Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)
UTI can infect any fragment of urinary system like kidneys, ureters, bladder and urethra but mostly it encompasses lower urinary tract i.e. bladder and urethra. Bacteria from large intestine especially E.Coli, invades the urethra after escaping from anal region and infecting it. Urinary tract infection (UTI) is more common in women mainly due to unhygienic habits like wiping from back (anal region) towards front or vaginal region. Moreover, the urethra is shorter in females as compared to males which allows quicker access of bacteria. Bacteria in some cases can travel to urinary bladder from urethra and if not treated, affects kidneys as well. Sometimes women may suffer from repeated UTI if they are genetically predisposed or have some structural abnormality. Even after sex, when inappropriate birth control methods are not used and hygiene is not maintained, chances of getting infected with UTI increases.
Who are at higher risk of getting infected with UTI?
Due to a compromised immune system, diabetic women have a higher risk of infection as compared to non-diabetic. Other conditions like pregnancy or any abdominal lesion, using diaphragm birth control, genetic abnormalities in urinary tract, presence of any stone or stricture which obstruct the flow of urine, any urinary procedure, usage of catheter make women prone to urinary tract infection.
Usually UTI is self-diagnosed when one feels burning sensation or pain during urination, There may be an intense urge for urination (urine urgency) with an increase in frequency . The infected urine would be cloudy, dark or even bloody with foul or unusual smell. It will also be accompanied by pain in the central lower abdomen, just above the pubic bone. When UTI infects kidneys symptoms include pain in sides or back that doesn’t mitigate with change in position, fever and chills accompanied with nausea. There are few symptoms of UTI apart from what have been discussed, indicate prostatitis/ prostate infection. Commonly reported are fever, chills, fatigue, difficulty urinating or “dribbling”, pain in pelvis or the area between rectum and scrotum (perineum).
Treatment for UTI
UTI is short lived and is usually resolve within days to week, if appropriately treated with suitable antibiotics by doctor. Urine sample analysis confirms presence of infection. Doctor may prescribe suitable antibiotics and some medication to soothe the pain. A heating pad/ hot fomentation may also be helpful. It is recommended to drink ample quantity of fluids. Though with increased fluid intake, frequency of urination increases but it helps in flushing out bacteria from system. It is recommended to always stay hydrated and urinate often while on antibiotics.
Prevention is always better than Cure:
- Do not hold the urine and empty the bladder as soon as possible or frequently go for urination when feasible
- Drinks lots of water to help flush the bacteria from urinary system
- Wipe or clean from front to backwards
- Choose shower bath
- Change your birth control methods
- Stay away from hygiene sprays or scented douches as these causes local irritation, hence susceptible for infection
- Maintain the hygiene of genital area as far as possible like urinate after sex to wash out any bacteria
- Use cotton underwear to keep the genital area dry while avoiding tight jeans and nylon underwear
- Empty bladder soon after intercourse
- Drinking cranberry juice during UTIs is recommended but there is no concrete evidence to suggest that it eliminates infection or enhances the process of recovery