Wearing unwashed tight jeans for many days and lack of hygienic washrooms are becoming a leading cause of urinary tract infection (UTI) among young women, especially college goers, say city gynaecologists. Doctors say they are seeing a rise in this trend and awareness has become necessary as repeated UTI can lead to kidney failure in some cases.
What can lead to UTI?
Dr Rajshree Katke, medical superintendent of Cama and Albless Hospital in Fort, said, "We are seeing a rise in the number of young college-going girls suffering from UTI. We have found out that most of these girls prefer wearing tight jeans and wear them unwashed for days together. Wearing tight-fitting pants can trap in moisture and lead to repeated attack of UTI."
What is urinary tract infection?
UTI is a bacterial infection that can affect any part of the urinary tract. When the bacteria get into the bladder or kidney and multiply in the urine, they cause UTI.
Dr Kiran Coelho, consulting gynaecologist, Lilavati Hospital, said, "We are definitely seeing a rise in UTI and vaginal infection in college-going girls. We see more of them during summer and when the humidity is high. In tight-fitting clothes, there is no ventilation."
Unclean toilets, hygiene add to the problem
NGOs in Mumbai are already conducting a campaign called 'Right to Pee' to ensure clean toilets for women in the city.
Dr Ashwini Bhalerao Gandhi, gynaecologist at PD Hinduja Hospital, said, "Most of them avoid drinking water because of the fear of using unclean toilets. Bacteria grows in stagnant urine. One shouldn't hold urine for a long time or it becomes a vicious circle of UTI. Girls should also maintain hygiene during menstruation. Wearing tight-fitting jeans doesn't allow the area to dry and lead to growth of bacteria and infection."
Why is it more common in women?
Dr Coelho said because the urethra in women is shorter when compared to men, it makes it easier for escherichia coli or e coli bacteria to spread.
Dr Jatin Kothari, nephrologist at PD Hinduja Hospital, said, "UTI is one of the reasons behind kidney ailments seen in women. If UTI is not treated on time, it can cause chronic kidney ailments."
Symptoms of UTI
Symptoms vary with age and the area infected. The symptoms that one should look for to suspect UTI are urinating frequently, burning sensation after passing urine, fever with chills, smelly urine. "The person suffering from UTI may constantly feel the urge of passing urine, but only a few drops will come out. Urine can smell bad or look milky, cloudy, or reddish in colour. The woman can feel the pressure in their lower belly," said Dr Ashwini Bhalerao Gandhi.
To avoid repeated UTI attacks
1. Follow good personal hygiene and keep yourself hydrated. Drink at least three litres of water daily.
2. Avoid excess beverages, juices and sweetened drinks.
3. Avoid extra sugar in food, cookies, cakes and baked items with trans-fatty acids.
4. Go for whole grains and fibre rich diet.
5. Include antioxidants like cranberries, blueberries, cherries and tomatoes. They help in preventing the binding of the bacteria to the bladder wall.
6. Exercise 30 minutes a day.
7. Don't hold on urine. Also, visit the washroom before and after sex.
8. After urinating or having a bowel movement, wipe from the front to the back.
9. Avoid wearing tight-fitting pants, which can trap in moisture.