Sunday, April 21, 2024

Managing urinary problems in the summer heat

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As the summer heat intensifies, so do certain health concerns, including urinary problems. From dehydration to urinary tract infections (UTIs), the warmer months can exacerbate existing conditions and create new challenges for individuals. In this article, we will explore common urinary issues encountered during the summer season and provide guidance on prevention and management.

Dehydration and urinary tract infections (UTIs): One of the primary concerns during summer is dehydration. Hot weather and increased physical activity can lead to fluid loss through sweating, resulting in decreased urine output and concentrated urine. Dehydration can predispose individuals to UTIs by reducing the body’s ability to flush out bacteria from the urinary tract. Additionally, holding urine for prolonged periods due to limited access to restrooms during outdoor activities can increase the risk of UTIs.

Prevention Tips:
1. Stay hydrated: Drink plenty of water throughout the day, especially when outdoors or engaging in physical activities. Aim to consume at least eight glasses of water daily, and increase intake during hot weather.

2. Urinate regularly: Do not hold urine for extended periods. Empty the bladder whenever necessary, even if it means finding a restroom during outdoor excursions.

3. Avoid excessive caffeine and alcohol: Both caffeine and alcohol have diuretic effects, which can contribute to dehydration. Limit consumption of these beverages, especially during hot weather.
Common Symptoms of UTIs:
l Pain or burning sensation during urination
l Frequent urination with minimal urine output
l Cloudy or foul-smelling urine
l Pelvic pain or discomfort
l Fever or chills (in severe cases)

Management strategies: If you suspect a UTI or experience any of the aforementioned symptoms, it is essential to seek medical attention promptly. UTIs typically require treatment with antibiotics prescribed by a healthcare professional. Additionally, following these strategies can help manage and prevent recurrent UTIs:

1. Complete the full course of antibiotics: Take all prescribed antibiotics as directed by your healthcare provider, even if symptoms improve before finishing the medication.

2. Increase fluid intake: Continue to drink plenty of water to help flush out bacteria from the urinary tract and maintain optimal hydration.

Urinary problems can pose significant challenges during the summer season, but with proper prevention and management strategies, individuals can minimise their risk and enjoy outdoor activities safely. Staying hydrated, practicing good hygiene, and seeking timely medical attention for symptoms are crucial steps in maintaining urinary health during warmer months. By prioritising self-care and adopting healthy habits, individuals can protect their urinary tract and overall well-being throughout the summer season and beyond.

(The author, Dr. Mathisekaran Thangarasu, is a consultant urologist, at AINU Hospital.)

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