December is beautiful, isn’t it? We are back to the excitement of Christmas and everything seems to be the same every single year. There is the stress about your uncle’s present, as he doesn’t seem to like anything EVER and getting mesmerised by the beautiful Christmas lights on the main street. It is also a tradition to join the arguments where people decide what the socially acceptable time is to put up your Christmas tree. A couple of months ago I got in a slightly heated conversation (not from my part) after someone that I barely know heard that I slowly start decorating my flat at the start of November! As I am not good at confrontations, I quickly changed the topic to avoid randomly upsetting someone over a Christmas candle. People have had a lot on their plate these past years, so sensitivity and outbursts are to be expected.
Wintertime is also the time when my urinary tract reminds me of how much less I am drinking, which occasionally leads to a urinary tract infection, especially common with females. I used to have them constantly as a teenager and always assumed it is just the way I am- sounds familiar right? Over the years I learned what actually triggers a UTI response in the body, which I will quickly discuss here, so you can learn from my mistakes.
- Cold mornings and evenings are definitely not very encouraging when it comes to drinking plenty of water. Coffees and certain teas tend to dehydrate the body, although, that is the drink to go for most people during wintertime. Organic herbal-loose teas are a better substitution. If you can agree with at least a few good glasses of water a day, add a small amount of salt and lemon to it, your body will absorb it better instead of expelling it after every glass.
- I have had my partner give me a massive box of gluten-free oreo cookies as a present and I have been munching on them for 3 days now. And guess what- my UTI has arrived. If your bladder/kidneys/ovaries are your fragile spot, additional sugar, therefore, inflammation in your body will trigger your immune system’s fight response, which then leads to your sensitive spots flaring up again.
- Chemicals/toxins. If you wash your clothes, particularly underwear, with washing up liquid that contains various toxins that can trigger your body’s allergies/ inflammation, be aware it can show as frequent UTIs, especially with those who have skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis.
- Reduced oestrogen can cause changes in your body, particularly the vaginal wall and urethra. This would therefore be very common with menopausal women due to hormonal imbalances and young adults especially with improper diet and stress (common hormone triggers)
- Winter is a great time to enjoy various activities, however, it tends to cause bacterial overgrowth in response to condoms, lubrication and even oral contraception.
- An underlying disease. If your body gets regular infections and you feel like none of the previously mentioned factors are involved, make sure you consult with your doctor/gynaecologist to make sure there is no other underlying issue behind your frequent UTIs.
There are certain things I have found helpful with UTIs, however, mine have always been very mild where no antibiotics or other medication was involved, so if you are struggling, see your medical practitioner.
Cranberry juice is a must! And I am not talking about these sickly sweet Ocean juices, they are full of sugar, so don’t even go there! ‘’Biona’’ cranberry juice is a great substitute as it is a proper sour/harsh taste that you can dilute with water and gulp for a week. There are also cranberry supplements available.
Keeping your lower body and feet warm is a must to make sure the blood flow is good enough and your body is healing quickly.
Lots and lots of visits to the toilet. You want to flush the bacteria out!!!
Various supplements to reduce candida overgrowth (saccharomyces boulardii is a great option- not medical advice)
Reduction in processed foods, sugar and inflammatory oils- you can survive without a chicken nugget for a week.