A Brief Intro To Utis
A UTI is an infection in the bladder or other areas of the urinary tract, like the urethra or kidneys, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. The infection is caused by bacteria.
Bacteria can enter the body, but the body usually has its own natural prevention. Urine flows through and flushes out bacteria, but sometimes the bacteria hasnt been fully flushed.
While UTIs can be uncomfortable and painful, they are easily treated with antibiotics. It is important to see your doctor if you have any of the following UTI symptoms.
- Pain or discomfort during urination
- A persistent need to urinate after having just gone
If you experience any of these symptoms, contact a specialist immediately.
What Causes A Uti
A UTI occurs when bacteria infect the urinary tract, causing irritation and inflammation. Most UTIs are caused by E. coli, a bacterium that normally resides in the gut but can get displaced from the rectum to the urethra after a bowel movement.
And after an infection takes hold in the urinary tract, it can then progress to the bladder and even the kidneys.
UTIs are more common in women than in men because a woman’s urethra is much shorter making it easier for bacteria to not only become relocated there but to move through and into the bladder as well.
To help prevent a UTI, always be sure to wipe from front to back never the other way around while using the restroom.
How Are Utis Treated And Prevented
A UTI is often a once-off illness that resolves quickly and responds to treatment with antibiotics if needed. However, for some people, UTIs are a recurring problem.
If you have repeated UTIs there are some self-help measures that may help prevent further infections:
- drink more fluids to help flush out bacteria
- urinate immediately after intercourse
- gently wipe from front to back after urinating
- wear cotton underwear and loose-fitting pants
- eat natural yoghurt to restore normal vaginal environment
- find an alternative method of birth control if you use spermicides
There is conflicting evidence for drinking cranberry juice to prevent UTIs. If you want to try cranberry products, ask your doctor for advice.
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Home Remedies For Uti
A quick internet search yields plenty of articles swearing that certain home remedies like cranberry juice cure a UTI. Most of these treatments are safe to try in moderation, but they shouldnt take the place of seeking a trained professionals advice.
For example, some scientific evidence suggests that an active ingredient in cranberries called proanthocyanidins may stop bacteria like E. coli from adhering to the urinary tract, making it less likely that the bacteria will stick around and cause an infection. Certain probiotics and vitamin C supplements may also help prevent UTIs, and probiotics have the added benefit of reducing diarrhea caused by being on antibiotics. However, more research is necessary to prove these alternative treatments are effective.
If you choose to try any home remedy, remember that untreated UTIs can worsen over time and turn into kidney infection, which can lead to emergency hospitalization in serious cases. A UTI isnt something you want to put off or avoid talking to your doctor about. Call them at the first sign of symptoms.
Check If It’s A Urinary Tract Infection
Symptoms of a urinary tract infection may include:
- pain or a burning sensation when peeing
- needing to pee more often than usual during the night
- pee that looks cloudy, dark or has a strong smell
- needing to pee suddenly or more urgently than usual
- needing to pee more often than usual
- lower tummy pain or pain in your back, just under the ribs
- a high temperature, or feeling hot and shivery
- a very low temperature below 36C
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Benefits Of Antibiotics For Utis
Antibiotics are the standard treatment for UTIs because they kill the bacteria responsible for the infections. Most UTIs develop when bacteria enter the urinary tract from outside the body. The species most likely to cause UTIs include:
- E. coli, which cause of up to
- abnormal liver function, as indicated with testing
More severe risks of using antibiotics include:
Practice Healthy Hygiene Habits
Preventing UTIs starts with practicing a few good bathroom and hygiene habits.
First, its important not to hold your urine for too long. This can lead to a buildup of bacteria, resulting in infection.
Peeing after sexual intercourse can also of UTIs by preventing the spread of bacteria.
Additionally, those who are prone to UTIs should avoid using spermicide, as it has been linked to an increase in UTIs.
Finally, when using the toilet especially if you have a female urethra make sure you wipe front to back. Wiping from back to front can to the urinary tract and is associated with an increased risk of UTIs.
Benefits of healthy hygiene for UTI
Urinating frequently and after sexual intercourse can reduce the risk of UTI. Careful wiping when you use the toilet may also help decrease the risk of UTI.
Several natural supplements may decrease the risk of developing a UTI.
Here are a few supplements that have been studied and are all available in capsule form:
- D-Mannose.D-Mannose is a type of sugar that is found in cranberries. Research suggests its effective in treating UTIs and preventing recurrence.
- Cranberry extract. Like cranberry juice, cranberry extract works by preventing bacteria from adhering to the urinary tract.
- Garlic extract. shows garlic and garlic extract to have antimicrobial properties, so they it may be able to block the growth of bacteria to prevent UTIs.
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Wipe From Front To Back
According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases , UTIs can develop when bacteria from the rectum or feces gain access to the urethra. This small channel allows urine to flow out of the body.
Once bacteria are in the urethra, they can travel up into other urinary tract organs, where they can lead to infections.
Causes Of A Bladder Infection
Bladder infections are not contagious. You cant get one from someone else, from a toilet seat, or from sharing a bath.
The most common cause of bladder infections is bacteria from the bowels. The bacteria get onto the skin around the opening of the urethra. From there they can get into the urine and travel up to the bladder. This causes inflammation and an infection. This often happens because of:
An enlarged prostate
Poor cleaning of the genitals
Procedures that put a tube in your bladder, such as a Foley catheter
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What To Do If You Keep Getting Utis
“It’s also important to consult your doctor if you’re getting UTIs frequently which is about three or more times per year,” Dr. Kannady recommends.
Recurrent UTIs are fairly common, and they’re also often effectively controlled via lifestyle changes. In some cases, though, your doctor may recommend that you see a urologist for further evaluation.
“Frequent UTIs are sometimes the result of an underlying health issue, such as kidney stones or abnormalities in your kidneys, bladder, or urethra,” Dr. Kannady adds. “A urologist can rule out or diagnose and treat issues such as these, as well as provide further guidance on how to prevent UTI reoccurrence.”
Preventing Future Urinary Tract Infections
BATHING AND HYGIENE
To prevent future urinary tract infections, you should:
- Choose sanitary pads instead of tampons, which some doctors believe make infections more likely. Change your pad each time you use the bathroom.
- Take showers instead of baths. Avoid bath oils.
- Urinate before and after sexual activity. Drinking 2 glasses of water after sexual activity may help promote urination.
- Wipe from front to back after using the bathroom.
- Avoid tight-fitting pants. Wear cotton-cloth underwear and pantyhose, and change both at least once a day.
The following improvements to your diet may prevent future urinary tract infections:
- Drink plenty of fluids, 2 to 4 quarts each day.
- Do not drink fluids that irritate the bladder, such as alcohol and caffeine.
Some women have repeated bladder infections. Your provider may suggest that you:
- Use vaginal estrogen cream if you have dryness caused by menopause.
- Take a single dose of an antibiotic after sexual contact.
- Take a cranberry supplement pill after sexual contact.
- Have a 3-day course of antibiotics at home to use if you develop an infection.
- Take a single, daily dose of an antibiotic to prevent infections.
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How You Can Treat Cystitis Yourself
If you have been having mild symptoms for less than 3 days or you have had cystitis before and do not feel you need to see a GP, you may want to treat your symptoms at home or ask a pharmacist for advice.
Until youre feeling better, it may help to:
- wipe from front to back when you go to the toilet
- gently wash around your genitals with a skin-sensitive soap
Some people believe that cranberry drinks and products that reduce the acidity of their urine will help.
But theres a lack of evidence to suggest theyre effective.
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A Uti Or Something Else
There can be considerable overlap between the symptoms for UTI and sexually transmitted infections such as chlamydia and gonorrhoea. Bacterial vaginosis, vaginal thrush, vulvodynia, lichen sclerosus, endometriosis, bladder cancer and overactive bladder may also cause similar symptoms. Antibiotic use may also trigger vaginal thrush in some women and require additional treatment.
Recent unprotected sexual intercourse, discharge from the urethra and pain within the pelvic area or sexual organs would increase the likelihood of an STI, says Ali. Again, an assessment by an appropriate healthcare professional would be advised and various swabs or urine tests may be required.
Interstitial cystitis , also known as painful bladder syndrome, may also be a cause of recurrent bladder symptoms. IC is a chronic, non-infectious condition of the urinary bladder that causes frequency and urgency of urination and significant pelvic pain that worsens as the bladder fills up. IC is a difficult diagnosis to make and requires tests and input from a urologist. If you think you may have IC, visit your GP, and contact the Interstitial Cystitis Association and Bladder Health UK for advice and support.
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When To Get Medical Advice
It’s a good idea to see your GP if you think you might have a UTI, particularly if:
- you have symptoms of an upper UTI
- the symptoms are severe or getting worse
- the symptoms haven’t started to improve after a few days
- you get UTIs frequently
Your GP can rule out other possible causes of your symptoms by testing a sample of your urine and can prescribe antibiotics if you do have an infection.
Antibiotics are usually recommended because untreated UTIs can potentially cause serious problems if they’re allowed to spread.
What Does A Uti Feel Like
If you have a UTI, you almost always feel it.
The most common UTI symptoms include:
- Frequent and strong urge to urinate
- Burning sensation, or even pain, while urinating
- Feeling as if you are unable to empty completely while urinating
- Having urine that is strong-smelled, cloudy or discolored
- Pelvic pain, in some cases
“Some of these symptoms, such as a burning sensation during urination, can overlap with the symptoms of other vaginal infections, such as yeast infections which are treated very differently from UTIs,” says Dr. Kannady.
This is one reason why it’s so important to consult your doctor about UTI symptoms. He or she can determine if your symptoms are truly indicative of a UTI and run the tests needed to appropriately diagnose and treat your infection.
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When To See A Doctor About A Uti
As mentioned, antibiotics are typically needed to treat a UTI, so it’s important to seek prompt care if you notice the signs of one.
- Your symptoms are severe or getting worse
- Your symptoms don’t improve after a few days
- You’re getting recurrent UTIs
“Early and effective UTI treatment helps ensure that the infection is dealt with while it’s easiest to treat and before it progresses to the kidneys,” says Dr. Kannady. “Even a mild kidney infection can come with fairly debilitating symptoms, including fever, vomiting and intense pain. These infections also require a longer course of antibiotics.”
And the more serious the kidney infection, the greater the risk of complications. They can range from hospitalization to even permanent kidney damage or a life-threatening bloodstream infection in some cases.
In men, UTIs also can spread to the prostate and cause prostatitis which also often requires a longer course of antibiotics to treat.
“By initiating antibiotics as soon as a UTI is identified, we can greatly reduce the risk of these more complex and serious outcomes,” says Dr. Kannady.
Lastly, if your UTI symptoms don’t improve after taking antibiotics for a few days, be sure to follow up with your doctor.
Are Bananas Good For Utis
The American Urological Association calls bananas a bladder-friendly food. Thats because bananas arent likely to irritate the bladder in most people. Other bladder-friendly fruits and veggies include: pears, green beans, winter squash, and potatoes. While eating bananas may help to lessen bladder irritation, eating bananas alone wont make a UTI go away.
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Sex May Cause Utis But Its Not The Only Culprit
But there are other pre-existing conditions, activities, and products that can lead to a UTI. Some of the most common causes include:
- â Drinking enough water, especially during hot summer months, can make the difference between flushing out the bacteria that can cause a UTI or not.
- â If you hold your urine for 6 hours or more, you could be putting yourself at greater risk for bacteria overgrowing in the bladder.
- Constipation or Diarrhea â Itâs often difficult to empty your bladder completely when youâre constipated, which means bacteria have time to grow and cause an infection. Conversely, bacteria from loose stool thatâs excreted can also easily make its way into your urethra.
- â Because they can block your urinary tract and hold urine in, kidney stones give bacteria time to grow and can lead to a UTI.
- â For some people with uncontrolled diabetes, the bladder doesnât empty as well as it should and can become a breeding ground for bacteria. In addition, high blood glucose levels can increase the odds of a UTI.
- â Since bacteria are more prone to grow in moist environments, itâs important to make sure you change your pad or tampon frequently when you have your period.
The Best Course Of Action For Managing A Uti
For most UTI sufferers, Ali advises the best course of action is to increase fluid intake, take appropriate pain relief and speak with a healthcare professional for further assessment of UTI symptoms.
If UTI symptoms persist for more than two days – or include a fever, loin pain and/or nausea and vomiting – it is important to see your GP for advice on whether antibiotics are required. It’s also important to go back if you’ve been started on antibiotics and symptoms do not improve within 48 hours.
“While some of the over-the-counter treatments may provide symptomatic relief, the 2018 NICE UTI guidelines state that there is no evidence found for cranberry products or urine alkalinising agents to treat UTI,” he adds. “However, there’s a clinical trial showing the effectiveness of D-mannose. And grapefruit seed extract and oil of oregano have also been found to be beneficial.”
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When Should You Seek Medical Help
Urinary tract infection is more like a wait and watch disease. You only need medical help when a UTI doesnt go away on its own. If things get out of hands, consult a doctor. Given below are the common symptoms experienced when having a urinary tract infection:
- A persistent, intense urge to pass the urine
- A burning sensation while passing the urine
- Urinating small, frequent amounts of urine
- Passing cloudy urine
- Passing urine thats cola-colored, pink or red, indicating the presence of blood in urine.
- Passing urine that has a strong smell
- Pelvic pain, particularly in women
- Rectal pain, particularly in men
If you have one of the following conditions, see a doctor for UTIs immediately.
- If you experience pain when passing the urine or other associated symptoms of UTI along with nausea, chills, fever, vomiting or a pain in the flank which is felt right below the ribcage and just above the waist on either or both sides of the lower belly or back.
- If you had a history of experiencing UTI symptoms and have them all over again.
- If the symptoms of UTI dont go away within 1-2 days.
- If theres presence of blood in the urine.
- If you are diabetic and you are experiencing symptoms of UTI.
- If your symptoms dont alleviate with the use of prescribed antibiotics or if they recur after temporary improvement.
How To Prevent Urinary Tract Infections
UTIs are unpleasant enough that most women will try anything to avoid getting one. Mann discusses some simple lifestyle changes that might help you prevent UTIs. These steps help reduce the chance of bacteria entering the urinary tract, which is the main cause of UTIs. Make sure to:
- Empty your bladder more often: Dont hold it when you feel the urge to go. Mann says that you should empty your bladder at least every four hours during the day. And urinating immediately after intercourse can help wash bacteria away from the urethral opening.
- Drink more water: Studies have shown people who drink more water are less likely to have recurrent urinary tract infections. Mann suggests that you drink at least 2 liters of water daily.
- Try a different birth control: If you have repeated urinary tract infections, you may want to avoid using a diaphragm and spermicide, including spermicidal condoms. Talk to your doctor or clinician about other birth control options that can lower your risk for UTIs.
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