A urinary tract infection or UTI is a common health problem in women. UTI occurs when bacteria occur in the urinary tract system and then it continues to multiply in the complete urinary track system. While, 70% of UTI is not very serious, yet they do cause discomfort and pain.
Let’s understand how urinary tract infections happen and how to prevent it.
What Causes Urinary Tract Infections?
The most common reason for urinary tract infection is the bacteria from the bowel that is quite close to the skin near the rectum or even in the vagina. These bacteria can spread and enter the urinary tract through the urethra. Once, the bacteria have entered, it starts to travel upward. This causes the infection to spread to the bladder and other parts of the urinary tract.
Another common cause for urinary tract infection is via sexual intercourse. At the time of having sex, the bacteria in the vaginal area can sometimes be massaged into the urethra. Women with more than one sexual partner face this problem more.
The third common cause of urinary tract infection is waiting for a very long time to urinate. Since, the bladder muscles are stretched beyond its capacity to hold the urine, over time it weakens in strength. When the muscles are weakened, it may not empty completely and hold some urine back in the bladder. This increases the risk of urinary tract infections.
Other circumstances that increase the chances of infection for women are UTI in pregnancy, menopause, diabetes etc.
Symptoms of Urinary Tract Infections
There are different symptoms of urinary tract infections in women. One very obvious symptom is the strong urge to urinate that you just cannot hold. This is followed by a sharp pain or burning sensation in the urethra when the urine is released. Sometimes, there is also a tinge of blood when urination happens. Even though you may have emptied your bladder, you may get the urge to urinate again in a short span of time. There is also lower abdomen, back or side pain. This pattern repeats itself throughout the day.
The second stage of the urinary tract infection is when the bacteria enters the ureters and then spreads to the kidneys. Here the symptoms of urinary tract infections include back pain, chills, fever, nausea and even vomiting.
It is very important to consult your gynea and get yourself treated.
Treatment for Urinary Tract Infections
Most UTI can be fixed with antibiotics. However, it is necessary to get the right diagnosis. The urinary tract infection treatment is done once the urine sample detects the problem. The sample shows the number of white blood cells in the urine sample and a culture is done. Sometimes, doctors even do an internal check.
If you get UTI frequently, you can try purchasing an at-home test for UTI. You will get it easily without prescription in any pharmacy. The urinary tract infection home kit will consist of a dipstick that changes color if you have the infection. The kit is more or less similar to the home pregnancy kits. The test is a simple way of detecting nitrite. For best results, try doing this test on first morning urine.
The UTI home kits are 90% reliable, however if you still get a negative and feel there is a problem, don’t push it away. Visit your doctor to rule out any other kind of infection.