Category Archives: Women’s Health

Summertime UTI

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Photo from 123RF

Madison McGuire

The coming of summer means lazy weekends by the pool, taking a trip to the ocean, swimming in the lake, and spending lots of time in swimsuits. What many don’t realize is that the summer brings an increased risk to men and women for getting a UTI. A urinary tract infection occurs when bacteria passes through the urethra and travels up into the bladder or kidneys to multiply in the urinary tract. One’s swimming hygiene habits, or lack thereof can increase risk for developing recreational water illnesses, especially UTIs. 

Swimming pools can be a breeding ground for germs if there is a combination of urine or fecal matter in the water, people not showering before swimming, and low levels of chlorine. Be sure to talk to the pool staff about their measures to ensure the water is adequately disinfected and decontaminated.  

In rare cases, a bacterium known as Pseudomonas aeruginosa can cause UTI associated with hot tubs. When it comes to swimming in lakes or beaches, avoid those with high bacterial levels. It should also be noted that it is less safe to pee in the still water of a lake than the moving waves of the ocean.  

Lower your chances of getting a UTI by changing out of wet bathing suits as soon as possible. Germs tend to grow best in warm, moist places. Women are more prone to UTI due to their tight-fitting swimsuits and anatomically shorter urethra that gives easier access to the bladder. Since the summer’s heat and humidity can increase the risk for UTIs, always be sure to drink plenty of fluids to help flush out bacteria through the urinary tract.

Can Cranberry Juice Stop a UTI?

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Photo from Organic Facts

Vandana Dubakula

Around 65% of women will experience a urinary tract infection (UTI) in their lifetime. There are many myths about what will alleviate UTI symptoms or get rid of the UTI all together. At the top of this list is cranberry juice, which many women claim cured their UTI. Clinical studies however,  offer conflicting results on the effectiveness of cranberry juice.

UTI’s are caused by bacteria such as E.coli. They can affect the urinary system including kidneys, ureters, bladder, and urethra. The infection usually starts in the lower urinary tract (urethra and bladder) and causes symptoms such as a burning sensation during urination, frequent urge to urinate, and cloudy or strange-smelling urine. The real danger, however, is with untreated UTIs which can affect the kidneys and lead to kidney damage or–in very severe instances– infections spread through the blood. UTI’s tend to affect women more than men due to their anatomy.

Cranberries come into play through an active ingredient—A-type proanthocyanidins (PACs)—that can keep bacteria from sticking to the bladder wall. Since cranberry juice also increases urination, it might wash bacteria out of the bladder which might reduce the pain and burning associated with UTIs. However, the active ingredient usually does not stay long enough in the bladder to cure the infection. Thus, cranberries can help with the symptoms of a UTI but should not be depended upon to cure it.

Moreover, cranberry juice  has low concentrations of A-type proanthocyanidins (PACs), so it takes large amounts of juice to have an effect.  A major drawback is that cranberry juice contains substantial sugar. Even cranberry juice with no added sugar (such as Oceanspray 100% cranberry juice) has 28 grams of sugar in 8 fluid ounces of juice. Cranberry capsules are concentrated with the antioxidants and active ingredients and are thus a better alternative to cranberry juice.

However, don’t rely on cranberry juice/capsules to fully cure your UTI. It is important to consult with your doctor and you may need antibiotics.

Is it Possible for Your Period to Sync Up With Your Best Friends?

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Photo from DRC_Calendar

Nicole Kell

Most women have experienced having the same period schedule as their friends. You have probably heard that all the hours you spend together caused your menstrual cycle to sync up. However, there is no scientific evidence based on chemicals or hormones to support this theory. Obstetrician-gynecologist Lynn Simpson explains that proximity cannot change cycle timing or frequency of periods because they simply do not work that way. There is however, a mathematical explanation to why your period might match up with a roommate or close friend. Dr. Simpson explains, “Over time, a woman who has a three-week cycle and another who has a five-week cycle will eventually see their periods coincide and diverge again.” Women who live together for at least a year, are bound to have overlapping cycles a few times. It’s just coincidence of our cycle lengths.

There are other factors that affect menstrual cycles such as birth control pills, stress, chronic illness, and eating disorders. Birth control pills alter the levels of progesterone and estrogen that control and manipulate when a women will have her period, if at all. Stress over life or work caused by constant anxiety and worry can cause a woman’s period to be earlier or later than normal. Living with a chronic illness, having constant health problems and/or taking certain medications can also cause irregular menstrual cycles. Lastly, eating disorders such as anorexia or bulimia or highly restrictive control over caloric intake can impact menstrual cycles.

Even though many women may experience a connection with their close friends or roommates, it seems to be simply a coincidence when their periods happen to sync up.

Myth or Truth — Does Your Period Really Sync With Close Friends?

Do Women’s Periods Really Sync Up When They Spend Time Together?