Urinary Tract Infection- Causes, Symptoms, Prevention
As women, we have to cope with a lot of issues. Our monthly periods, and the hassles that accompany it, the pressure of childbirth, uncomfortable bras, and what not. We also have to deal with Urinary Tract Infections, more commonly known as UTIs. Your chances of being infected are statistically pretty high. Studies say that every second woman may get infected, and repeat infections are pretty common too. Let us know about urinary tract infection- Causes, Symptoms, Prevention.
What exactly is UTI?
Since our urine passes through the urinary tract ( which consists of the kidneys, bladder, and ureters, and urethra.) any infection that causes some kind of damage or dis-balance in your kidneys, bladder, and ureters and urethra is called an Urinary Tract Infection. Any of these three important organs can get infected, and the infection can range from mild to severe depending on the part of the tract that is infected.
Our Urinary tract can be divided into two sections. The upper tract is made up of the kidneys and ureters; while the lower one consists of the urethra and the bladder. As a general rule of thumb, severe infections are mostly located in the upper urinary tract.
What causes UTI?
Our urine is pretty sterile, in its natural form. But when bacteria enters it, it becomes infected. Most of the time, the infection starts in the urethra then moves on to the other parts of the urinary tract. The bacteria are called Escherichia coli, and usually lives in the bowel. The bacteria turn into an infection only when poor hygiene is maintained or by sexual intercourse. Sometimes, using unhygienic public washrooms can cause the infection. But that does not mean that you’re at risk of an infection every time you use a public washroom.
Who are at risk?
People who have problems with fully emptying their bladder ( spinal cord injuries and menopause can cause this problem.)
People who have kidney stones may also develop the infection; often more than once.
People who have a weak immune system
Men who have enlarged prostates
Symptoms of infection in the Upper Tract
Woman who have an infection in the upper urinary tract experience symptoms like chills, fever, nausea, and vomiting along with the other symptoms.
Symptoms of lower urinary tract infection
Woman who have an infected lower urinary tract may also have cysts in the urethra. They may also experience inflammation in the lining of the urethra, pain or a burning sensation when they pass urine, frequent need for urination, a bloody urine, or a really foul smelling one, pain in the lower abdomen, and mild fever.
Not all symptoms of the infection will be present, and they often resemble symptoms of sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
To prevent infection, you must take care of a few things.
- Avoid public washrooms.
- Make sure your anus and urethra are clean.
- Another way is to always empty the bladder fully, and regularly. Urinating when your body needs is important.
- You can also reduce the chances of getting infecting by urinating after sex.
- Eating certain foods like cranberries also helps reduce the risk.
- Doctors also advise drinking lots of fluids.
Doctors will usually prescribe antibiotics, after checking urine samples. If there is pain some painkillers may also be prescribed. The dosage and type of antibiotics depend on the condition of the infection.
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