According to the National Institutes of Health, UTI affects 150 million patients every year in the world. Back in 2011, in the US, 400,000 patients were hospitalized with UTI costing a total of almost $3 billion.
Urinary tract infection is a painful condition affecting men and women of all ages. However, the occurrence of UTI in women is seen more than in men.
Here’s a comprehensive guide on UTI, detailing its causes, symptoms and preventative measures.
What Is UTI?
The urinary system consists of the kidneys, bladder, urethra, and ureters. UTI or Urinary Tract Infection occurs when any of these parts become infected. However, most of the infections occur in the urethra and bladder—lower urinary tract.
Infection in the bladder is quite painful and irritating. However, when the infection spreads to the kidneys, grave consequences can occur if not treated immediately.
Your doctor will typically prescribe antibiotics for its treatment. However, by taking preventative measures, you can prevent UTI effectively.
Symptoms Of UTI
Some symptoms of UTIs are:
- Frequent impulse to urinate
- Burning feeling while urinating
- Frequent urination in small amounts
- Cloudy urine
- Passing bright pink or red urine
- Women can experience excruciating pelvic pain
Causes of UTIs
UTI occurs when bacteria enters any part of the urinary system via the urethra. While the urinary tract is equipped with its own mechanisms to fight such invasions, these mechanisms can sometimes get weak. When these defense mechanisms fail, bacteria proliferate rapidly in the urinary system and cause infection.
UTIs typically affect the urethra and bladder, occurring mostly in women because of their anatomy. These are:
Cystitis Or Bladder Infection
Escherichia coli or E.coli is the bacterium responsible for this type of UTI. This bacterium is usually present in the GI (Gastrointestinal) tract.
Women have higher chances of developing cystitis due to their anatomy—the relatively short distance between their anus and urethra and their bladder and urethral opening.
Urethritis Or Urethra Infection
Urethritis occurs when the urethra gets infected with GI bacteria through the anus.
In women, the urethra is also close to the vagina which poses a greater risk of urethritis through other infections that are sexually transmitted such as Chlamydia, herpes, mycoplasma and gonorrhea.
Complications Associated With UTIs
When UTIs are left untreated, they can cause serious consequences. The complications associated include:
- Irreversible kidney damage
- Recurring infections
- Pregnant women may give birth prematurely
- Narrowing of the urethra in men
- Sepsis—a fatal complication of UTI
UTIs can be prevented effectively with these measures:
- Drink ample amounts of fluids. This will ensure that bacteria get flushed out of your system with frequent urination.
- Wipe well after bowel movement or urination.
- It’s recommended to drink plenty of water after sexual intercourse to flush bacteria out.
- Avoid using sprays or powders in your genital area.
To prevent life-threatening complications, it’s recommended that you visit your healthcare provider on the onslaught of UTI symptoms.
Stripes Urgent Care provides urgent care services in Gold Canyon, AZ. Get in touch with them today for further information on their services and to schedule an appointment.