Paisley Prescriptions - October 2021

Urinary Tract Health: From UTIs to Kidney Stones


October 2021 Issue - Paisley Prescriptions
Urinary Tract Health: From UTIs to Kidney Stones

When is the last time you thanked your kidneys? Those two, small bean-shaped organs in your lower back are incessant workhorses for your health. Here’s what these superstars are doing while you go about your day: They are regulating your body’s fluid levels, filtering waste and toxins from your blood, releasing hormones that regulate your blood pressure and direct production of red blood cells. If that is not enough, they also activate vitamin D to maintain healthy bones and keep blood minerals, such as sodium, phosphorus, and potassium, in balance. We all experience malfunctions occasionally, and unfortunately, one in three Americans is at risk for developing kidney disease.

Read on to get more in touch with your kidneys and urinary tract. Here’s what we asked our local health experts:

PYRx HaroldKentby Harold L. Kent, M.D.

Glow Coastal Surgical

What makes some women have frequent urinary tract infections (UTIs)?

Women have a short urethra, the tube draining the bladder, which makes it easy for bacteria to enter from either the anus or the vagina which are close to the urethra. Celibate women can have UTIs, but there are more UTIs in sexually active women. In addition, a new sexual partner can increase the risk of having a UTI, as well as some birth control methods, such as diaphragms and spermicidal agents.

Congenital abnormalities of the urinary tract which don’t allow the urine to leave the body normally can lead to a UTI, as can blockages of the urinary tract due to kidney stones or other causes. The frequent insertion of a urinary catheter increases the risk of getting a UTI.    
Other factors that can increase the risk of UTIs are having had a recent procedure performed on the urinary tract.

Having frequent urinary infections can lead to more serious problems, such as pyelonephritis where the kidney itself is infected.

What healthy behaviors and habits help to minimize UTIs?
Several behaviors, including observing healthy sex habits, will help to decrease the frequency of UTIs. Drinking a lot of fluid helps to flush out the bladder and wash bacteria away from the urethra. It’s not established that drinking cranberry juice is helpful, but it won’t hurt.

Proper cleaning after using the toilet is important. Carefully wiping from front to back will avoid carrying germs from the area around the anus to the area of the urethra.

Using lubrication during intercourse may help to minimize the risk of a UTI. Use a sterile lubricant that is water soluble. Vaseline and petroleum-based products are not good for this purpose. After sexual intercourse, women should empty their bladder immediately to wash bacteria out of their urethra.

Avoid feminine products such as deodorant sprays, douches or powders, as these may increase the risk of infection. If you have frequent UTIs, consider changing birth control methods if you are using diaphragms, unlubricated condoms or spermicidal agents.

Dr. Harold L. Kent, specializing in Bariatric and General Surgery, is owner of Georgia Coast Surgical Med Spa and More; 3226-F Hampton Avenue, Brunswick, Georgia, 912-264-9724. Website:, Facebook: Georgia Coast Surgical & Med Spa

PYRx1021 KrancDr. David M. Kranc, M.D., Ph.D.
Southeast Georgia Health System

Do frequent UTIs lead to long-term kidney problems?

UTIs can cause issues if left untreated.

What are kidney stones, and how can I avoid them?

Kidney stones are hard deposits of salts and minerals that crystalize in the kidneys or bladder. Drinking more water is the best way to prevent kidney stones. Also eating a healthy diet and decreasing the intake of proteins and salt will help reduce your risk for stones.

What is the link between diabetes and kidney disease?

Diabetes, especially uncontrolled, damages small blood vessels in the kidneys. The kidneys can’t function correctly, causing retention of water and waste products. These stay in the body causing damage. Diabetes also causes nerve injury, which can affect the bladder, possibly causing the bladder to function improperly. Urine may not be able to be emptied correctly, causing UTIs, and could possibly back up into the kidneys, causing damage.

Dr. David M. Kranc, M.D., Ph.D. is a board-certified urologist. He studied at the University of Pittsburgh, the University of Tennessee, the University of Memphis and the University of Chicago. Dr. Kranc practices at Southeast Georgia Physician Associates-Urology, 2500 Starling St, Suite 602, Brunswick.

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