How to deal with UTIs

By: Ann Avery, Infectious Disease Physician at Metrohealth Medical Center

Ugh. Urinary tract infections (UTIs) suck! They’re annoying and often times can be painful. Unfortunately, if you’re someone living with HIV then you have most likely experienced your fair amount of UTIs.

If you don’t know what a UTI is, it’s basically an infection that affects your kidneys, bladder, and urethra. In short, it’s built up bacteria that makes it hurt to pee. Can you say OUCH?!

Here are some common symptoms of UTIs:

- A burning sensation when peeing

- Frequent urination

- Cloudy or dark urine (you could even see blood in the toilet sometimes!)

- Urine with a strong odor

- A feeling of incomplete bladder emptying

- Pelvic pain

And while UTIs can affect anyone, they are mostly common in women because it’s easier for bacteria to enter into a woman’s bladder.

Antibiotics usually can do the trick, so we do recommend you see your doctor if you believe you could have a UTI.

In the meantime, here are a few at-home tricks against UTIs:

  1. Drink TONS of water. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! You know why your pee might be super dark? Because you probably aren’t drinking enough water. You should drink half your body weight in ounces every day. We know, that seems like a lot, but go on Amazon and buy a fun, reusable water bottle to help keep you motivated and on track (all while being kind to mother earth).
  2. More Vitamin C. Vitamin C just might protect your body from building up bacteria. Fruits and veggies are the easiest way for you to intake more Vitamin C. Any time you might be hungry for a snack, grab an apple or some carrots and veggie dip.
  3. Drink some unsweetened Cranberry juice. Did you know that cranberries can prevent bacteria build-up? Any unsweetened brand you can find at your local grocery store will do the trick.
  4. Don’t hold your pee for too long! That leads to bacteria build-up.
  5.  Pee after you’ve had sex. This may go without saying, but we are going to tell you anyway, during sex, bacteria get pushed up your urethra. Peeing after sex is an easy way for your body to push that bacteria back out from your body right after you get it on!
  6. We know, people with vaginas,  you probably already know this– but after you go to the bathroom, make sure you wipe front to back! Pretty self-explanatory. It’s super important you do that every time to avoid any bacteria from entering your vagina.

The bottom line is we know UTIs are a frustrating issue and almost everyone has dealt with one at least once. As long as you’re staying healthy peeing after sex and drinking plenty of water, your UTI days will naturally be numbered. Buhhh-bye, UTIs!





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