What is a Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)?
Urinary tract infection (UTI) is an infection in any part of the urinary system caused by microbes such as bacteria, fungi, and rarely by viruses.
It can affect the kidneys, bladder, or urethra, the tube that carries urine from the bladder to the exterior of the body. The more serious infections occur in the kidney.
UTI is one of the most common types of infection that accounts for millions of visits to a doctor every year. Women are more prone to UTI and have a risk of more than 50% developing a urinary tract infection in their lifetime.
UTI’s also affect men, aged people, and children. About 1-2% of children develop urinary tract infections.
Types of Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs):
A urinary tract infection can either affect the urethra and bladder in the lower urinary tract or the ureters and the kidneys in the upper urinary tract.
The lower tract UTIs are more common and the upper tract UTIs are rare but very severe.
Depending upon the location of the infection, the types of UTIs are listed below:
There will be an urge to pee a lot and it may hurt when you pee. One might also experience lower stomach pain and bloody urine.
Pyelonephritis(kidneys): Pyelonephritis can cause nausea, vomiting, fever, shivers, and pain in your upper back or side.
One can feel a burning sensation while urinating and also can find unusual discharges.
Causes of Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs):
Urinary tract infections are mostly caused by bacteria that enter the urethra and bladder leading to infection and inflammation. The duct, the urethra which carries urine from the bladder to the outside of the body is very near to the anus.
A bacteria called E. coli of the large intestine can get out of the anus and travel inside the urethra. E. coli is the major reason for most UTIs. From there it can go up to the bladder and also affect the kidneys, if not treated properly.
This is because why the doctors advise women to wipe from front to back when they go for toilet trips.
The urethras of women are shorter than men, so the bacteria travel easily into the bladder, this makes the female community more vulnerable to UTIs. Sometimes, having sex can also pave way for the bacteria to enter the urinary tract.
Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) like herpes, chlamydia and mycoplasma can also cause urethritis.
Risk Factors of UTIs:
UTI can affect any people despite their sex, and age. However, the following factors can increase the risk of developing UTIs:
- Sexual intercourse
- Having a urinary catheter
- Kidney stones
- Birth control or contraceptive methods
- Weak immune system
- Immobility for a long time probably due to a surgery
- Blocked urine
- Poor personal hygiene
- Use of tampons and spermicides
- Because of the genes
- Multiple sclerosis
- Spinal cord injury
- Hormone changes
Symptoms of Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs):
The most common symptoms of UTI’s are as follows:
- Pain or burning sensation when you urinate
- Strong scented urine and abnormal urine color
- Frequent trips to the toilets even though you pass an only small amount of urine
- Sign of blood in the urine
- Fever and fatigue
- Body ache
- Pelvic pain in women
- Nausea and vomiting
Treatment for UTIs:
No, cranberry juice is not a proven treatment to cure urinary tract infections. Many people promote that the juice can help in treating and preventing UTIs, but the researchers have not yet found the actual proof.
However, adding a glass of unsweetened cranberry juice to your diet won’t hurt you either.
Since UTIs are affected mostly by bacteria, the common treatment suggested by physicians is antibiotics. You should complete the full course of antibiotics, even you feel better after a few days.
If you stop taking medications before the prescribed time, the infection may reappear. Doctors also recommend drinking a lot of fluids and to urinate frequently, as this will help to flush out the bacteria. A heating pad to the back abdomen and pain relievers can be suggested to alleviate the pain.
If the UTIs are left untreated they will spread severely to the upper urinary tract and will pose a life-threatening risk if the infection spread into your blood. A simple examination and proper medications can save you from a lot of problems in the future.
So, if you suspect UTI never hesitate to approach the doctors.
Message from Bliss Naturals:
Proper intimate care like wiping from front to back, avoiding vaginal douching and potentially irritating feminine products, changing your birth control methods, and emptying your bladder right after sex can reduce the risk of urinary tract infections.
The sanitary napkins are often made with plastic which increases the irritation and infection caused by the bacteria. Switch to organic and herbal pads which are harmless and soft to reduce the risk of catching UTIs.