Contributed by- Dr. Pooja Chaudhary
A urinary tract infection is an infection which affects the kidneys, ureters, bladder, or urethra and is caused by microbes such as bacteria that overcomes the body’s defences in the urinary tract.
It has been noted that women are at a very high risk of getting UTI. About 40% of women and 12% of men have a urinary tract infection at some time in their life!
The reason behind this is that females have a shorter urethra, which makes it easy for the UTI causing bacteria to easily pass through it and invade the bladder. So, ladies should pay more attention to the symptoms of UTI.
Symptoms Of UTI In Women
UTI symptoms in women will depend on their age, the presence of catheter and what part of urinary tract has been infected. The most common symptoms of bladder infection experienced are:
- A strong and frequent urge to urinate
- Pain or burning sensation while urinating
- Cloudy, bloody, or strong smelling urine
- Pain or pressure in the back or lower abdomen
- Fever and chills
- Feeling tired
- Nausea and vomiting
- Muscle aches and abdominal pains
Keep a check on these symptoms, contact a doctor and get tested if you experience them!
Causes Of UTI
Urinary infection is caused by a type of bacteria called as Escherichia coli or E. coli. This bacteria usually lives in the bowel (colon) and around the anus. They can move from the area around the anus to the opening of the urethra. The common cause for their spread are:
- Holding urine: Holding urine for 6 hours or more may make infections more common, as bacteria that do get into the bladder has lots of time to grow.
- Birth control pills
- Feminine products
- Uncontrolled sugar
- Kidney stones
Test And Diagnosis Of UTI
For diagnosis the following steps are carried on:
- Doctor will ask you about the symptoms
- A urine sample is tested: To check for the presence of white blood cells, red blood cells, and bacteria.
Note: Urine is collected via the clean-catch method. In this person washes their genital area before collecting a urine sample in mid-flow. This helps in preventing bacteria from around the genital area to be caught in the sample.
- In case of recurrent UTI’s: If a person is suffering from recurrent UTI then the following test are advised
- A diagnostic imaging test, these include ultrasound, CT, MRI scanning
Treatment Of UTI
UTI is mostly treated with antibiotics or antimicrobials. The type of medication and length of the treatment will depend on the patient’s symptoms and history.
NOTE: It is important to complete the full course of treatment, so that that the infection is fully clear, and also to reduce the risk of antibiotic resistance.
Prevention Of UTI
The common question which is in our mind is how to get rid of UTI or how to prevent UTI.
Following are few things which we must keep in our mind to prevent suffering from UTI:
- Drink lots of water and frequent urination: This will help in flushing out the bacteria.
- Avoiding fluids like alcohol and caffeine: These fluids can irritate the bladder.
- Keep the genital area clean
- Wipe from front to back after urinating and bowel movement: This will prevent the spread of bacteria.
- Urinate shortly after sex: This will help in flushing out the bacteria if present.
- Avoid using any perfumed products in the genitals: This can irritate the genital area and causes the bacteria spread.
- Showers are preferred to baths and avoid using oils.
It is very important to properly treat urinary tract infection because if left untreated, it can lead to serious health consequences!
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