Preventing a visit to the loo from being agony

Troublesome symptoms such as a constant need to urinate or pain or burning when passing water are often the result of a bladder infection. In this health tip you’ll find out how to prevent the problem.
Women are particularly familiar with the symptoms of a bladder infection: a shorter urethra means they’re more prone to the problem than men. Men tend to suffer more frequent infections as they get older. The symptoms of a bladder infection can include pain or burning when passing water, or a frequent sensation of having to urinate. In many cases it’s caused by bacteria: if they’re able to multiply too quickly in the urinary tract, the tissue responds by become inflamed. There’s a greater risk in winter because the cold weakens the immune system.

Usually a bladder infection is harmless and will disappear of its own accord in a few days. But people with a weak immune system or kidney condition as well as pregnant women should watch out, as they have a higher risk of a complicated urinary tract infection.

How to make life hard for bacteria

There are various steps you can take to prevent a bladder infection. You can stop the bacteria from spreading too much by drinking plenty to regularly flush out some of the germs. Women should wipe from front to back to avoid spreading anal bacteria to the urethra.

It’s advisable to empty your bladder completely to prevent germs already in the urine from multiplying further. This is especially important after sex, when the urethra is often irritated.

Women shouldn’t overdo it in terms of intimate care. This means as far as possible not washing with scented intimate products or sprays, which can attack the vaginal flora.

It’s important to keep your lower abdomen warm, particularly in the winter, as if it gets too cold the blood vessels in the skin and mucous membranes contract, making it harder for immune cells to get where they need to be, and easier for germs to attack.

Can cranberries help?

Many people who are prone to urinary tract infections swear by products containing cranberries, which are supposed to contain ingredients that prevent bacteria from sticking to the urinary tract walls. However, new studies show that this substance only has a very weak antibacterial effect. So many doctors are currently tending to recommend d-mannose (in powder or tablet form) to prevent bladder infections. This is a sugar monomer that is also supposed to prevent bacteria adhering to the walls of the urinary tract. But so far relatively little research has been done into this substance.

In the event of further health-related questions, SWICA customers can contact the santé24 telemedicine service free of charge on +41 44 404 86 86. A telemedicine practice licence allows santé24 physicians to provide additional medical services in cases that are suited to a telemedicine approach. SWICA customers can also use the BENECURA medical app to carry out a digital SymptomCheck and receive recommendations about what to do next. During a subsequent phone call with santé24, customers can decide for themselves whether to release their information from SymptomCheck to santé24.