Postpartum UTIs are simply urinary tract infections that take place in the days or weeks after giving birth. UTIs occur in about 5% of postpartum women; they occur in 15% of women who have undergone postpartum catheterization, which can introduce bacteria into the urinary tract that then lead to an infection.
While suffering from postpartum UTIs, you might experience symptoms such as –
• Pain or burning while peeing
• Pressure or sharp pain in the lower abdomen
• Feeling a need to pee often, even if only a drop or two comes out
• Urine that’s cloudy or foul-smelling
• Urination pain that seems to get worse instead of better after giving birth
If the infection get worse, you may also experience –
• Fever and chills
• Pain in the lower back or side
• Nausea and vomiting
• Blood in the urine, which may appear red, pink or brown
A shorter urethra (4 cm) in females as compared to males (20 cm) makes it easy for the bacteria to infect the bladder. Hence UTI is very common in women than in men. And pregnancy makes them more vulnerable.
The pelvic floor muscles help in keeping the urethra closed so that urine doesn t leak out. During labour, theses muscles go into an overdrive along with the ligaments, nerves and muscles of the lower abdomen. Excessive wear and tear during delivery can lead to injury or trauma to this set of muscles and ligaments. They subsequently might fail to do their job as they did pre-labour. Pregnancy may also cause the bladder to lose its tone making it difficult for women to completely empty their bladder. This makes the urine more susceptible to flow back up the ureters. The longer the urine stays in the urinary tract, the higher the chances of bacteria to multiply, and hence, higher the vulnerability to infection.
UTIs are typically treated with a short course of antibiotics, including if you’re breastfeeding. Many medications — including most antibiotics — are safe to take while breastfeeding.
• Kashayas like Guluchyadi and Vettumaran gulika can be given to reduce the fever during UTI.
• Use of Kashayas like Punarnavadi kwatha, Gokshuradi kwatham etc are effective in UTI. Punarnava plant (Boerhavia diffusa) is a powerful diuretic and medicines containing Punarnava greatly helps in UTI. Guggulu (Commiphora mukul) is also effective in UTI. Guggulu preparations containing Punarnava and Gokshura (Tribulus terrestris) are to be taken.
• Sudarshanam gulika and Kwatha are useful options to treat UTI as they contain Kiratatikta.
• Dhoopana of the rooms using Guggulu, Red sander, Sandalwood, Turmeric, Neem etc or using Aparajitha Dhoopa powder is highly effective in creating an aseptic environment in houses.
• Drink plenty of water to help flush out bacteria from your excretory system
• Drink cranberry juice. The juice is scientifically proven to treat as well as prevent UTI by preventing disease-causing organisms from sticking to the walls of the urethra.
• Have plenty of vitamin C rich foods. They make the urine more acidic and help the body to destroy and reduce the number of UTI causing bacteria in the urinary system.
• Practice good restroom hygiene. Avoid tampons and regularly change sanitary pads during menstruation.
• Get up and walk around as soon as you’re able after delivery. Moving your body will encourage your bladder and bowels to get moving too.
• Avoid using perfumed products, creams or gels around the genitals as they can greatly increase the susceptibility to UTI.
• Wear loose clothes to allow the genitals to remain dry and prevent the growth of bacteria.
• Be cautious while having sex. Urinate soon after having sexual intercourse to flush out organisms that may have reached the urethra.
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