The female body is simply amazing. Everything from the reproductive system to sexual function is still leaving scientists a bit puzzled despite the leaps and bounds of progress that has been made throughout the decades. Perhaps a lesser-appreciated function of the human body is the incredible urinary system.
The human bladder can stretch to hold about 400 ml of urine and, when it is time to be emptied, nerves send signals to the brain which gives you the indication and urge to go. The kidney can clean more than 1 million gallons of water in a lifetime, enough to fill a small lake.
In other words, the urinary system plays a vital role in our bodies. So how do we maintain a healthy urinary system and take care of our overall vaginal health?
Beating the Heat out of UTIs
Summertime means many things to different people. It can mean anything from long, sunny days on the beach to long, worn out days on the couch ready for the kids to go back to school. Wherever you find yourself this summer, one thing is certain– it’s going to get hot.
With added heat comes added opportunity for bacteria and germs to grow making urinary tract infections (UTIs) likely to pop up. UTIs account for roughly 10 million doctors’ visits per year and affects nearly every woman at some point in their lifetime. A UTI is an infection in any part of the urinary system. For women, this includes infections in the kidneys or bladder.
Taking Care of Yourself
It’s important, especially as women, to take care of our personal areas that get the most heat. A UTI can pop up at just about any time and with little to no warning. Signs that you may have a vaginal infection include itching, burning, pain in or around your vagina or vaginal discharge.
Keeping the vaginal area clean and dry is a good place to start when avoiding infections. Change out of your wet bathing suit and exercise clothes as quickly as possible this summer and, although it might seem impossible in the heat, keeping your vagina cool will help lower your risk of a UTI. Wearing cotton or cotton-lined underwear helps to ensure heat is not being trapped. Also, it can be easy to forget about drinking water when you’re in the pool, busy rushing kids from one event to the next, or having a stressful day at work but drinking plenty of water is crucial to keeping infections at bay and bacteria flushed out of your system.
Other factors that contribute to a UTI include:
- Physical or mental stress
- Sexual activity
- Menopausal status
Remember to take care of your body and eat lots of fruits and vegetables this summer. A weakened immune system is an open door for a UTI. The vaginal pH is sensitive to estrogen and, when thrown off, can upset the bacterial balance and cause a UTI.
Other Urinary Conditions
UTI’s are treated with antibiotics, but there are other urinary conditions that aren’t as simple to avoid and get rid of. Urinary incontinence is not related to an infection but can be a pesky reality for women who have experienced childbirth or are getting older. Unlike a UTI, urinary incontinence is due to weakened pelvic floor muscles.
One of the best non-surgical treatments for mild to moderate stress urinary incontinence is ThermiVa. ThermiVa helps strengthen the pelvic muscles and retrain the bladder nerves. It will also boost collagen and blood flow to the pelvic floor area creating stronger, more functional muscles. A lesser-known positive result of using ThermiVa is the reduced risk of UTIs. Dr. Drake at Practice Happiness uses this state-of-the-art radio-frequency vaginal rejuvenation technology. Upon completion of treatment, patients will notice a decrease in accidents and leakage of urine, reducing the need to go.
In addition to ThermiVa, a Kegel exercise program is recommended to continue building the strength of the muscles. Kegel exercises, or pelvic floor training, involve repetitions of both sustained and rapid voluntary contractions of the pelvic muscles.
When to Call the Doctor
Dr. Drake is available to answer any questions related to your female health. She specializes urinary incontinence and pelvic reconstruction. Dr. Drake brings the latest technology to her patients for the most positive results.
Don’t let the summer heat beat you down. If you suspect you might have a UTI or are experiencing other urinary conditions such as stress urinary incontinence, schedule a private consultation today at (281) 402-3268 to find the right treatment for you.