Summertime means lots of opportunities for fun in the sun. But this year’s high temperatures also bring an increased risk of dehydration that can cause urinary tract infections (UTIs), said Maude Carmel, M.D., Associate Professor of Urology at UT Southwestern Medical Center. These common infections are marked by a burning sensation or pain with urination, increased urinary frequency, urinary urgency, and blood in the urine (a condition called hematuria).
“Patients can experience more UTIs during the summer due to inadequate fluid intake, especially in the historic heat waves we’ve been experiencing,” said Dr. Carmel, a urology specialist at UTSW, ranked No. 11 in the nation for urology care by U.S. News & World Report. “Dehydration is a leading risk factor for UTIs.”
It’s a common misconception that painful urination automatically signals a UTI, she added. Many other conditions can mimic the symptoms of these infections. Definitively diagnosing a UTI requires a urine culture; a urinalysis, or dipstick test, is not enough. Another common myth is that UTIs can be treated with cranberry juice. Although cranberry supplements can reduce some risk of infection, juice is too diluted to make a difference.
Dr. Carmel explained that anyone experiencing UTI symptoms should make an appointment to be examined by their primary care physician. If a patient has more than three UTIs diagnosed in a year, seeing a urologist could help to narrow down the cause with additional testing and evaluation of individual risk factors.
To reduce your chance of a UTI this summer, Dr. Carmel recommends taking these steps:
Keep yourself well hydrated by drinking at least two liters of fluid every day.
Urinate frequently – at least every three hours.
Urinate after intercourse. (NS/Newswise)