I recently ran into a friend who mentioned being plagued by urinary tract infections (UTIs). We’ve all been there - chugging ridiculous amounts of water and cranberry juice, inevitably leading to frequent and uncomfortable trips to the bathroom before finally succumbing to a trip to the doctor for antibiotics. However, not everyone knows that your choice in personal lubricants can significantly contribute to your chance of getting UTIs.
First, a pro tip: don’t have sex in hot tubs!
Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s get into other ways to avoid UTIs.
From a course of antibiotics or extra high blood sugar levels to holding in your pee for too long, there can be several potential causes of infection. That said, intercourse is the number one cause of UTIs, as it can cause irritation of the urethra, leading to infection. Once your body’s bacterial defenses are disrupted, you are more likely to have reoccurring infections, so it’s always a good idea to pay attention to your habits right away if you find yourself with a sneaky UTI.
To avoid irritation and infection from sex, being picky about your lubricant is key. Using a lubricant with a spermicide can cause UTI’s, as are lubricants made with glycerin, sugar, xylitol or any sweetener that can become food for bacteria. It’s also key to check the PH of your lubricant. Water-based lubricants are the best choice for vaginal health, but check that the PH is acidic for optimal health (like Romp!). If you are prone to UTIs, avoid using oils as personal lubricants, which become food for bacteria as well. Once you’ve secured your natural lubricant, make sure to urinate after sex.
For post-menopausal women, exercising your vaginal muscles is also a crucial tool in fighting off UTIs. Increasing the muscle tone and blood flow to your vagina will help to maintain an environment for optimal health.
At Lark, we are awed by what we refer to as “the most important organ on the planet.” Acknowledging all of the changes in our bodies is an important step in self-care. As we travel through our monthly cycle, our vaginal moisture fluctuates as does our need for healthy moisturizers and lubricants. As we age and our muscle tone decreases, we should encourage ourselves to pay more attention, not less, to our vaginal muscles and the kegels that keep them strong. While it’s possible that an occasional UTI is unavoidable, we’ve found that following the guidelines above have been key to avoiding the dreaded trip to the grocery store for cranberry juice.