A UTI (urinary tract infection) is an infection which can happen in any part of your urinary systems such as kidneys, ureters, urethra and bladder. Most of the infections involve the lower urinary tract which is urethra and the bladder. Women have a greater risk of developing a UTI than in men.
The infection which is caused to your bladder can be painful and also annoying. There are serious consequences if the UTI spreads to your kidneys. The doctor will simply treat the UTI with the help of antibiotics. But you can also take some steps to reduce the chances of getting a urinary tract infection.
Symptoms of Urinary Tract Infection
Urinary tract infections don’t cause the symptoms and signs but when they do it includes:
- Burning sensation while urinating
- Passing small amounts of the urine
- Urine which appears cloudy
- Strong-odour of the urine
- Pelvic pain in women – especially in the center of the pelvis and around the area of the pubic bone
- Strong urge to urinate
- Urine which appears in bright pink, cola colored or red in colour is a sign of the blood in the urine
What is the cause of UTIs in women?
UTIs are the key reason why we are told to wipe from the front to the back in the bathroom. This is because of the urethra- a tube which transports the urine from the bladder to outside of the body is located near to the anus.
The bacteria from the large intestine, like E.coli escape the anus and then invade the urethra. From there they can travel to the bladder and if the infection is not treated on time, then it will continue to infect the kidneys.
Women are prone to the UTIs because they have shorter urethras, which allows the bacteria to quickly access the bladder. Having regular sex can also introduce the bacteria into the urinary tract.
Causes of Urinary Tract Infection
Urinary tract infections occur when the bacteria enter your urinary tract via the urethra and begin to reproduce in the bladder. The urinary system is designed to keep out such microscopic invaders, this can fail at any time. When this happens then the bacteria may grow into an infection in the urinary tract.
The UTIs occur commonly in women and it affects the urethra and the bladder.
● Infection of the bladder: This type of UTI is caused by the E.coli bacteria, this bacteria is often found in the gastrointestinal tract. However, some of the time other bacterias are also responsible. Sexual intercourse can also lead to cystitis, you don’t have to be sexually active to get it. All the women are at risk of cystitis because of their body structure, mainly the short distance from the urethra to the anus and urethral opening to the bladder.
● Infection of the urethra: This UTI can occur when the bacteria spread from anus to the urethra. It happens also because the female urethra is near to the vagina, which increases the chances of sexually transmitted infections like gonorrhea, mycoplasma, herpes.
Types of Urinary Tract Infection
Each type of UTI may result in specific symptoms and signs, depending on which part of the urinary tract is infected.
- Cystitis: It’s the bacterial infection in the bladder which often has moved up from the urethra.
- Urethritis: It’s an infection of the urethra, the hollow tube which drains urine from the bladder to outside of the body.
- Pyelonephritis: The infection of the kidneys which is usually a result of the infection which has spread up the tract or via the obstruction in the urinary tract. The obstruction present in the urinary tract causes the urine to back into the kidneys.
Risk factors for Urinary Tract Infection
Urinary tract infections are common in women and many of the women experience more than one infection during their lifetimes. The risk factors specific to women for the UTIs include:
- Sexual activity: Women who are sexually active tend to have more UTIs than women who are not sexually active. Having a new sexual partner also increases the risk of the UTI.
- Menopause: After the menopause, there is a decline in the circulating estrogen which causes the urinary tract which will make you vulnerable to the infection
- Types of birth control: Women who will use diaphragms for birth control will be at a higher risk of developing UTIs.
- Female anatomy: Women who have a shorter urethra than a man does, which shortens the distance that bacteria must travel to reach the bladder.
Test and treatments for Urinary Tract Infection
If you think you have a urinary tract infection then the best thing is to head to the doctor. The doctor will ask you to give the urine sample, which will be tested for the presence of UTI causing bacteria. Antibiotics to treat the UTIs, drink lots of water which will help to flush out the bacteria from the system. The doctor will also prescribe the medication which will soothe the pain and the heating pad can also be helpful.
Prevention of Urinary Tract Infection
You can take steps to prevent the risk of urinary tract infections:
- Drink cranberry juice: Although there are studies which say that cranberry juice does not prevent urinary tract infections but the juice is certainly not harmful.
- Empty the bladder after the intercourse: Drink lots of water which will help in flushing out the bacteria from the bladder.
- Avoid irritating feminine products: Using deodorant products and other feminine products like powders and douches in the genital area can be the cause to irritate the urethra.
- Wipe from front to back: By doing so after the urination and after the bowel movement which will help to prevent the bacteria in the anal region from spreading to vagina and urethra.
So, these were the symptoms and the causes for urinary tract infections. The patient should consult a doctor as soon as possible. The main thing is that if the patient delays in the treatment then the UTI will develop and cause the problem in future.
The best treatment is by the surgery only. There are other things also such as home remedies but they will take much time for the recovery process. Whereas, with the help of surgery the treatment would be proper and it would be a day-care procedure for the patient.