A urinary tract infection, or UTI, is an infection which can be caused in any part of the urinary system, which includes the kidneys, bladder, ureters, and urethra.
Chances of getting a urinary tract infection are high for women. Some experts rank the risk of lifetime of getting a urinary tract infection as high as 1 in 2, with many women having repetitive infections, sometimes for years. For men the rank is about 1 in 10 men a UTI in their lifetime.
Below is how to handle UTIs and how to make it less likely to get in the first place
Symptoms – UTIs
The symptoms of a UTI may include:
- A burning sensation when you pee
- A frequent or intense urge to pee, even though little is coming out
- Cloudy, dark, bloody, or strange-smelling pee
- Feeling tired or shaky
- Fever or chills which is a sign that the infection may have reached the kidneys
- Pain or pressure in the back or lower stomach
Types – UTIs
An infection can happen in separate parts of urinary tract. Each type has a separate name, based on its location.
- Cystitis (bladder): the feeling to pee may arise or it may hurt when have to pee. lower belly pain and cloudy or bloody urine might also be experienced
- Pyelonephritis (kidneys) can cause diseases such as fever, chills, nausea, vomiting, and pain in the upper back or side.
- Urethritis (urethra) can cause a discharge and burning sensation when pee.
Causes – UTIs
UTIs are a fundamental reason why doctors consult women to wipe from front to back after using the bathroom. The urethra which is the tube that takes pee from the bladder to the outside of the body is located close to the anus. Bacteria from the large intestine, such as E. coli, can sometimes get inside the urethra out of the anus. From there, they can travel up to the bladder and, if the infection is left untreated it can continue on to infect the kidneys. Women have smaller urethras than men which makes it easier for bacteria to enter their bladders. The urinary tract can introduce bacteria while having sex
Because of the genes, some women are more likely to get UTIs. The shape of their urinary tracts makes others more prone to be infected. Women having weakened immune systems due to diabetes make them less able to fight off infections and a higher risk of getting UTI. Other conditions that can increase the risk which includes hormone changes, multiple sclerosis, and anything that affects urine flow, such as kidney stones, a stroke, and a spinal cord injury.
Tests and Diagnosis – UTIs
If a urinary tract infection has been suspected, go to the doctor. A urine sample will have to be given to test for UTI-causing bacteria.
If UTIs are frequent and the doctor suspects a problem in the urinary tract, an ultrasound, a CT scan, or an MRI scan might be taken to have a closer look. A long, flexible tube called a cystoscope may also be used to look inside the urethra and bladder.
Treatments – UTIs
Antibiotics are the most common treatment for urinary tract infections if the physician recommends when needed. As always, even after starting to feel better the prescribed medicines should be taken. Drinking lots of water will help in flushing the bacteria from the body. To soothe the pain the doctor may prescribe certain medications. A heating pad might also be helpful.
To prevent or treat UTIs cranberry juice is often promoted. The red berry in cranberry contains tannin that might help in preventing E. coli bacteria which is the most common cause of urinary tract infections by sticking to the walls of the bladder, where they can cause an infection. But research hasn’t found that it does much to decrease infections.
Experts are also seeking at new ways for treating and preventing UTIs, including vaccines and things that boost the immune system.
It is likely to get another UTI to a man if already had one before. About 1 in 5 women may develop a second urinary tract infection, and some may have them repeatedly. In most cases, each infection is brought on by a separate type or pressure of bacteria. But some bacteria can invade the cells of the body and multiply in number, creating a colony of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. These bacteria then travel out and invade the urinary tract
Chronic UTI – Treatment
If having three or more UTIs in a year, a treatment plan should be recommended by the doctor. Some options may include taking:
- A dose of an antibiotic which is low over a longer period to help in preventing repeated infections
- A single dose of an antibiotic after having sex, which is a common infection trigger
- Antibiotics for 1 or 2 days every time symptoms emerge
- A non-antibiotic prophylaxis treatment
Urine tests taken at home, which can be bought without a prescription, can help in deciding whether the doctor needs to be consulted or not. If antibiotics are consumed for a UTI, test can be done to see whether they’ve cured the infection although the medications prescribed will still need to be finished.
Preventing UTI Re-Infection
Following below tips to help in avoiding and getting another UTI:
- Bladder should be emptied often as soon as the feeling arises for the need to pee; don’t rush, and be sure that bladder is emptied completely.
- Wipe from front to back after using the toilet.
- Drinking lots of water.
- Preferring showers over baths.
- Avoiding feminine hygiene sprays, scented douches, and scented bath products; they’ll only increase irritation.
- Cleansing genital area before sex.
- Pee after sex to flush out any bacteria that may have entered the urethra.
- Diaphragm, unlubricated condoms, or spermicidal jelly for birth control if used, another method may need to be switched to. Diaphragms can increase growth of bacteria, while unlubricated condoms and spermicides can irritate the urinary tract. All of them can make UTI symptoms more likely.
- Keeping genital area dry by wearing cotton underwear and loose-fitting clothes. Wearing tight jeans and nylon underwear should be avoided; they can trap moisture, creating the perfect environment for bacteria growth.