Your hot tub may make you more susceptible to urinary tract infections

Menopause and Perimenopause

Cortney Good
Desiree Abecassis
@AVogel_ca


28 December 2020

What is Urinary Tract Infection?

A Urinary tract infection (UTI) is an infection of the urinary tract caused by small microorganisms like bacteria, fungi or in some rare cases by viruses. These microbes are very small and can only be seen under a microscope.

A UTI can occur anywhere in the upper or lower urinary tract. The urinary tract is made up of your kidneys, urethra and bladder. UTIs are amongst the most prevalent infections in human beings.
Women are more likely to catch a UTI than men.

Can UTI's be caused by hot tubs or whirlpools?

Your "you time" to unwind and relax can get you in trouble if your hot tub or Jacuzzi is unhygienic or dirty. You can easily catch Pseudomonas aeruginosa a bacterium most commonly found in hot tubs or whirlpools whichis the main cause of UTIs and hot tub rash.

A study conducted with three UTI patients, found that,all three of the patients were perfectly healthy before contracting Pseudomonas aeruginosa from a hot tub, spa or whirlpool they used. Pseudomonas aeruginosa was the main cause of their UTI.

The results showed that hot tubs, spa or whirlpools are a high-risk factor for UTIs linked with Pseudomonas.

What are any other additional health problems associated with Pseudomonas aeruginosa?

Pseudomonas aeruginosa most likely targets immuno-compromised individuals and causes a host of health problems including:

  • Urinary Tract Infections
  • Respiratory System Infections
  • Dermatitis
  • Soft Tissue Infections
  • Hot Tub Rash
  • Bone and Joint Infections
  • GI Tract Infections

What is it like to suffer from UTIs and how do you know you have one?

UTIs can cause a lot of pain and discomfort. Symptoms usually depend on age and which part of the urinary tract is infected.
Symptoms of UTI:

  • Pain or a burning feeling when urinating
  • A frequent or intense urge to urinate, even though little comes out when you do
  • Cloudy or dark urine
  • Bloody or strange-smelling urine
  • Muscle aches
  • Abdominal Pain
  • Feeling tired or shaky
  • Fever or chills
  • Pain or pressure in your back or lower abdomen

If you suffer from a UTI, should you avoid using a hot tub?

As hot tubs are high-risk factors for catching a UTI, one should definitely avoid using a spa, whirlpool or hot tub if they already have an existing UTI. This may cause your already existing infection to aggravate and cause more serious issues. You could also risk infecting others by spreading your bacteria into the hot tub as well.

Even if you don't have a UTI you should be very careful and be sure to only use hot tubs that are properly decontaminated and checked regularly.

What are the normal causes of UTIs?

  • Sex. During sex, bacteria can be transferred into the urethra from the anus or vagina
  • Menopause. After menopause, the production of estrogen decreases and changes the pH value of the vagina. This increases the chance of infection and renders one more susceptible.
  • Constipation. It's very difficult to empty your bladder completely when you suffer from constipation. This traps the bacteria inside and gives it the time and breeding ground to proliferate and cause an infection.
  • Uncontrolled Diabetes. If you have high blood sugar, extra sugar will be removed through the urine. Sugar creates a favorable environment for bacteria to thrive and grow. This can result in an infection.
  • Holding in Urine. Always empty your bladder on time in order to get rid of bacteria and avoid infection.
  • Dehydration. Drinking an adequate quantity of water allows one to pass urine more frequently. Aim for at least 2 liters of water every day in order to protect yourself from UTIs. This flushes the bacteria from the system and prevents infection.

Diet – dos and don'ts if you have a UTI

Avoid these foods if you have a UTI:

  • Coffee. Caffeinated drinks like coffee can irritate your bladder. According to a study, women who increased their consumption of coffee or caffeinated sodas had a higher chance of urinary urgency and UTIs.
  • Alcohol. Alcohol is a diuretic and can create large amounts of urine rapidly that can irritate the bladder and weaken your pelvic muscles.
  • Spicy Food. Avoid spicy foods when suffering from a UTI, as it may cause extra burning during urination. The hot spices can irritate the bladder and worsen your UTI bathroom experience.
  • Diet Soda. Diet soda is loaded with caffeine, gas and aspartame and is the worst thing to drink when suffering from a UTI. Aspartame can cause urinary discomfort and bladder pain. It is best to stick to plain water or tea during a UTI.

Consume These Foods Instead:

  • Cranberries or Cranberry Juice. Cranberry juice contains phytochemicals which prevent harmful bacteria from sticking to the bladder walls, where it can replicate and cause infection. Cranberry juice works like a natural antibiotic when used for a UTI. According to a study, cranberry juice helped reduce the occurrence of UTIs.
  • Pomegranate Juice. Pomegranate juice contains antioxidants and vitamin C, which help in fighting a UTI. Vitamin C works to strengthen the immune system and helps get rid of the infection.
  • Unsweetened probiotic yogurt. Probiotics play a key role in preventing UTIs. Probiotics work by displacing the harmful bacteria with good bacteria and thus reduce the symptoms of UTIs.
  • Broccoli. Broccoli is rich in vitamin C, which increases acidity in urine and prevents the formation of harmful bacteria that cause UTIs.
  • Water! Stay Hydrated. Drink a lot of water to help you urinate more frequently and flush bacteria out.

Nature to the rescue!

The plant Uva ursi or Bearberry has been used for ages to treat urinary tract infections. Uva Ursi is used as a medicinal herb that has great benefits in treating urinary tract and bladder infections (cystitis).

Uva Ursi contains glycosides, a chemical that helps reduce bacteria in the urine. In our body, glycosides are converted into hydroquinone, a chemical that is famous for its antibacterial properties. Furthermore, Uva ursi is believed to reduce inflammation with its astringent effect on mucous membranes.

Uva ursi also contains natural chemicals such as arbutin and hydroquinone which are great in fighting infection and inflammation. ⠀

Echinacea purpurea, another herbal medicine, has great antibacterial properties and has been proven to treat and prevent a UTI. Echinacea purpurea helps to strengthen our immune system and this immune boosting effect can help fight a UTI.

Uva ursi and Echinacea purpurea help treat urinary problems linked with cystitis in women, such as burning sensation when urinating and frequent urination (cystitis).

Follow these tips to protect yourself when using a Spa or Hot Tub:

  • Avoid using a hot tub when you have diarrhea. If bacteria was the cause of your diarrhea, wait at least two weeks before using the spa or hot tub
  • Check the tub for any red flags such as green or cloudy water
  • Use test strips to check if the water has proper levels of chlorine
  • Never swallow or let the tub water get in your mouth
  • Bacteria can enter your body through cracks or cuts in the skin. Avoid using a hot tub with an open wound

References :
https://www.healthline.com/health/urinary-tract-infection-adults
https://www.prevention.com/health/a20433449/8-most-common-causes-of-utis/
https://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/news/20000526/whats-living-in-your-hot-tub#1
https://www.livescience.com/62841-hot-tubs-weird-infections-injuries.html
https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/article-abstract/388328
https://www.ehagroup.com/resources/pathogens/pseudomonas-aeruginosa/
https://www.cathaydrug.com/14-lifestyle-changes-all-women-must-do-to-guard-against-uti/
https://greatist.com/eat/natural-treatment-for-uti#1
http://www.arkansasurology.com/blog/top-foods-that-can-help-a-uti
https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/uti-home-remedies
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5591533/
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3205674/
https://www.victoriahealth.com/product/Uva-Ursi-and-Echinacea-Complex-Drops/11923
http://pennstatehershey.adam.com/content.aspx?productId=107&pid=33&gid=000278
https://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/news/20180517/pools-hot-tubs-can-harbor-dangerous-germs#1
https://www.everydayhealth.com/urinary-tract-infection/drink-more-water-get-fewer-utis/

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