What factors put you at greater risk, and what can you do to prevent UTIs as you age?
As we grow older, our risk of developing UTIs increases. Some of this risk increases gradually as we age, and some develops more quickly as we hit menopause. What are the different factors at play, and what can you do to minimize your risk?
Why are you more likely to get a UTI as you get older?
Hormonal changes: After menopause, there are a few key hormonal changes that increase your risk of developing UTI. For one, as your body starts producing less estrogen. Estrogen stimulates the proliferation of a good bacteria called lactobacillus. With less lactobacillus, the pH of your vagina increases, creating a more inviting environment for bacteria to flourish and travel up your urethra. Additionally, the absence of estrogen decreases the volume of the vagina muscles, which can ultimately contribute to prolapse of the internal genitalia. Prolapse can make it difficult to urinate completely, and stagnant urine can enable bacteria to flourish.
The weakening of the muscles surrounding your bladder: As we age, we lose some of the strength in the muscles surrounding the bladder that we rely on to help us expel urine fully, independent of estrogen levels. As the leftover liquid sits in our bladder, bacteria has a better chance of thriving.
A history of UTIs: If you have experienced one or several UTIs throughout other periods of your life, your likelihood to develop UTIs as you age is higher than your counterparts without a history. There are a few theories as to why. One theory is that bacteria can sometimes lay dormant in the cells lining your urinary tract, so as the cells die off in your urinary tract, UTI-causing bacteria can be released. This can cause another UTI without an obvious external trigger.
Another theory is that UTIs can sometimes subtly damage the tissue lining your urinary tract. This damaged tissue has a harder time protecting itself against bacteria. You’ve heard that your odds of getting another UTI increase with each infection—this could by why.
What can you do?
Stay hydrated and urinate frequently and as fully as you possibly can.
Explore using over the counter solution Uqora daily. Uqora gives your body the extra defense it needs against UTIs by adhering to the bad bacteria and help you flush out liquid more quickly than you could on your own. Plus, Uqora includes electrolytes and vitamins that support immune function.
Speak with your physician about hormonal supplements. If your UTIs are onset by menopause, it may be worth exploring hormonal supplements to counteract the phenomenon. Some women have had luck with localized estrogen supplement, either applied as a cream or an inserted device. Some studies have shown that replenishing this hormone can bolster the health of your urinary tract and counteract the increasing pH which can work against you by giving bacteria a happy home.