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Urinary Tract Infection Facts: All You Need to Know

What is a UTI?|Causes and Types|Signs and Symptoms|Prevention and Treatment
Urinary Tract Infection Facts: All You Need to Know

 

What is a UTI?

A lot of people get urinary tract infection (UTI) at some point in their lives. This type of infection can cause serious discomfort and lead to even more serious health problems, if left untreated.

What is a UTI?

Urinary Tract Infection or UTI is any kind of infection that affects any part of the urinary system. That system includes your:

  • Kidneys
  • Ureters
  • Bladder
  • Urethra

Most infections happen in the lower urinary tract, which includes the bladder and the urethra.

Although UTI is relatively common and in most cases is not really serious, there is a great danger if the infection spreads to the upper portion of the urinary system, mainly the kidneys.

Causes and Types

There are several causes of UTI. The urinary system can get infected when bacteria and germs from the outside somehow make their way into the body.

There are several ways that can happen.

Causes

The most common way for the urethra to get infected is when bacteria from the large intestines gets into the lower urinary tract.

Once the urethra is infected it can reach the bladder. If that is not treated immediately, then it can go up the upper urinary tract and infect the kidneys.

That is the main reason why doctors recommend that women should wipe from front to back when they use the bathroom. This can prevent bacteria in the anus from entering the urethra.

Women are more at risk because of their shorter urethras compared to men, meaning bacteria can easily reach the bladder.

Sexual Intercourse

Another common way to get UTI is through sex. Bacteria can enter the vagina and so reach the urinary tract during intercourse.

Genetics

Genes can also play a part in getting UTI. The shape of the urinary tract can be a determining factor.

Diabetes

Also, women with diabetes have a higher risk of developing this infection. That’s because their condition means they have weaker immune systems leaving them more prone to infections.

Types

There are several types of urinary tract infections. These types are based mainly on where they occur:

Cystitis

Cystitis is a condition where the urinary bladder is inflamed and infected. Most of the time, the inflammation is caused by an infection.

Sometimes the infection is not caused by external germs getting inside the bladder. The body has naturally occurring bacteria that can become imbalanced. When that happens it can infect the bladder and cause inflammation.

It’s worth noting that cystitis does not always come from infections. There are certain types of medication that can lead to bladder inflammation.

Pyelonephritis

Pyelonephritis is a kidney infection. Because of the importance of the kidneys in normal body functions, this condition can be very serious and life-threatening.

Normally, the infection starts in the lower part of the urinary tract and it goes up until it reaches the kidneys.

Urethritis

Urethritis is inflammation of the urethra which is commonly caused by an infection. It causes pain while peeing. Affecting both females and males, this condition can happen to anyone at any age.

Signs and Symptoms

These are the common symptoms of UTI:

  1. The most common and telling symptom of UTI is a burning sensation when peeing. The sensation can become quite painful.
  2. The constant sensation that you need to pee, although little urine comes out.
  3. Urine that is dark-colored.
  4. Pee that has a very strong odor.
  5. Fever, which is a sign that the infection has reached the upper section of the urinary tract, including the kidneys. This can be an indication that the infection is getting serious.
  6. Another symptom is the feeling of pressure and sometimes pain on the lower abdomen or maybe even the lower back if the kidneys have been affected.

Prevention and Treatment

urinary tract infection facts

UTI is preventable. Here are some steps that you can take to prevent this condition:

  1. As mentioned before, women should wipe from front to back whenever they use the toilet.
  2. Drink plenty of fluids throughout the day. That will cause you to pee more, which can flush away germs in the urinary tract.
  3. Do not hold your pee because that can increase the chance of infection, especially if there is bacteria in your urine.
  4. Urinate before and after having sex to remove germs that might get into the urethra.
  5. Wash your genitals before and after sex to reduce the chance of infection.
  6. Avoid scented feminine products because they can disrupt the pH level of the vagina.

Treatment

Antibiotics are the most common forms of treatment for UTI. Your doctor will prescribe antibiotics to you if it is determined that you need them.

It is understandable if you are hesitant about taking antibiotics and if you prefer treatments that do not rely on those medications.

Home remedies

Here are some treatments that you can use for UTI to avoid taking antibiotics:

  1. Drink plenty of water to wash away the bacteria causing the infection.
  2. Consume cranberries as fruits or juice. They can help prevent the bacteria that attach to the walls of the urinary tract.
  3. Get more vitamin C to boost your immune system.
  4. Take probiotics which helps in improving your immunity and digestion.

These are just some home remedies you can try for UTI.

Key Takeaways

It might be okay to treat UTI with home remedies when the condition is still mild, but when you feel that it’s not getting any better or if you’re not feeling any improvement, then it would be better to see a doctor.

Remember that the condition can be dangerous, especially once the kidneys are affected.

Learn more about urological health, here.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.


Picture of the author
Written by Den Alibudbud on Jan 18
Medically reviewed by Elfred Landas
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