Diabetes and UTIs
If you’re a person with Type 2 diabetes, your risk of developing UTIs may be even higher than non-diabetics. According to one study, 9% of the subjects with diabetes had UTIs, on a regular basis, compared with 6% of those without diabetes. A second study showed that people with diabetes had a 60% higher risk of getting a UTI compared to those without diabetes. *
*Diabetes, Self-Management, Amy Campbell, MS, RD, LDN, CDE, August 6, 2017
Why are people with diabetes more prone to UTIs?
Predisposition to urinary tract infections (UTIs) in persons with diabetes mellitus results from several factors. Firstly, people with diabetes may have poor circulation, which reduces the ability of white blood cells to travel in the body and fight off any kind of infection. Secondly, high blood glucose levels can also raise the risk of a UTI. Lastly, many people with diabetes have bladders that don’t empty as well as they should which results in urine staying in the bladder too long and becoming a breeding ground for bacteria.
In general, you could be more susceptible to urinary tract infections if:
- Your blood glucose levels are not properly controlled.
- Your nervous system is already affected by diabetes (neuropathy).
- You could have a “lazy bladder” that does not empty completely.
- You have had a urinary tract infection within the last year.
Although having diabetes puts you at a higher risk for a UTI, you can take steps to prevent it.
Ways to Prevent Urinary Tract Issues Associated with Diabetes:
- Control your blood glucose levels: As is the case for all types of infections if you have diabetes, it is crucial that you maintain your blood glucose (sugar) levels within the target range
- Maintain proper hygiene: Wash your hands often.
- Stay hydrated: Drink plenty of liquids, especially water (recommended 6-8 glasses of water daily) and drink alcohol and caffeinated drinks only in moderation. Drinking water helps dilute your urine and ensures that you’ll urinate more frequently — allowing bacteria to be flushed from your urinary tract before an infection can begin.
- Urinate immediately and fully — don’t hold it in: Go to the bathroom regularly and flush bad bacteria out of your urinary tract. Make sure you completely emptied your bladder and clean from front to back.
- Wipe from front to back: Doing so after urinating and after a bowel movement helps keep bacteria around the anus from getting into the vagina or urethra
- Take showers instead of baths.
- Choose breathable garments: Wear underpants with a cotton crotch. Don’t wear tight-fitting pants, which can trap in moisture.
- Cleanse your genital area before sex.
- Urinate before and promptly after sex: This may lower the risk of UTIs by flushing out bacteria that may have gotten into the urinary tract during intercourse
- Avoid potentially irritating feminine products: Using deodorant sprays or other feminine products, such as douches and powders, in the genital area can irritate the urethra.
- Evaluate your birth control methods: Diaphragms, or unlubricated or spermicide-treated condoms, can all contribute to bacterial growth.
- If you are post-menopausal consider hormone therapy: Speak with your physician about how your hormonal changes could be impacting your risk of UTIs. Some physicians recommend estrogen supplements to help.
- Use tampons for your period: Tampons are advised during the menstrual period rather than sanitary napkins or pads because they keep the bladder opening area drier than a sanitary pad, thereby limiting bacterial overgrowth.
- Quit smoking if you are a smoker
- Consider adding URIEXO® to your daily routine: URIEXO® can aid in maintaining a healthy urinary tract & bladder.
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Limited Mobility, Injuries and UTIs: If you have mobility issues or are bedridden, following a spinal cord injury (SCI) for example, you may be at higher risk of getting UTIs. Find out how you can prevent them!