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Urinary Tract Infection: Everything You Need to Know

Hey ladies! In today’s article, we will discuss the causes, symptoms, and treatment of a highly common and often neglected ailment. This is seen across all demographics and age groups. It’s the dreaded Urinary Tract Infection (UTI). Here we will list out all the relevant information about this infection pertaining to women.

Urinary tract infections are caused by microbes. Microbes are bacteria’s overcoming the body’s defenses in the urinary tract. They can affect the kidneys, bladder, and the tubes that run between them. They are one of the most common types of infections in women. The urinary tract can be divided into the upper urinary tract and the lower urinary tract. The upper urinary tract consists of the kidneys and the ureters, and the lower urinary tract consists of the bladder and the urethra.

Women have a lifetime risk of over 50 percent of developing a urinary tract infection (UTI). Common symptoms include a strong, frequent urge to urinate and a painful and burning sensation when urinating. A UTI is usually diagnosed based on symptoms and testing of a urine sample. The vast majority of urinary tract infections (UTIs) are caused by the bacterium Escherichia coli (E. coli), usually found in the digestive system. UTIs can be cured with 2 to 3 days of treatment. Contrary to popular belief, cranberry extracts do not treat UTIs but may help reduce the risk of recurrent UTI.

Key risk factors

So let’s list out some important factors that increase the likelihood of developing a UTI:

  • Pregnant women are not more likely to develop a UTI than other women. But if one does occur, it is more likely to travel up to the kidneys. This is because hormones changes in the body during pregnancy that affect the urinary tract.
  • As a UTI in pregnancy can prove dangerous for both maternal and infant health, most pregnant women are tested for the presence of bacteria in their urine, even if there are no symptoms, and treated with antibiotics to prevent its spread.
  • Sexual intercourse, especially if more frequent, intense, and with multiple or new partners
  • Diabetes
  • Poor personal hygiene
  • Problems emptying the bladder completely
  • Having a urinary catheter
  • Bowel incontinence
  • Blocked flow of urine
  • Kidney stones
  • Some forms of contraception
  • Pregnancy
  • Menopause
  • Procedures involving the urinary tract
  • Suppressed immune system
  • Immobility for a long period
  • Use of spermicides and tampons
  • Heavy use of antibiotics, which can disrupt the natural flora of the bowel and urinary tract

As seen above, the risk factors are not only varied but also contain points that we frequently get lax about, which leads to recurrent episodes of urinary tract infection. Only by keeping them all in mind can this infection be entirely avoided.

Major Symptoms of UTI:

One of the difficulties in any infection is the process of identifying it correctly. Urinary tract infection is no different as its symptoms may be easily misunderstood and delay its diagnosis. To identify a UTI, keep an eye out for the following symptoms:

  • A burning feeling when you urinate
  • A frequent or intense urge to urinate, even though little comes out when you do
  • Pain or pressure in your back or lower abdomen
  • Cloudy, dark, bloody, or strange-smelling urine
  • Feeling tired or shaky
  • Fever or chills (a sign the infection may have reached your kidneys)

 Prevention of UTI:

Lastly, let’s discuss some of the vital points for the prevention of UTI. After all prevention is better than the cure any day!

  • Drink lots of water and urinate frequently.
  • Avoid fluids such as alcohol and caffeine that can irritate the bladder.
  • One must urinate shortly after sex.
  • Wipe from front to back after urinating and bowel movement.
  • Keep the genital area clean.
  • Showers are preferred to baths and avoid using oils.
  • Sanitary pads or menstrual cups are preferred to tampons.
  • Avoid using a diaphragm or spermicide for birth control.
  • Avoid using any perfumed products in the genital area.
  • Wear cotton underwear and loose-fitting clothing to keep the area around the urethra dry.

So please take care ladies! Do keep in mind all we have discussed in this article about urinary tract infection. Hope you find it useful and it helps you stay infection free! 🙂

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