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Urinary tract infection can impact fertility: Find out how you can prevent it

Sometimes, UTIs are confused with sexually transmitted infections (STIs), which can be the reason behind infertility problems.

By: Parenting Desk | New Delhi |
January 17, 2022 8:12:23 pm
urinary tract infections or UTI, UTI in women, UTI and infertility, can UTI cause infertility, infertility in women, UTI in men, how does UTI spread, how to prevent UTI, UTI and health, parenting, indian express newsUTI can become recurrent if a woman has suffered from three UTIs in 12 months. (Photo: Getty/Thinkstock)

By Dr Nidhi Singh

Women are at a greater risk of suffering from urinary tract infections or UTI. It seems nothing can be worse than the strong burning sensation when you pass urine. This is an indication that something is not quite right. UTI can even affect fertility. If you suffer from frequent infections, it is time to know everything about its treatment and ways you can prevent it.

What does UTI feel like?

Both men and women can develop a urinary tract infection in parts of the urinary system like the kidney, urethra, bladder and liver (the organs that help remove waste from the body). Women are more prone to UTIs because of smaller urinary tracts.

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People suffering from UTI generally notice the following signs and symptoms:

1. Need or urge to pee frequently
2. A strong odour of the urine
3. Small amounts of urine
4. Pain in the back and pelvis
5. Signs of blood in the urine (red or bright pink colour)
6. Discoloured and cloudy urine

How does UTI impact fertility?

Some women suffer from UTIs too frequently and at times, the infection might affect the upper urinary tract and its organs like kidney, fallopian tubes and uterus. The chances of a spread increase if the woman is suffering from UTI due to bacterial STDs like chlamydia, syphilis, etc. It can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease or PID, causing severe damage to the fallopian tubes. This affects a woman’s ability to conceive. If UTI has caused damage to the kidney, it can lead to chronic kidney disease. It can affect the overall health, including the ovulation process.

UTI can become recurrent if a woman has suffered from three UTIs in 12 months. Recurrent UTIs are generally caused by E. coli bacterium if it enters the urethra and infects the urinary bladder. If the infection stays for longer periods, it can cause some severe fertility issues. UTI alone does not cause infertility among women. PID due to recurrent urinary tract infection can hamper conception chances. In many cases, diabetes can also cause frequent UTIs and affect the chances of conceiving.

urinary tract infections or UTI, UTI in women, UTI and infertility, can UTI cause infertility, infertility in women, UTI in men, how does UTI spread, how to prevent UTI, UTI and health, parenting, indian express news Both men and women can develop a urinary tract infection in parts of the urinary system like the kidney. (Photo: Getty/Thinkstock)

Even in men, UTI can cause infertility. Bacteria from infections in the genito-urinary tract can spread to other reproductive organs and the prostate gland, affecting the quality and quantity of sperms. Men usually do not contract UTI from women — as the bacteria causing the infection is already present in their urinary tract — but they can spread it to their partners during sex. It is important for male partners to get tested and treated for UTIs.

Ways to prevent UTI

* Increase fluid intake

Drink a lot of water to flush out toxins. Increased water intake will also lighten the colour of the urine and make it less acidic. According to studies, most women with frequent UTIs report low fluid intake.

* Wear comfortable underwear

Tight underwear can create a moist and warm environment for bacteria to live in. Make sure that you wear comfortable undergarments.

* Urinate after intercourse

It is important to urinate after having sex to flush out the bacteria to prevent infections.

* Maintain proper hygiene

Using public toilets can spread several infections. You should wipe from front to back after urinating and bowel movements to prevent bacteria from entering the vagina or urethra.

* Do not hold urine

Avoid holding the urine as it will cause abdominal pain. Urinating will release toxins as well as reduce heaviness in the bladder.

Sometimes, UTIs are confused with sexually transmitted infections (STIs), which can be the reason behind infertility problems. If you spot any symptom, consult a doctor to know about the exact cause of the infection. Prevent UTIs before it impacts your ability to conceive.

(The writer is fertility consultant, Nova IVF Fertility East, Patna)

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