Periods should come regularly when you’re not trying to conceive. However, there are instances when they get delayed and it can be a worrying thought for any women whether or not they are trying to get pregnant. Then again, there are reasons why your period might be a bit late.
A urinary tract infection (UTI) affects more women than it does men. The female anatomy puts ladies at a slight disadvantage here as the urethra in women is shorter than that of males. As such, bacteria only need a short distance to travel in order to reach the bladder.
Many ladies have also wondered whether getting a UTI affects the arrival of menstruation. There is a certain number of days between the previous bleeding and the next, and when a UTI is thrown into the middle of it, it’s not unusual to wonder whether it is causing periods to be delayed.
What is a Urinary Tract Infection?
As its name suggests, a UTI is the infection of the urinary system which includes the bladder, kidneys, ureters, and urethra. Most of the infections occur in the lower urinary tract which includes the bladder and urethra. A UTI can be a painful experience for a sufferer and symptoms include:
- a burning sensation when urinating
- constant need to urinate
- passing small amounts of urine frequently
- urine with a strong smell
- cloudy urine
- pelvic pain
A UTI affects different parts of the urinary tract and as such, there are specific signs and symptoms depending on which part is infected:
- bladder (also called cystitis) – discomfort in the lower abdomen, urination that is frequent and painful, blood in the urine, pelvic pressure
- kidneys (acute pyelonephritis) – pain on the upper back and side, high fever, nausea, vomiting, shaking and chills.
- urethra (urethritis) – burning sensation when peeing, discharge
UTI occurs when bacteria gets into the urinary tract by way of the urethra and multiply in the bladder. Your urinary system is designed to keep them out, but there are occasions when they fail. The uncontrolled growth of bacteria is what leads to infections.
Normal case UTIs can be treated with antibiotics but more severe varieties may need hospital treatment.
There are ways to limit the risk of UTIs, and these include:
- drinking plenty of water – this dilutes the urine and although it makes you go to the bathroom more often, it is an effective way of flushing out bacteria from the urinary tract
- wiping from front to back – this stops the spread of bacteria from the anal region to the vagina and urethra; always do this after urinating and bowel movements
- changing birth control method – items such as diaphragms and condoms treated with spermicide are culprits in the growth of bacteria
Reasons for a Late Period
Pregnancy might be the top reason for a missed period but if you’re not trying for a child, there may be other reasons for your late period. It may be caused by:
- too much exercise and excessive weight loss – a dramatic drop in body weight may lead to missed periods and so can excessive exercise. For instance, training for a marathon puts the body in too much stress and prevents ovulation in the process.
- stress – period hormones are regulated in the hypothalamus which can be affected by stress.
- thyroid imbalance – the thyroid gland is responsible for regulating metabolism and problems with it can affect your period.
- polycystic ovary symptom – a hormone imbalance that leads to lack of ovulation causing you not to menstruate.
- birth control method – the side effect of some products include missed periods plus it takes a while for menses to return if you’ve stopped birth control.
- chronic diseases – celiac is often mentioned but chronic diseases (especially those that are left untreated) in general cause stresses your system which can then affect your period.
UTI and Your Menstruation
Now that you know the basics of a urinary tract infection and the possible causes of a late period, is there a possible connection between them? Put simply, can suffering from a UTI be the cause of menstruation being delayed? The short answer is no but it may also be possible. How can that be?
As discussed earlier, stressors to the body can delay ovulation leading to your period coming in later than expected. But generally, UTI isn’t a common reason for you not menstruating on an expected date.
Women are more prone than men to be affected by UTI mostly because of shorter urethras. They can even suffer from it more than once and when that happens, it’s best to consult a doctor who can tell you the further steps to take which may include additional treatments.