Gynecological diseases such as urinary tract infection, candidiasis and bacterial vaginosis can be a real nightmare in the lives of people with a vagina. Often, they take time to heal and accompany the individual throughout life, and can cause anxiety, stress and even lead to greater trauma.
That’s what happened to journalist Victoria Ferreira, 25, who for two years divided her life between antibiotics and nights in the emergency room, due to recurrent urinary infections. To this day, after getting the problem under control, she is still afraid of reliving those years of agony and stress.
Victoria is not alone. The recurrence of disorders of the type is high. To give you an idea, a publication from Harvard University (USA) says that 25% to 30% of people who have had a urinary tract infection once have it again within six months of the first diagnosis. Now, imagine suffering from her symptoms often. “The main one is pain when urinating, but it can be accompanied by several others, such as fever and body weakness”, says Fúlvia Estefânia Padre e Fechine, a gynecologist and obstetrician at the Federal University of Maranhão.
“My pee was almost pure blood”
The first crises came in mid-2016. Victoria was still a student and was thinking about giving up her journalism course. She lived a period of stress between work and college exams. “I remember one day in particular, horrible, but it marked me. My mother had to help me, because I passed out from the pain in the shower. It was like a stab wound, the abdominal region was very swollen and I felt some twinges. , a very strong burning sensation, I could not walk.”
The difficulty in finding a treatment that had an effect and the various visits to the doctor, which were once every 15 days, began to cause even greater anguish. The more her health deteriorated, the more emotionally shaken she became. “When I moved to London, I had a scary episode. I was really nervous about my visa and all the money that was being spent on the trip, so I went to pee, but it wasn’t just pee, it was almost pure blood. I thought I was going to die, but the result, again, was urine.”
She says that the procedure was always the same in the hospital: x-ray, to see if there were no kidney stones, serum, blood test. “It always gave a urine infection, but it never showed what the cause was,” she recalls.
That’s when the specialist who was already following her in Brazil recommended a six-month treatment with antibiotics. During that time, there were still a few episodes, but today, nearly four years later, Victoria can’t remember the last time she had an infection, though she never found out for sure why she had it so often.
His life also had a significant improvement, with changes in eating habits, lifestyle and psychological treatments. But she is still afraid of it all happening again. “If I feel a little burning, I keep drinking water, I think I need to take two or three showers a day to get better. I spent almost two years going to the hospital at least once every two months or so, so I’m afraid.”
Mental health can be a symptom and cause
Suffering days (or years, as was the case with Victoria) with diseases like this, even more without knowing the cause, causes significant effects on the psychological of each individual, becoming almost a symptom of these disorders. However, stress can become precisely the reason for relapse, as it messes with the body, including decreasing immunity.
“The body is not disconnected from the mind. Our emotional state regulates several issues, such as sleep and hormones. When you are anxious and tired, you end up eating worse to have moments of pleasure and all this influences”, says Carolina Ambrogini, gynecologist and obstetrician from EPM-Unifesp (Escola Paulista de Medicina, Federal University of São Paulo) and from Projeto Aphrodite, a center for female sexuality in the gynecology department of the University.
According to the expert, a balance is needed, because the more stress you are going through, the more you will reward yourself with bad things, worsening the problem and generating a vicious cycle. “To break it, it is often necessary to change the person’s lifestyle, review food, physical activity, habits and routines. This is all in addition to treatment with drugs to take care of the symptoms”, she completes.
In some cases, the follow-up of a specialized psychologist is recommended as part of the treatment, be it for urinary infection, candidiasis or any other pathology.
Ambrogini also reinforces the importance of the urine culture exam. This analysis allows the identification of the bacteria that cause certain infections in the urinary tract, and can fight them more effectively, since the continuous use of certain antibiotics can generate resistance.
How to avoid urinary tract infection?
Although there are several reasons for them to happen, some precautions can be taken to avoid them. Drinking water is one of the most effective methods, being two to three liters a day.
“The patient needs to urinate several times so that he can expel the colonies of bacteria from the bladder. It is good to opt for diuretic foods: fruits such as pineapples, grapes, as well as lactobacilli and cranberry compounds, which help to reduce the concentration of pathogens”, he explains. Fulvia Estefania.
It is also essential to pee pre and post-coital. During sexual intercourse, bacteria from the anal area can enter the urinary tract and adhere to the walls of the bladder, but if you urinate, you end up sending them away.
Finally, avoid washing the genital area excessively with soap and always use products with a neutral pH. “Only once a day, small amounts of soap between the lips, do not wash inside the vagina. If you take more than one bath, then the second time only use water”, says Ambrogini.
Sources: Ana Luiza FaganielloMaster in Health Sciences and Psychologist at Unifesp’s Trans Health Center (Federal University of São Paulo); Carolina Ambroginigynecologist and obstetrician at EPM-Unifesp (Escola Paulista de Medicina, Federal University of São Paulo) and Projeto Aphrodite, a center for female sexuality in the gynecology department of the University; fulvia Estefânia Padre and closegynecologist and obstetrician from the Federal University of Maranhão.