Signs of Urinary Tract Infection & Treatment
Women are more prone to an urinary tract infection (UTI infection), with some women getting infections for years on end. If you have been repeatedly suffering from a UTI, then read on to know how you can avoid them.
What is an UTI infection?
An UTI infection occurs when there is growth of bacteria anywhere along the urinary tract i.e. in the kidneys, ureters, bladder, or urethra. For diagnostic purposes, the urinary tract is divided into 2 parts- the upper part comprising of kidneys and ureters and the lower part composed of bladder and the urethra.
Urinary tract infections are more common in women and girls than men and boys younger than 50 years. A shorter urethra in women is the cause of increased risk of urinary infections.
What are the causes of urinary tract disease?
Urine is normally sterile. When bacteria get into the urine, infections begin to develop. The bacteria gain entry into the system through the urethra and ascend upwards into the urinary tract.
Urinary tract infection causes:
- The most common cause of UTI infections is due to the bacteria Escherichia coli or E.coli. These bacteria normally reside in the bowels and are found near the anus. They move to the urethral opening due to improper wiping and via sexual intercourse and multiply there to produce symptoms.
- The following factors increase the risk of an UTI infection:
- Conditions that block the urinary tract e.g. kidney stones
- Medical conditions like spinal cord injury which lead to incomplete emptying of bladder
- Post-menopausal women due to decrease in circulating estrogen
- People with suppressed immune systems
- Frequent sexual intercourse
- Enlarged prostate
- Young children having difficulty in wiping themselves
- Hospitalized patients due to catheterization
What are the signs of urine infection?
Urinary tract infection symptoms:
- High fever
- Pain in sides of abdomen, pelvis or only one side at waist level
- Increased frequency of passing urine
- Presence of blood in urine
- Burning pain while passing urine
What is the best UTI infection treatment?
Mostly, urine infection treatment is done by the primary care physician or gynaecologist. If the infection is recurrent, the family physician may refer the patient to a specialist doctor. The treatment for simple and complicated UTI infections is antibiotics. The type of antibiotics and duration of treatment vary from person to person. The physician will provide the best medication suited for every patient. In usual cases, a 3 day antibiotic course is enough where as some cases require a 7 day course of antibiotics. Children may be given a 10 day course of antibiotics.
How to maintain urinary tract health?
It is possible to prevent a urinary tract infection.
- Women, especially young girls should wipe their vaginal area from front to back after bowel movements, or after passing urine. This prevents the bacteria from the anus to enter into the urethra.
- The bladder must be emptied after every sexual act.
- Drinking plenty of fluids should be made a habit.
- Wearing loose cotton underwear is important to prevent growth of fungal infection due to moistness.
Also Read: Is It Safe To Have Sex With Utis?
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