URINARY TRACT INFECTION: All you need to know

An image of a Urinary tract infection

What Is A Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)

A urinary tract infection is the infection of the urinary system. The urinary system includes the uterus, bladder, and urethra. 

UTIs cause more than 8.1 million visits to health care providers each year. About 60% of women and 12% of men will have at least one UTI during their infection.

What Role Does The Urinary Tract Play?

The role of the urinary tract is to make and store urine. One of the body’s liquid waste products. The urinary tract include the following parts. 

1 . Kidneys:

The kidney is a small organ located on the back of your body, just above the hips. 

The kidney filters liquid waste from the blood and remove it from the body in the form of urine. Kidneys balance the levels of many chemicals in the body (sodium, potassium, calcium, phosphorus and others) and keep the blood acidity in check. 

Certain hormones are also made in the kidneys. These hormones help control blood pressure, boost red blood cell production and help make strong bones.

2 . The Bladder:

It is a sac-like container that stores your urine before it leaves your body.

3 . Ureters:

Ureters are thin tubes that carry urine from the kidneys to your bladder.

 4 . Urethra:

The urethras is a tube that connects the bladder to the skin when the bladder has finished storing the urine, the urine is then emptied by urinating through the urethra. 

Symptoms Of A UTI

When you have a UTI, the lining of the bladder and urethra becomes red and irritated (inflammation) , which may end producing some of the following symptoms: 

  • Pain in the side, abdomen or pelvic area
  • Burning or pain when urinating 
  • The need to urinate at night
  • Blood in the urine
  • Foul smelling urine

There are other symptoms that may be associated with a urinary tract infection. Some of them are:

  • Painful sex
  • Increased tiredness or fatigue 
  • Penis pain 
  • Fever 
  • Vomiting
  • Upper back pain- usually on one side or the other .

These infections need to be treated at once because a kidney disease infection can spread into the blood stream and cause a life-threatening health issue.

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Can  I Prevent A Urinary Tract Infection?

You can usually prevent a urinary tract infection (UTI) with certain lifestyle changes. There are some things you can do to reduce your chances of getting a UTI .

1. Drinking Plenty Of Fluids :

Drinking plenty of fluids (approximately 2 L/ day) as a day daily routine can help remove extra bacteria from your urinary tract. 

2 . Never Hold Off Urine:

Don’t put off urinating when you need to and also, don’t rush to finish. Holding in urine and not draining it completely can increase your risk if UTIs.

4 . Cranberry Tablets:

Cranberry tablets may help prevent UTIs . 

5 . Practice good hygiene.

Another way to prevent UTI is to practice good personal hygiene. This is especially important for women, because the Urethra in women is much shorter than that of men. So it makes it easier for E. Coli bacteria to move from the rectum back into the body. 

6 . Front to back wipe movement :

After a bowel movement it’s recommended that you always wipe from front to back to avoid any bacteria from moving into the vagina. 

7 . Changing Birth Control:

Women are at a higher risk of developing a UTI if they use a diaphragm for birth control. It’s always better to talk to your healthcare provider about other options for birth. 

8 . Change Your clothing.

Avoiding tight- fitting clothing can really help you by keeping you dry and preventing bacteria from growing in the urinary tract. Always wear cotton underwear. This will prevent moisture from getting trapped around the urethra.

How Are Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) Treated? 

Antibiotics are always the go to for killing bacteria and fighting infection including UTIs. 

Your healthcare provider will pick a drug that’s best used to treat the bacteria causing your infection. Some commonly used antibiotics are :

  • Doxycycline 
  • Amoxicillin 
  • Nitrofurantoin (another first-choice option for UTIs, but you typically have to take it for a week to be sure you’re all better.
  • Cephalexin (keflex)
  • Coftriaxone (Rocephin)
  • Sulfamethoxazole 

  Advice During Intake Of Drugs

It’s vital that you follow your healthcare provider’s directions for taking the drugs. Don’t stop taking the medicine just because your symptoms go away and you start to feel better. If the infection is is not completely gone it can return.

What Causes A Urinary Tract Infection?

Large numbers of bacteria live in the area around the vagina and rectum and also on your skin. Bacteria may get into the urine from the urethra and travel into the bladder, which ends up causing inflammation and infection. 

More than 90% of bladder infection (cystitis) cases are caused by  E.Coli, a bacteria normally found in the intestines.

The Bottom Line

A UTI can spread throughout your urinary tract and other parts of your body. If symptoms continue after treatment, call your healthcare provider as quick as possible.

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