Cold causes urinary tract infection: find out if it’s myth or truth

Many people have heard from grandmothers that walking barefoot or soaking them in cold water during lower temperatures causes urinary tract infection .

To clarify it correctly, the editorial staff of Hickey solution sought answers to this story.

After all, is there a relationship between cold and urinary infections? If you are interested in the subject, check out the text below.


What is a urinary tract infection?

To help us with this text, we spoke with Dr. Daniel Boczar, general practitioner at Hospital Anchieta in Brasília.

He explains that urinary tract infection can happen anywhere in the urinary system: the bladder, kidneys and urethra (where the urine passes when it is eliminated).

One of the main causes of this condition is the bacterium Escherichia coli – which is naturally present in the intestinal tract and, under normal conditions, does not cause damage to health. However, when it proliferates excessively or migrates to the urinary canal, it can trigger intestinal and urinary infections, respectively.

Like any other condition that affects our body, urinary tract infections also have symptoms. Among them are:

  • Burning when urinating;
  • Urine color changed;
  • Strong smell;
  • Pain during or after urination;
  • Drip (urinary incontinence);
  • Constant desire to go to the bathroom;
  • Secretions or bleeding in the genital region.

It is still possible that the person has nausea, vomiting, feeling sick and fever . But these signs appear more often when the infection has already reached the kidneys.

What are the causes?

Urinary tract infection (UTI), or just urinary tract infection, is caused mostly by bacteria that invade the urinary system – and it is not difficult to know someone who has suffered from it, as UTI is one of the most common bacterial infections in humans .

Women are the most affected by the condition – the anatomy itself favors the migration of infectious microorganisms to the urinary canal due to its proximity to the anus, as pointed out by the doctor Daniel Boczar. In addition, some other factors can contribute to this.

Among them, having diabetes , immunodeficiency or making use of some medications that can lower the body’s defenses, for example. In addition, kidney problems (such as kidney stones) or prostate problems are also factors that increase the chances of UTI.

But even those who have no risk factors can suffer from the condition. In these cases, it is mainly the incorrect hygiene of the intimate region that favors the occurrence.

And when winter comes, some people have the impression that along with it comes the discomfort of urinary tract infection. Directly, there is no relationship between cold and the onset of a urinary tract infection, but there may be a good answer for that – it has to do with habits that change in cold seasons.

Does cold cause urinary tract infection?

There is no scientific evidence that there is a relationship between being cold and a urinary tract infection. What happens, in fact, is that some habits that people adopt during the winter favor the emergence of it.

One of the measures that helps to reduce the risks of an UTI is to drink plenty of water. This is because the more liquids are ingested, the more urine will be formed and the person will go to the bathroom more often – which contributes to cleaning the canal through which the pee comes out (called the urethra).

That is, urinating helps to eliminate some bacteria that may be in the urethra, which reduces the risk of them settling in and developing an infectious condition.

But what does all this have to do with the cold? According to Daniel Boczar, a doctor at Hospital Anchieta in Brasília, during the cold it is common for people to drink less water, which ends up decreasing trips to the bathroom.

Thus, the less fluids, the less urine and, consequently, less cleaning of the urethra. The result is that there are more chances of symptoms arising from a UTI.

Does walking with bare feet cause urinary tract infection?

There is no scientific evidence that walking with bare feet or wetting them with cold water can influence the onset of infections in the urinary system. What often happens is that some people may feel like urinating when going through these experiences.

General practitioner Daniel Boczar explains that this is because the bladder responds to external stimuli by a reflex mechanism. So water causes the urge to go to the bathroom instantly – as urinary urgency is one of the symptoms of urinary tract infection, the conditions can be confused.

But it is worth reinforcing, then, that when wetting the feet or stepping without shoes on the cold floor does not cause UTI – that urge to urinate that happens is just a reflex.

Why does the cold make you want to urinate more?

First of all, it’s nice to say that this happens to everyone and it’s super normal. This increased urge to pee during lower temperatures is called cold diuresis.

The condition basically happens because of 2 factors. The first is very simple to understand: in summer, liquids are eliminated through urine and sweat.

But in winter, the body sweats less. Therefore, liquids are mostly eliminated by urine, which consequently ends up increasing the volume of it.

The other reason for cold diuresis is that when your body is exposed to cold, blood vessels constrict in order to keep as much blood as possible around vital organs.

When this contraction occurs, the heart pumps blood more strongly, causing blood pressure to rise. Upon realizing this increase in blood pressure, the kidneys begin to eliminate the fluids that are no longer needed, in order to balance the body.

And that is mainly why cold diuresis occurs.

Why do women suffer more often from urinary infections?

The answer to that question is simple: anatomy. Women have the urethra closer to the anus, which favors the migration of microorganisms to it. In addition, as the urethra is shorter than that of men, when bacteria reach the urinary canal, the path to the bladder is much shorter – which explains more frequent conditions in them.

This is one of the reasons for the importance of properly cleaning the vulva after urinating.

The correct way is to pass the toilet paper starting from front to back, that is, from the urethra to the anus. This prevents the bacteria present in the region from being dragged into the entrance to the urethra.

It is also important to emphasize that some conditions can favor infections in the urinary system. In the case of women, pregnancy and menopause are the main ones.

How to prevent?

General practitioner Daniel Boczar even gives some tips on how these urinary tract infections can be prevented.

The first one is super cliché, but it is still valid: drinking a lot of water throughout the day is essential. This is because drinking a lot of water causes more trips to the bathroom, which cleans the urethra.

Peeing after penetrating sexual intercourse is also indicated for women. Thus, bacteria that were taken to the urinary tract during sexual intercourse are more likely to be eliminated.

Another doctor’s suggestion is not to hold your urine for too long. Did you feel like going to the bathroom? So do it as soon as possible.

The doctor also gives one more tip: change the tampons (known as OB) frequently. Do not forget that the blood accumulated in the cotton is the perfect environment for the proliferation of bacteria.

When changing intimate pads, infections in both the urethra and the vaginal canal are avoided.

And last but not least, the general practitioner reinforces that the best way to answer questions or make correct diagnoses is to seek medical help.

Urinary tract infections are more related to the lack of drinking enough water than low temperatures.

To avoid them, it is recommended to drink plenty of water throughout the day and go to the bathroom whenever you feel like it, not allowing urine to accumulate in the bladder.

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