A urinary tract infection is contracted when the urine becomes contaminated with bacteria which moves up the bladder.
This condition is highly common and people of all ages can develop it.
Causes of UTI
So many bacteria thrive on your skin and in your rectal area. The bacteria that causes the infection penetrates the urethra and contaminates the urine, and move up to your bladder.
Sometimes, bacteria may even move up to the kidneys in which case the infection can be harder to treat and a little more serious.
Regardless of how far they can move up, as long as the urinary tract contains any bacteria, health problems will surely arise from it.
Some individuals are more inclined to develop a UTI the same way some individuals catch colds easier than others. Women are more inclined to develop UTI in comparison to men.
The followings are some risk factors that make the possibility of developing UTI higher:
There are some females whose genetic makeup make them more inclined than others to developing UTIs. In addition, some have anatomies that make it easier for bacteria to adhere to their urinary tracts.
The way a person has sexual intercourse and the frequency of it may also affect one’s susceptibility to developing UTIs.
Women in their late forties and older also have a lower likelihood of developing UTI.
This is because once they have gone through menopause, their vaginas’ linings change and lose estrogen protection.
It has been found that females who use diaphragm birth control are more likely to develop UTIs than those who make use of other contraceptive methods.
In addition, those who use spermicidal foam condoms are known to increase the likelihood of developing UTIs in females.
As mentioned earlier, males are less likely to develop UTIs than females.
This is because women have urethras that are shorter, which means that the distance bacteria needs to travel to reach the bladder is also shorter.
You have a higher risk of developing a UTI if there is an abnormality in your urinary tract, or if you have had a device put in it recently like a catheter for instance.
In addition, if your urinary tract has an anatomic abnormality, you will be more inclined to develop a UTI.
Usually, such anatomical abnormalities are detected early in childhood. However, they may still be found in adulthood.
Another possible risk factor is the presence of a structural abnormality. For example, if your bladder is enlarged, you won’t be able to completely drain all the urine in it.
This can increase your risk of developing UTI. Another example is the presence of diverticula.
These are outpouchings that harbor bacteria in the urethra or bladder.
When your immune system is not functioning very well due to conditions such as diabetes, you become more inclined to developing UTIs because your body is not able to fight off bacteria well.
Signs and symptoms of UTI
The lining of your urethra and bladder become inflamed and red when you have a UTI. This is similar to when your throat’s lining become inflamed when you are suffering from a cold.
The inflammation can cause pelvic and abdominal pains and trigger the sensation of wanting to pee more frequently.
You may even attempt to pee but only manage to expel a couple of drops of urine. You may also feel a burning sensation when you try to urinate.
In some more severe instances, you may even lose bladder control and wet yourself. Your urine may also look cloudy and smell bad, like ammonia.
You may also experience some pain in your back and develop a fever.
A kidney infection must be treated right away because if the infection gets spread through your blood, it can result in a fatal condition.
Prevention of UTI
The following are some of the things you can do to prevent the development of UTIs:
- Always wipe the front and back thoroughly to make sure bacteria from the rectal area won’t get into the urethra or vagina.
- Always relieve yourself immediately whenever you feel the urge to pee. Do not try to hold it in. In addition, do not rush to finish urinating. If you hold in urine or if you do not manage to completely drain your bladder, you become more susceptible to developing UTIs.
- Drink at least eight tall glasses of clean drinking water every day.
- As mentioned earlier, some forms of contraception are known to boost the likelihood of developing UTIs in females. Examples include diaphragms and spermicidal foam condoms. If you are using these, replace them with alternative birth control methods.
- After sexual intercourse, always urinate. This may help decrease the risk of developing UTI by flushing out any bacteria that may have entered the urinary tract during sex.
Treatment of UTI
A urinary tract infection can be classified into two kinds:
The treatment for the UTI would depend on its kind.
Simple UTIs are most common in women, while children and men usually develop complicated UTIs.
A UTI is classified as simple if it happens in a healthy individual whose urinary tract is normal. In most cases, a simple UTI can be treated with a continuous intake of antibiotics for 3-7 days.
The dosage depends on the antibiotic being taken. Some require just one dose per day, while some needs to be taken in up to four separate doses per day.
After just a couple of doses, you will start to feel better and even lose the urge to pee frequently. However, even if this is the case, you still need to complete the full course of the antibiotics.
A UTI will most likely return if it has not been treated completely.
While treating the UTI, you should always keep yourself hydrated by drinking at least eight tall glasses of water per day.
If you are a post-menopausal woman and you have UTI, you may use some topical estrogen products. However, consult a doctor first before doing so.
A UTI is considered complicated is the person’s urinary tract is abnormal or when the infection is caused by bacteria cannot be treated by most antibiotics.
To treat a complicated UTI, you need to take antibiotics for a much longer duration and often, it is given intravenously at a hospital.
After a couple of days of antibiotics being given intravenously, they will be taken orally for up to several weeks. A kidney infected is usually considered and treated as a form of complicated UTI.
If you have UTI, consult a doctor immediately so treatment can be started right away.
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