Urinary tract infection is an infection that occurs in any part of the urinary system that includes; Urethra, Bladder, Ureters, and Kidneys. Women have higher chances of getting UTIs than men. A bladder infection can be painful and annoying, with more significant consequences when the UTI reaches your kidneys.
Causes of UTIs
You get a UTI when bacteria from the colon, like E. coli, move from your anus into your urethra. If you fail to treat the infection, the bacteria can travel to the bladder and consequently infect your kidneys. Women have a higher risk of getting an infection because their urethras are shorter.
Having sex also introduces bacteria into the urinary tract. Women with diabetes have a higher risk of getting infected since their immune systems are weak, making it difficult to fight off infections. Other conditions that increase the chances of infection include:
Genes – the shape of your urinary tract makes you more susceptible
Anything that interrupts urine flow like spinal cord injury, stroke, and kidney stones
Symptoms of UTIs
UTI symptoms include:
A burning sensation when you pee
Feeling tired or shaky
Pain in your lower abdomen and back
Dark, bloody, strange-smelling, or cloudy pee
Intense urge to pee, and when you pee, only a little comes out
Chills or fever – shows that your kidney may have the infection
Pelvic pain in women
Types of UTIs
Infection can occur in different sections of your urinary tract. The different UTIs get their names based on where the bacteria is situated.
Pyelonephritis – affects the kidneys. It can cause nausea, fever, chills, pain in your side and upper back, and vomiting.
Cystitis – affects the bladder. You experience pain when peeing or feeling like you need to empty your bowels a lot, bloody urine, and lower belly pain.
Urethritis – affects the urethra. It can cause a burning sensation when you pee and discharge.
Tests and Diagnosis of UTI
If you experience the above symptoms, go to your doctor. Provide a urine sample, and they will test the presence of UTI-causing bacteria. If you get regular UTIs, your doctor may take a closer look using an MRI scan, ultrasound, or CT scan to determine whether you have a urinary tract problem.
Treatment for UTIs
Most doctors administer antibiotics to treat UTIs. Take your prescription without fail, even when you start feeling better. Drink a lot of water to get rid of the bacteria from your system. You may get medication to help with the pain.
Cranberry juice also prevents and treats UTIs. It contains tannin, which prevents E. coli bacteria from clinging to your bladder walls.
In some cases, when bacteria invade your body cells, they multiply and create a colony that tends to be antibiotic-resistant. The bacteria may move out of the cells and re-attack your urinary tract leading to a series of infections.
Chronic UTI Treatment
If you get infected more than three times a year, your doctor may recommend the following treatment options:
Non-antibiotic prophylaxis treatment
Single-dose of antibiotics after sex
A low dose of antibiotics over a long duration to prevent infection
1 or 2 days antibiotics when symptoms re-appear
Preventing Future Cases of Reinfection
Drink lots of water.
Wipe from the front towards the back after using the toilet
Cleanse your genitals before sex.
After sex, take a pee to flush out bacteria, which may have found their way to your urethra.
Empty your bladder when you pee.
Choose showers over a bath.
Ensure your genital area stays dry by wearing loose-fitting clothes and cotton underwear.
Avoid using scented douches, feminine hygiene sprays, and scented birth products as they increase irritation.
Additionally, Get supplements for UTI and kiss that UTI goodbye. They include:
D-Mannose – prevents bacteria from sticking to the walls of your urinary tract
Ascorbic acid – boosts your immune system
Vitamin D – increases the production of antimicrobial peptide cathelicidin, which assists your body in eliminating the bacteria.
Failing to get UTI treatment may lead to significant complications like permanent kidney damage, recurrent infections in women, sepsis, urethral narrowing in men, and pregnant women delivering premature infants. Therefore, seek treatment and ensure you complete all your medications.