UTIs are normally more common in women than in men owing to shorter urethras. Several studies[i] have evaluated the likelihood of development of persistent bacteriuria or bladder infections following bacteriuria in pregnancy. Explained simply, this means that urinary tract infection during and immediately after pregnancy is simply a part of the natural history of UTI in these women. The study also indicates that the risk of developing bacteriuria during and after pregnancy is because of factors that are not specifically related to pregnancy itself. Let us study the list of postpartum complications and postpartum infection treatment.
Common infections of the urinary tract postpartum and their signs and symptoms
Yeast infection after giving birth is again more common in women who are prone to yeast before pregnanc. Candida albicans yeast organism is present in all women. However, in some women, it leads to increased vaginal discharge, itching in vaginal area and foul odor. In women who have just given birth, there are changes in the vaginal ph. Tight maternal wear that prevents adequate aeration of the vulva can also increase the risk to Yeast infection after giving birth. Mothers often have to sit for hours while nursing their baby; a fact that can increase the risk of yeast infection further owing to increased irritation in the genital area. It is important to treat this postpartum complication quickly because failure to do so could increase risk of passing thrush to baby.
Infection in birth stitches
Signs of infection in birth stitches include pus, swelling, fever, foul smelling urine after giving birth etc. You need to have this infection checked out by your OB/GYN. Antibiotic medicines will give relief from such an infection.
UTI postpartum breast-feeding
Persistent UTIs during and before pregnancy increase one’s risk to developing UTI postpartum. Breastfeeding mothers can not normally take strong antibiotic medicines as these drugs can pass through breast milk to the child. Foul smelling urine after giving birth, pain during urination, passing very little urine, back and abdominal pain are some of the signs of UTI postpartum. See your doctor immediately if these symptoms worsen.
Other common entrants in the list of postpartum complications are mastitis, puerperal infection, wound infection in Caesarean sections and episotomies. Conventional treatment for these infections is a course of antibiotics. In most cases, these antibiotics do not pass through mother’s milk and should not be used as an excuse to stop nursing.
Home remedies to manage postpartum UTI recurrences
It is best to manage the UTI symptoms with home remedies since postpartum uti antibiotics lead to undesirable side effects. Also, with frequent use, the bacteria may get immune to these drugs. Here are some general recommendations that you can use for postpartum infection treatment at home:
You can use hot compress, or take a mild pain medicine. Heat up some rice wrapped tightly in a sock with sealed end. Microwave this ‘hot pack’ for a few seconds. Apply this to the abdominal region and back where you have cramps. Repeat as many times as needed for pain relief. You can also sit in warm Sitz bath to get relief from pain.
Drink plenty of fluids
You need to drink a lot of water-at least 8-10 glasses every day. Urinate frequently to void the bacteria. A glass of unsweetened cranberry juice is also a great option. Avoid caffeinated beverages.
Apple cider vinegar
Drink a glass of apple cider vinegar mixed with water 2-3 times a day to fight inflammation and prevent bacteria from sticking to the walls of the urinary tract.
To fight inflammation, drink a glass of water mixed with 1-2 tsp of baking soda. This can prevent spasms and pain.
Reduce sugar intake
Limit intake of sugar completely since sugar breeds bacteria.
Here are some other ways to manage UTI while breastfeeding.
Postpartum uti antibiotics
If home remedies do not give relief, you may have to use postpartum uti antibiotics. Timethropin 100 mg every 12 hours for three days or quinolones are commonly prescribed postpartum uti antibiotics that are safe during nursing.
[i] Infectious Diseases in the Female Patient edited by Rudolph P. Galask, Bryan Larsen