Painful Mornings and Uneasy Days? : Frequent UTI and its psychological impact
31 Aug 2015
What is UTI?
Urinary tract infection (UTI) is the general term for an infection occurring anywhere in the urinary system. While most UTIs involve the bladder and the urethra (the tube that drains the bladder), some can also involve the ureters (the tubes that carry urine from the kidneys to the bladder), and even the kidneys themselves.
HOW COMMON IS UTI?
UTI is no longer a rare term. It is becoming fairly common. It can happen to anyone a teacher, an IT professional, a child, an 80 year old man, a doctor and may more. UTIs are very common among women; about 50 to 60 percent of adult women have had at least one UTI. The numbers are significantly lower for adult men.
WHAT ARE THE COMMON CAUSES OF UTI?
Anything that reduces bladder emptying or irritates the urinary tract can cause UTIs. Some of the common factors that can put someone at risk include:
Blockages that make it difficult to empty the bladder can cause a UTI. Obstructions can be caused by an enlarged prostate, kidney stones, and certain forms of cancer.
Women are more likely to get UTIs. This is because their urethras are shorter. UTIs in men are less common and more serious.
· Sexual Activity
Pressure on the urinary tract during sex can move bacteria from the colon into the bladder. Most women have bacteria in their urine after intercourse.
· Bathroom Hygiene
Wiping from back to front after going to the bathroom can lead to a UTI. This motion drags bacteria from the rectal area towards the urethra. Further, dirty bathrooms or bathrooms with bacteria already on the toilet seat may further leas to a UTI.
Spermicides can increase UTI risk. Spermicides may cause skin irritation in some women which increases the risk of bacteria entering into the bladder.
Diabetes may make patients more susceptible to UTI. This happens since changes to the immune system make a person with diabetes more vulnerable to infections.
• Men with Prostate Problems –
Men with prostrate problems such as an enlarged prostate gland that can cause the bladder to only partially empty
· Loss of Estrogen
After menopause, a loss of estrogen changes the normal bacteria in the vagina which may increase the risk of UTI.
· Prolonged Use of Bladder Catheters
Catheters are used when someone cannot urinate normally. These thin, flexible tubes are inserted into the bladder. They allow urine to drain into a container. Long-term catheter use can increase the risk of UTI. They may make it easier for bacteria to get into the bladder. Treatment for a catheter-associated UTI may require removal of the device.
COMMON SYMPTOMS OF A UTI INCLUDE:
• Frequent Urination
• Bloody Or Dark Urine
• Burning Sensation While Urinating
• Pain In Your Kidneys (In Your Lower Back Or Below The Ribs)
• Foul-Smelling, Cloudy, Or Bloody Urine
• If The UTI Spreads To Your Kidneys, It Might Cause:
• Nausea And Vomiting
• Mental Disorientation
PSYCHOLOGICAL IMPACT OF UTI
While the physical impact is very well known to most of us, seldom do people talk about the psychological impact of UTIs. UTIs don’t only restrict themselves to only to physical symptoms, but come with a whole lot of psychological and emotional troubles as well. Frequent or prolonged UTI, often impacts one’s self efficacy and thereby their over all self confidence. In some severe cases, individuals especially women may also be prone to depression. Other common feelings associated with UTI include: Feeling of insecurity, anger, apathy, dependence, guilt, indignity, feeling of abandonment, shame, embarrassment, as well as denial.
Though the above mentioned are some of the other common issues men or women with UTI deal with, other more severe issues include:
Fear Of using Public Toilets
Fear Of Pain and the urge to control Urination
Sexual relationship anxiety
1. Fear Of using Public Toilets: Adding to the already existent worries, excessive concerns about personal hygiene make the situation worse. There is a high probability of individuals with UTI to develop a fear of using Public Toilets. They make become overly obsessive about hygiene and may become overly cautious of using toilets in the public even in situations when they are needed to. Some people with severe and prolonged UTI even may become to particular about the toilets they use at home, restricting themselves to use only one toilet and limiting others, even their spouse to use the same toilet. Others, who are required to be out all day in jobs, hospitals or schools may carry disposable toilet seats, seat sanitizer or excessive tissues to clean the seats with them. This fear primarily arises from the fact that UTI is in most cases a result of bacteria, which may be present in public toilets or toilets with multiple users.
2. Fear Of Pain and the urge to control Urination: Another common psychological impact that UTI generates is the fear of anticipated pain caused due to controlling of Urination. Controlling of any urge causes discomfort and urination being a natural process makes it more difficult to control. People who suffer with UTI have a frequent need or urge to urinate and often when that need is not met, they experience discomfort or pain in some cases. As a result simply the anticipation or thought of having to control their baldder makes one uneasy. As a result, sufferers may give up or restrict certain household chores, church/temple/holy-places attendance, shopping, traveling, vacations, physical recreation, entertainment events outside the home, and hobbies. They may even avoid activities outside the home if they are unsure of restroom locations.
and sexual difficulties are common. Women especially tend to get socially disengaged and socially isolated. Most women tend to get very particular about hygiene, especially bathroom hygiene, which may compel them to take some drastic steps such as move around with a toilet seat cover, sanitizer to clean the toilet seat, not share toilet with others (even spouse) or fear of using public toilets.
3. Sexual relationship anxiety: Multiple sexual partners, intense sex or not cleaning of genitals post sex are amongst the most common reasons for UTI. People specially women with UTI, often develop sexual relationship anxiety. This is mainly caused since suffers anticipate more discomfort while having sex during a UTI. They may also fear the urge of urination while having an intercourse and hence avoid having an intercourse to a large extent. Further, for individuals who become very hygiene conscious may avoid sex fearing an exposure to some foreign bacteria leading to avoidance of sex.
• Drink plenty of liquids, especially water. 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.
• Wipe from front to back. Doing so after urinating and after a bowel movement helps prevent bacteria in the anal region from spreading to the vagina and urethra.
• Empty your bladder soon after intercourse. Also, drink a full glass of water to help flush bacteria.
• 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.
• Change your birth control method. Diaphragms, or unlubricated or spermicide-treated condoms, can all contribute to bacterial growth.
• Avoid wearing tight clothes: Tight clothes may cause increased friction which may result in increased itching and bacterial growth.
While several preventive measures and treatments exists to cure UTIs, You are the key!
Urinary tract infections can severely impact our lives, and there is no reason for us to go on suffering. Educating oneselves about our bodies and taking the steps to care for them physically and emotionally will always lead to greater health and happiness. Thus, take time to understand the causes of your urinary tract infections and ways to prevent them. Consider boosting your immune system’s defenses and you’re likely to experience greater immunity from infections of all kinds, not just UTIs. You will be surprised at the difference you can make!
At ePsyClinic, We can help you fight and overcome UTI’s various psychological impacts through a structured approach.
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Tags: #uti #anxiety #women