Some tips for preventing urinary tract infections - The Buffalo News

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Some tips for preventing urinary tract infections

Dear Doc: I’m a happily married newlywed. Six months ago, my new hubby and I got back from Hawaii, where we had a great time lounging on the beach, hiking the hills and eating well (you’d be proud of my Mediterranean habits). We also had ample time for you know what, those romps in bed.

The problem was I got a urinary tract infection three days into paradise. Had to visit an urgent care late at night to get some sorely needed antibiotics. Needless to say, it was a bummer.

Well, long story short, it’s happened again. I’ve been downing the cranberry juice but it doesn’t seem to work. What can I do?

– Frustrated Newlywed

Dear Frustrated: What you have is often called “Honeymoon Cystitis,” a common occurrence among new brides associated with, as perhaps you know, sex. The more sex you have, the more likely you are to get it. Yes, a bummer it is, but there are things you can do.

First, about that cranberry juice. My mom used to swear she never had “kidney” infections because she drank a glass of juice every morning. Science says perhaps.

No one drinks straight cranberry juice, it’s just too bitter. Cranberry juice cocktail, or mixes, have about 250 calories per juice glass, which makes them rather caloric.

The active ingredient in cranberries is proanthocyandin, which some consider the antibacterial ingredient. According to animal studies, you need about nine ounces twice daily to do the trick. So if you’re only having one glass of cranberry juice a day, you’re not having enough. I’d shoot for the full dose of two glasses a day and see what happens.

Now what about the sex? Change position. Empty your bladder before you romp. And some physicians give antibiotics to take after you’re done, but that might be overkill.

Don’t give up the ship. As you get older and the honeymoon is far, far away, this tends to stop.


Dear Doc: During the winter, every time I grabbed the steering wheel my hands went numb, my fingers tingled and turned white. When I was out cross-country skiing, it really bothered me.

I’m a 40-year-old exercise nut. I eat right. I’m not overweight. Do I have poor circulation? What’s wrong?

– Skiing Bobby

Dear Skiing: You have Reynaud’s phenomenon, a hyper-exaggerated circulatory response to cold weather. When your hands touch something cold, your body conserves heat by shunting circulation away from the skin.

We all do this; your body just does it to the extreme. I developed this years ago – first noticing it when I was skiing in 5 degree weather. Needless to say, it didn’t add to the joy of my trip.

First off, check with your doctor or pharmacist. Some drugs, such as beta blockers (used for high blood pressure and heart attack prevention) can cause Reynaud’s. Other blood pressure drugs, such as calcium channel blockers, can actually make it better. That’s something to consider if you need blood pressure medication.

But for most of us, me included, it simply means wearing gloves. I leave a pair of woolies everywhere – in the car, in my wife’s car, by the doggie leash for when I’m going outside. I’m never without them during the winter.

When I’m doing any outside sport, I double glove, with a polypropylene insert. And when I go up to Green Bay to see those Packers in the cold, I bring along disposable glove warmers. They make the difference between laughing at the cold and crying because of it.

Dr. Zorba Paster is a physician, university professor, author and broadcast journalist. He also hosts a radio program at 3 p.m. Saturdays on WBFO-FM 88.7; email questions to him at

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