For many women, their first experience of UTI will occur during menopause. We’ve already explored the symptoms of UTI but we wanted to look at the hormonal changes of menopause and why this happens.
A Urinary Tract infection occurs when bacteria gets into your urine and travels up to your bladder. It’s estimated that UTIs account for more than 8.1 million visits to health care providers every year. The majority of these patients are women, with 60% of women expected to experience a UTI during their lives.
UTIs and a change in female hormones
Estrogen is a hormone that is produced by the body to help develop and maintain female organs. As we go through menopause, we see levels of estrogen reduce. This can create some changes in the bladder, vagina, vulva and urethra.
Menopause will increase the risk of developing a UTI because of the change in levels of estrogen. The tube that carries urine from the bladder is called the urethra. As levels of estrogen drop, the urethra may start to weaken and so becomes more prone to bacterial invasion. The bladder also will start to weaken at this time resulting in a similar elevation of risk.
Managing UTIs during menopause
If you start to notice these UTI symptoms such as the sudden and frequent need to pee, burning when you pee, cloudy or discoloured urine, you should think about getting tested. Using our TestCard UTI test strips kit can help you get a straight answer from the comfort of your own home.
It’s common in menopausal women to think that douching can help with infection – but this is not thought to be an effective treatment. It’s much better to keep your vagina clean, stay away from products that are scented, wear cotton underwear and go to the toilet before and after sex.
UTIs can’t always be prevented, and if you’re struggling you should speak to a medical professional.
Treating UTIs in menopause
There is a definite link between menopause and UTI and medical professionals are working hard to identify a vaccination. Some studies have shown that supplements including hyaluronic acid, chondroitin sulfate, curcumin and quercetin can help to reduce the frequency of UTIs in post-menopausal women. You can also undertake topical vaginal estrogen therapy.
Treating a UTI is generally straightforward. If you use our TestCard UTI test strips testing kit, you can share the TestCard results with a medical professional who can quickly diagnose what's needed which could include prescribing antibiotics.