Urinary Tract Infections – Everything a woman needs to know about UTIs
Urinary Tract Infections – Everything a woman needs know
Urinary tract infections or UTIs are quite a common complaint among women. Your urinary tract consists of your kidney, bladder, renal pelvis, ureters, and the urethra. The entire system is designed to take excess fluid in the form of urine out of the body. However, when there is an infection, the system can malfunction and cause a great deal of discomfort. While men do get UTIs, it seems to be more prevalent among women.
What are the symptoms of a urinary tract infection?
The symptoms of a urinary tract infection are pretty hard to miss. You will definitely know if something is amiss. They are as follows:
- A burning sensation when you pee
- Frequent and intense urge to urinate
- Very little urine production ( You may feel as if your bladder is full, however, there is very little urine to expel)
- Dark or cloudy blood-streaked urine
- Strange-smelling urine (Your urine may take on an unpleasant fishy smell. This is largely due to the bacteria in it.)
- Fever (This symptom may surface when the urinary tract infection has reached the kidneys. If you have a fever seek medical attention immediately.)
- Lower back pain ( this symptom also appears if the kidneys become infection)
The goal is to catch a urinary tract infection before it reaches the kidneys.
What can I do to prevent a urinary tract infection?
It is important to drink enough water. This is one of the most powerful tools in your arsenal. The recommended amount for women is at least 8 glasses of water. If you get UTIs often, it may be a good idea to increase your water intake.
Always urinate when you have to
Often one might develop a bad habit of holding their urine. You are strongly discouraged from doing this. You should never be too busy to urinate. Your body expels bacteria from the urethra via the urination process.
Exercise good hygiene
There are three main actions that you should make a habit to guard against UTIs:
-The genitalia area should always be washed regularly to minimize bacterial infection.
-Women should always wipe from front to back after urination and bowel movements.
-Urination after sex- When you pee after sex intercourse, the urethra is cleansed of bacteria. It is an effective preventative measure against UTIs.
Refrain from the use of feminine hygiene products
We cannot stress enough that these products often do more harm than good. They upset the ph balance of the vagina and cause irritation that could eventually cause infection.
Wear loose-fitting pants
While Tight-fitting pants and jeans may be fashionable. often trap moisture, creating the perfect environment the bacteria that can cause a urinary tract infection.
Favor showers instead of baths
Baths may unwittingly harbor harmful bacteria.
Although, this may seem like an unrelated complaint, urinary tract infections may be caused by constipation. When fecal matter fills up in the rectum and colon, it may place pressure or obstruct the bladder. This may prevent the bladder from being emptied efficiently. Unfortunately, this urine that remains in the bladder encourages the growth of bacteria that can lead to infection.
How is a urinary tract infection diagnosed?
A UTI is diagnosed by taking a urine sample. It is not painful and no blood needs to be drawn, A culture is then grown so that the type of bacteria can be ascertained. This helps your doctor prescribe the appropriate medication.
Is Cranberry juice a good remedy for Urinary tract infections?
While you may have heard that Cranberry juice can cure a urinary tract infection, there are mixed reviews. There are properties in Cranberry juice that prevent bacteria from invading the walls of the bladder. It appears that it may prevent a urinary tract infection from taking hold. Some women who are prone to UTIs have seen preventative results with Cranberry juice.
However, there is no conclusive proof that it will cure the infection. So, if you contract a urinary tract infection there is no harm in drinking Cranberry juice, it just may not as effective as you want it to be.
When should I see my doctor for a UTI?
It is recommended that you make an appointment to see your doctor as soon as you start experiencing symptoms. If you find that you keep getting UTIs, you may want to discuss this with your doctor. He may ask you questions regarding your lifestyle and habits. This could help him suggest preventative measures for you.
How are UTIs treated?
The sooner you consult your doctor, the sooner relief will be yours. Your doctor will prescribe antibiotics for your urinary tract infection.
These are fast-acting antibiotics, you may start to feel relief in the next day or so.
What happens if you let a UTI go untreated?
You should never ignore a urinary tract infection. An untreated urinary tract infection may spread from the bladder to the kidney. This may cause permanent damage to your kidney resulting in diminished kidney function. If the infection persists in may reach the blood causing sepsis, which can be life-threatening.
Why are women more prone to UTIs than men?
Infections are easier for women to contract since the female urethra is shorter. The male urethra being longer protects against bacteria transfer. Men also have the added advantage of prostate fluid which carries antibacterial properties.
What should I do if I get UTI after using spermicides?
If you notice that spermicides are giving your UTIs. You may want to stop using them. There are other forms of birth control that can be explored that may not present a problem.
- Condoms (without spermicides)
- intrauterine device
- Birth control patch
While urinary tract infections are a nasty business, you need not suffer needlessly. They are pretty easy to treat and there are preventative steps that can be taken.
- Flores-Mireles, A. L., Walker, J. N., Caparon, M., & Hultgren, S. J. (2015). Urinary tract infections: epidemiology, mechanisms of infection and treatment options. Nature reviews. Microbiology, 13(5), 269–284. https://doi.org/10.1038/nrmicro3432
- Kang, C. I., Kim, J., Park, D. W., Kim, B. N., Ha, U. S., Lee, S. J., Yeo, J. K., Min, S. K., Lee, H., & Wie, S. H. (2018). Clinical Practice Guidelines for the Antibiotic Treatment of Community-Acquired Urinary Tract Infections. Infection & chemotherapy, 50(1), 67–100. https://doi.org/10.3947/ic.2018.50.1.67
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