UTI – Symptoms, treatment, causes and prevention

UTI is an infection that affects parts of the urinary system such as kidney, bladder, urethra, and ureter. The rate of infection in women is very high than in men.

UTI - symptoms and treatment

There are several types of UTI;

  • Cystitis – This is a bladder infection and its symptoms are lower abdominal pain, blood in urine, painful urination and frequent urination.
  • Urethritis – This is a urethra infection and it can show symptoms like burning urination
  • Pyelonephritis – Kidney infection and it can show signs like fever, nausea, vomiting, upper back pain, and chills

CAUSES

Women are highly vulnerable to this disease due to the nature of their urinary system and general body anatomy. UTI is the basic reason why women are usually advised to wipe from front to back after peeing to avoid bacterial infection. Hygiene of the female reproductive organ should be put as a first priority by every female individual to reduce the prevalence of this infection.

Possible causes of UTI are;

  • Menopause – Women who have reached the age of menopause can easily contract this disease due to the changes in hormone estrogen and this can easily cause vaginal bacteria to change and thus increase chances of UTI
  • Sexual activity  – Engaging in vigorous sexual intercourse frequently and having multiple partners can increase the chances of contracting this disease. Women who are sexually active contract UTI at a higher rate than women who are less active in sex.
  • Suppressed immune system – People suffering from diabetes can have weaker immune systems and this can increase their chances of getting this disease.
  • Poor hygiene – This is especially in women. Some women who have not been made aware of how to keep themselves clean tend to make mistakes by wiping themselves from back to front. This will cause the bacteria to easily enter the urethra and go straight to the kidney and it causes UTI. There’s a greater need for women to be made aware of the risk this simple mistake can expose them to.
  • Using some forms of contraceptives – Medics has established that, women who use diaphragms for birth control and spermicidal drugs are at a very high risk of getting UTI. Mostly when you go for these birth control procedures some medics can decide not to prescribe to you the best method that cannot cause greater side effects to you. Doctors need to always study their patients first before administering these birth control procedures.
  • Kidney stones – Kidney stones block the urinary tract and if this goes on for a long time, urine piles up in the tubes, thus causing excessive pressure which later on can cause the kidney to swell, a condition called hydronephrosis. The piling of the urine breeds bacteria which leads to UTI infection
  • Pregnancy – UTI is very common in pregnancy because the fetus can exert pressure on the bladder and urinary tract due to its growth. This traps bacteria and can also cause urine leakage.
  • Sex – UTI is very prevalent in women due to the shorter urethra which shortens the distance the bacteria travels to reach the bladder.
  • Immobility – Being immobile for long can increase the prevalence of UTI. This is because immobility reduces the rate at which the urinary tract is emptied thus urine stays some time in the bladder for long in smaller quantities. This breeds bacteria which causes UTI.
  • Urinary catheter – use of other means for urinating such as tubes has also been argued to be one of the causes of UTI. This is very common for people who are hospitalized or paralyzed.

SYMPTOMS OF UTI

The most common symptoms of UTI that we have witnessed in many patients include;

  • Vaginal cramping/Irritation – UTI can cause irritation in the vagina. This can cause discomfort and itching
  • Frequent urination- Most people who have UTIs have a feeling of frequent urination. They feel to urinate but when they urinate the urine is just in small quantities.
  • Burning urination – Burning is very common in the symptoms of UTI. This disorder can make you have a burning feeling when you pee. Some people can mistake this for gonorrhea due to the discomfort it causes.
  • Bloody,strange-smelling urine – If a person has UTI, the color of their urine can change from normal and can either be cloudy, dark or bloody and it will have a strange smell.
  • Tiredness/feeling shaky – This is very common in most women. This happens because the bacteria harbored in the bladder creates a state of inflammation.
  • Pain in the lower abdomen and back – UTI is another very common cause of abdominal pain.
  • Bladder spasm – This is a sudden, involuntary squeezing of the bladder muscles causing the person to have a sudden urge to pass urine. UTI can also be the cause of this.
  • Fatigue
  • Sense of incomplete bladder emptying
  • Fever/Chills

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PREVENTION OF UTI

The methods that can be used in the prevention of UTI are;

  • Always drink plenty of fluids – water is the first best fluid for all humans
  • Using the right birth control and avoid using spermicides
  • Healthy hygiene by always wiping from front to back after visiting the washroom
  • Always urinate immediately when you have the urge
  • Use of synthetic estrogen if you have already reached menopause
  • Prefer taking showers and not the normal baths
  • Take unsweetened cranberry juice can also help in the prevention of UTI
  • Some medics also recommend you reduce drinking of caffeine and soft drinks
  • Avoid tight-fitting pants
  • Wear cotton underwears

TREATMENT OF UTI

The most effective and recommended method for treatment of UTI is antibiotics.

The following are all the methods that can be used in the treatment of UTI infection;

  • Use of antibiotics – This is the most common method of treating UTI. For simple UTIs antibiotics like trimethoprim, ceftriaxone, cephalexin, Fosfomycin, and nitrofurantoin. If the disease is very frequent your doctor might recommend low dose antibiotics, self-diagnosis, and treatment, a single dose of antibiotics after sexual intercourse and vaginal estrogen. Severe infection can be treated by intravenous antibiotics in the hospital.
  • Drinking plenty of water
  • Avoid alcohol, coffee and soft drinks containing citric acid.
  • Apply a warm heating pad to your abdomen.
  • Taking cranberry juice has also been found to be a possible treatment of UTI

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