A urinary tract infection, or UTI, is an infection that you can have in any part of your urinary system, which includes the bladder, kidney, urethra, and ureters.
The chance of getting a urinary tract infection is high in a woman. Some women have a repeat infection, sometimes for years. Some women have UTI due to genes also. Around 1 in 10 men will get a UTI in their lifetime.
Symptoms of UTI
- A burning feeling when you pee
- An intense or frequent urge to pee, even though little comes out
- Cloudy, dark, bloody, or strange-smelling pee
- Feeling tired
- Fever or chills (a sign that the infection might have reached to your kidneys)
- Feeling Pressure or pain in your back
Types of UTIs
Each type of infection is different based on where it is and has a different name.
- Cystitis (bladder): In this, you might hurt while pee or you feel like you need to pee a lot. You might also have pain in the lower belly, bloody urine.
- Pyelonephritis (kidneys): This can cause nausea, fever, chills, feeling like vomiting, and pain in your upper back or side.
- Urethritis (urethra): This can cause burning when you pee.
Causes of UTIs
You might know that doctors advised women to wipe from front to back after using the bathroom. The urethra which is close to the anus is the tube that takes pee from the bladder to the outside of the body.
Bacteria such as E.coli came out of your intestine into your urethra. From there, they can travel up to your bladder and can infect your kidneys if not treated on time. Women have shorter urethras than men, and that’s why bacteria can easily reach the bladder.
Having sex can bring bacteria into your urinary tract, too.
Women having diabetes have a week immune system, and due to this, they are at a higher risk of having UTI.
Other conditions that can increase the risk of having UTI include hormone changes, multiple sclerosis, and anything that affects urine flow, such as a stroke, kidney stones, a spinal cord injury.
UTI Tests and Diagnosis
If you suspect UTI, then consult the doctor and give your urine sample to test for UTI-causing bacteria.
If you get frequent UTI and the doctor suspects any problem in the urinary tract, then take a closer look with an ultrasound or an MRI scan, a CT scan. A long, flexible tube called a cystoscope might be used to look inside your urethra and bladder.
Treatments for UTIs
Antibiotics are the most common treatment for urinary tract infections and you can take them if your physician consults you. Be sure to take all of your prescribed medicine, even after you feel better, and don’t forget to drink enough water to flush the bacteria out of your body. You might find a heating pad helpful. Your doctor might give you medication to soothe the pain.
Cranberry, Redberry juice might help you to treat UTIs.
Research is going on and still, the experts are looking for new ways to treat UTI including boosting your immune system and vaccines.
If a person gets a UTI, he’s likely to get another. In most cases, each infection is brought on by the different types of bacteria. But some bacteria can multiply create a colony of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. They can travel out of the cells and re-invade your urinary tract.
Chronic UTI Treatment
- If you have more than one UTIs in a year, ask your doctor to recommend a treatment plan. Some options include taking:
- A low dose of an antibiotic help prevent repeat infections over a long period
- After sex a single dose of an antibiotic, which is a common infection trigger
- A non-antibiotic prophylaxis treatment
How to Prevent UTI Re-Infection
These are some tips that can help you avoid getting another UTI:
- Empty your bladder whenever you feel the need to pee; don’t rush, and make sure you’ve emptied your bladder.
- Wipe from front to back after pee
- Drink lots of water.
- Choose showers over baths.
- Stay away from feminine hygiene sprays, scented bath products, scented douches as they’ll only increase irritation.
- Cleanse your genital area before sex.
- It’s important to pee after sex to flush out any bacteria that may have entered your urethra.
- If you use unlubricated condoms diaphragm or spermicidal jelly for birth control, you may want to switch to another method. Diaphragms might increase the growth of bacteria, while unlubricated condoms and spermicides can irritate your urinary tract. All can be responsible for UTI symptoms.
- Keep your genital area dry by wearing loose-fitting clothes and cotton underwear. Don’t wear nylon underwear and tight jeans as they can trap moisture, creating the perfect environment for bacteria growth.
Don’t lose hope and you can keep yourself away from this infection if you’ll take the proper precautions that are necessary for you.