Sunday, October 26, 2008

Are Hot Tubs a Cause of Urinary Tract Infections?

No--and yes, under certain circumstances, a hot tub might cause a uti. Here's how it could happen and what steps to take to continue enjoying the hot tub.

If you aren't sure what causes urinary tract infections, don't feel bad, you aren't alone. In a 2003 survey sponsored by the Bayer Corporation, 75% of the women questioned did not know that bacteria, such as E coli, are the origin of utis.

The urinary tract is a sterile environment. Urine is also sterile. E coli bacteria generally live in the intestine and do no harm there. Sometimes, however, they spread to the urinary tract and cause a painful infection.

How does E coli get to the urinary tract? The major ways are sexual intercourse, wiping from back to front after urinating, and sometimes from soaking in warm water.

Clean, well-maintained hot tubs do not cause urinary tract infections all by themselves. If the water is cloudy or has tiny particles floating on it or in it, probably it hasn't been cleaned recently. The best time to use a hot tub at a health club is in the morning, when, hopefully, it has just been cleaned and not many other people have been in it yet. The hot tub filters need cleaning, too; not just the tub itself. And some hot tubs have too high a level of chemicals. This can upset the pH balance of your urinary tract if you use the tub often, making it a more welcoming environment for the bacteria.

Just because the bacteria reach the urethra, doesn't mean you will get an infection. Bacteria like a warm moist environment to grow in. You need to make sure they don't get it. If you wear a swimsuit in the hot tub, take it off immediately when you get out. Take a shower after your session. Don't wear tight-fitting pants. Do wear cotton undies. Definitely go to the bathroom as soon as you feel the need.

Another good way to protect yourself from a urinary tract infection is to use an herbal remedy two or three times a year to keep your system in balance. It will maintain the health of the urinary tract, bladder and kidneys and help eliminate contaminants like bacteria and viruses.

Herbs often used in natural uti remedies are buchu and bearberry leaf. They both stimulate the production of urine, causing you to go to the bathroom more often, flushing out your system. Bearberry leaf also has astringent properties that tone the lining of the urinary tract, making it harder for the bacteria to attach themselves.

There are many causes of urinary tract infections. Hot tubs can contribute to an infection, but you don't have to give up enjoying the physical and mental health benefits they can provide. Just be careful about how you use them; and pro-active, keeping your body healthy naturally.

About the Author

Debra Higgins has been researching herbal and homeopathic remedies for physical and mental health for many years. Visit her website at to find her choice for urinary tract health.

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