.