Recurrent UTIs in perimenopause
Given one in five women going through perimenopause suffer from recurrent urinary tract infections, you think we would be talking about it a little more. Especially since that figure goes up after menopause.
But we’re not talking about it, and either are our GPs. What we are doing about it is gobbling antibiotics like it’s 1999. And it isn’t resolving the UTIs which is a problem because recurrent UTI infections can cause further health problems down the track.
What causes recurrent UTI’s?
So what causes those pesky infections to keep happening, and what can you do?
Assuming you have been to your GP and there is no diagnosed reason for the recurrent UTIs that have plagued you recently, and you happen to have noticed some hormonal changes going on, it’s a pretty safe bet to point your finger at declining oestrogen in the body.
For that reason, UTIs that keep coming back are more common towards the end of your perimenopause journey, rather than the beginning. And, if you’re prone to them, they are likely to get a little worse once you go through menopause.
Recurrent UTIs are more common towards the end of perimenopause
As I mentioned above, most recurrent UTIs caused by hormonal change come about from oestrogen decline, which in turn causes the vaginal lining to thin. This in turn will cause UTIs in one of two ways –
– either the vaginal microbiome becomes weaker which enables bacterial overgrowth causing UTIs, or
-when the vaginal lining thins it also causes “atrophy” of tissue around the urethra, exposing the urethra and making it easier to contract a UTI.
When Cranberry juice and Ural no longer cut it.
Either way, you are left feeling demoralised, frustrated and quite frankly fed up at that little hint of a feeling that you have a UTI coming on that no amount of Ural or cranberry juice seems to get rid of. No matter how quick you were.
Without adding hormones into your body, your best bet is to bring things more into balance. As your body learns to adjust to the reduced oestrogen there are ways to get around managing and even greatly reducing UTIs that don’t involve antibiotics.
What you can do to reduce your chances of another infection
Resolving your UTIs can sometimes be as simple as repairing the vaginal lining. Not always, but usually. Some things you can do are:
make sure you add the following into your diet daily:
- Essential fatty acids (through sesame, pumpkin and sunflower seeds)
- Antioxidants (berries are best here)
- Decreasing the amount of sugar and processed foods you eat
find help in balancing your hormones naturally
look for a good vaginal moisturiser – ensure it is natural and not oil based. I recommend this brand.
It won’t last forever
Remember that this won’t go on forever, and right now your mission is to get your hormones more into balance, ensure you are eating plenty of foods with essential fatty acids and antioxidants, cutting out sugar, processed foods and alcohol, and keeping your vagina moisturised.