For the health of women, physical activity is always an excellent investment, for several reasons: it is good for the cardio-respiratory system, muscles and joints, helps manage body weight, prevents osteoporosis and psychic well-being, and reduces the risk of depression and mood disorders. But can the prevention of urinary tract infections be added to the long list of benefits of the movement? We talk about it with Dr. Alberto Saita, urologist at Humanitas.
Those of the urinary tract are among the main infections that can undermine the health of women before and after the menopause. They are a very frequent disorder that lends themselves also to the risk of chronicity. To make life difficult for the bacteria that cause these infections, it is necessary to drink a lot of water: «Women who practice physical activity are pushed to drink more water to replenish the lost fluids and therefore can help in the prevention of urinary tract infections in this way», reminds us Dr. Saita.
Preventing stones through physical activity
Women who suffer periodically from cystitis, that is, infection of the lower urinary tract, can find a valid ally in a type of physical activity against this disorder: «Targeted exercises, also performed under the supervision of a personal trainer, can help these women to strengthen the pelvic floor and thus cope with those spontaneous physiological alterations affecting the voiding sphere given precisely by cystitis».
Another benefit of exercise is improvement of the immune system, «which is strengthened by physical activity and protects the body from the aggression of pathogens».
Urinary tract infections can also develop when the bladder is not completely emptied. Another cause can be the formation of stones in the kidney or the bladder, impeding the flow of urine. These stones can be prevented with physical activity: «With calculosis – explains the expert – women are exposed to the risk of recurrent inflammation: the urinary tract gets obstructed and becomes infected. When we talk about bacteriuria, or the presence of bacteria in the urine, we are talking about the so-called idiopathic forms of stones, associated with incorrect lifestyles characterized by a lack of adequate fluids or diets which favour the precipitation of minerals and the formation of stones».
Hygiene and adequate clothing
In some cases, however, physical activity can also hide some risks if it is carried out without particular attention: «It is important to wear clothes made of natural and non-synthetic fabrics. The latter stimulate sweating and vaginal rubbing, which increase the chances of having recurrence of urinary infections; then, we must pay attention to personal hygiene in shared spaces, such as swimming pools, changing rooms, and gyms to prevent the risk of contracting forms of fungal infections», concludes Dr. Saita.