Need another reason to watch your weight this holiday season? Losing weight could help ward off urinary tract infections (UTI), according to a recent study. So, in addition to eating cranberry sauce to prevent a UTI, think about skipping dessert and passing on seconds this Thanksgiving in order to lower your risk for developing this common urologic condition.
In a recent study presented at the 2009 Annual Scientific Meeting of the American Urological Association (AUA), researchers evaluated insurance claims of 95,962 subjects over a five year period (from 2002 through 2006) to identify whether obesity is associated with a UTI diagnosis. The results show that, as body mass index (BMI) increased, the odds of being diagnosed with a UTI increased as well. This association was strongest for morbidly obese patients.
A UTI can be a serious condition, which, if left untreated, could spell trouble for the bladder and kidneys. Cystitis occurs when bacteria multiply in the bladder causing symptoms like painful or frequent urination. Pyelonephritis is an infection of the kidney. These infections are usually accompanied by fever and can become very dangerous and even life-threatening if the bacteria then spread into the blood stream (bacteremia) or cause symptoms of shock (sepsis).
“UTIs affect millions of people and account for more than 8 million doctor visits per year,” said Anthony Y. Smith, MD. “If a patient has symptoms, he or she should seek care promptly to avoid potentially serious complications.”
Frequent, sometimes painful (burning) urination is the most noticeable symptom of a UTI. The urine may also be cloudy, or have a stronger odor than usual. In some cases, there may be blood in the urine or hematuria. Hematuria is a common UTI symptom, but may also be caused by a more serious problem in the urinary tract. It is important to get prompt medical attention if you have blood in your urine.
Urologists caution that losing weight might not help patients with chronic UTIs and urge patients to seek treatment if they have UTI symptoms. Other methods of UTI prevention include eating cranberry products with no added sugar and drinking plenty of water. Sometimes, judicious use of antibiotics, prescribed by a physician, can help ward off frequent or chronic infections. To avoid UTIs, you should not delay, refrain from or rush when urinating. Retaining urine and not emptying your bladder completely can increase your risk.
Please contact Lacey Dean at 410-689-4054 or ldean@AUAnet.org to schedule an interview with Dr. Anthony Smith, MD.
About the American Urological Association: Founded in 1902 and headquartered near Baltimore, Maryland, the American Urological Association is the pre-eminent professional organization for urologists, with more than 16,000 members throughout the world. An educational nonprofit organization, the AUA pursues its mission of fostering the highest standards of urologic care by carrying out a wide variety of programs for members and their patients.
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