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What are Urinary tract infections?

What are Urinary tract infections?

A urinary tract infection (UTI) affects any part of the urinary system, including the kidneys, ureters, bladder, and urethra. The most commonly affected sections of the urinary tract are the bladder and urethra. Although upper tract UTIs are less common than lower tract UTIs, they are often more serious.

Who gets UTIs?

Urinary tract infections are quite prevalent, affecting one out of every five women at some point in their lives. UTIs are more common in women, although they can also afflict men, the elderly, and children. Urinary tract infections affect 1 to 2 % of younger population.

UTIs can affect anyone, but they are more frequent in women, because females’ urethras are shorter and closer to the anus, which is where E. coli bacteria thrive. Women are 30 times more likely than men to develop UTIs. In addition, up to four out of 10 women who suffer from a UTI will develop another infection within six months.

Are some women more at risk for UTIs?

UTI risk factors that are particular to women include:

Anatomy of a woman : A woman’s urethra is shorter than a man’s, reducing the distance bacteria must travel to reach the bladder.

Sexual activity : Sexually active women are more likely than non-sexually active women to have UTIs. Having a new sexual partner raises the risk as well/

Certain types of birth contr ol: Women who use diaphragms for birth control, as well as those who use spermicidal drugs, may be at a higher risk.

Menopause : A decrease in circulating estrogen after menopause causes abnormalities in the urinary tract, making one more susceptible to infection.

Pregnancy : Pregnancy hormones can alter the microorganisms in the urinary tract, increasing the risk of urinary tract infections. Because the uterus containing the developing baby rests on top of the bladder during pregnancy, many pregnant women have problems emptying it completely. A UTI can be caused by bacteria in leftover urine.

Diabetes : It can weaken the immune system and cause nerve damage, making it difficult to empty the bladder completely.

Other disorders : Any disease that could cause a blockage in the passage of urine between the kidneys and bladder, such as a kidney stone.

Using a cathete r: A catheter is a small tube that is inserted into the bladder through the urethra. When one is unable to pass urine on their own, such as after surgery, catheters are used to drain urine.

What are the symptoms of a UTI?

Signs and symptoms of urinary tract infections are not always present, but when they are, they may include:

Urge to urinate that is strong and persistent. Urinating with a burning sensation. Urine is passed is small amounts frequently. Urine that has a hazy appearance. Urine that is scarlet, bright pink, or cola-coloured indicates that there is blood in it. Urine with a strong odour. Pelvic discomfort, especially in the middle of the pelvis and around the pubic bone. Pressure in the lower pelvis. Urinating in the middle of the night is a common occurrence. Other signs and symptoms that could indicate a urinary tract infection include: Pain during intercourse. Lower back ache or flank (side of the body) pain. Fatigue. Fever and chills (temperatures above 100 degrees Fahrenehit). Vomiting. Mental changes or confusion.

What causes UTIs?

Bacteria from faeces entering the urinary tract is the most common cause of UTIs. The bacteria enter the body through the tube that drains pee (urethra). Women’s urethras are shorter than men’s. Bacteria are more likely to reach the bladder or kidneys and cause diseases as a result of this.

The bladder and urethra are the most prevalent areas for UTIs in women.

Infection of the bladder: Escherichia coli (E. coli), a kind of bacteria typically found in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, is the most prevalent cause of this type of UTI. Other bacteria, on the other, are sometimes responsible.

Infection of the urethra: When GI bacteria travel from the anus to the urethra, this type of UTI develops.

Because of their genes, some women are more prone to UTIs. Others are more likely to become affected because of the shape of their urinary tracts. Hormone changes, multiple sclerosis, and anything that impairs urine flow, such as kidney stones, a stroke, or a spinal cord injury, can increase the risks.

How is UTI diagnosed?

A urine sample can be used to detect UTIs. Under a microscope, the urine is inspected for bacteria or white blood cells, both of which are indicators of infection. A urine culture may also be taken by a doctor. This is a test that looks for bacteria and yeast in the urine that could be causing a UTI.

How is UTI treated?

When it comes to urinary tract infections, antibiotics are usually the first line of treatment. The health condition and the type of bacteria discovered in urine will determine which drugs are administered and for how long.

What can happen if a UTI is not treated?

Untreated UTIs provide the greatest risk of spreading the infection from the bladder to one or both kidneys. When bacteria attack the kidneys, they can cause damage that leads to kidney function to be permanently impaired. This can increase the chance of kidney failure in patients who already have kidney problems.

How do UTIs affect pregnancy?

UTIs are the most common disease among pregnant women. Asymptomatic infections can develop in some persons and spread throughout the body without causing any usual symptoms. These asymptomatic UTIs can have a significant impact on the foetus’s health. It has the potential to harm both the health of the mother as well as of the baby’s. Bacteria can produce endotoxins, which can cause anemia, trigger uterine contractions, and potentially prevent delivery. Low birth weight can be caused by pyelonephritis. Babies whose mothers had advanced, untreated UTIs showed developmental impairments. A UTI during pregnancy can, in rare cases, increase the risk of miscarriage and even infant mortality.

How can I prevent UTIs?

One can lower the risk of UTI by taking the following preventive measures:

  1. Drink plenty of water and fluids.
  2. Drink cranberry juice.
  3. Wipe from front to back.
  4. After intercourse, empty the bladder as soon as possible.
  5. Avoid using and feminine products that could irritate you.
  6. Change your method of birth control.

Can cranberry juice help prevent UTIs?

According to several studies, drinking cranberry juice or taking cranberry tablets can help prevent UTIs, especially in women who are at risk. Cranberries were once thought to protect against UTIs by making urine more acidic, making bacteria like Escherichia coli less friendly. But researchers now believe that cranberries make it difficult for infection-causing bacteria to attach to the walls of the urinary tract.

What should I do if I keep getting UTIs ?

If you continue to have UTIs, you should consult a doctor. Following that, the doctor will either prescribe treatments for recurring UTIs or refer you to a urologist. You can also take some other precautions to help prevent UTIs, such as:

Make sure you drink plenty of water. Cotton underwear is recommended. If you must pee, find a bathroom and do not hold it in. Avoid using perfumed products that have not been gynaecologist tested,including sprays, douches and powders. It is essential to consult a doctor if you suspect you have chronic or recurrent UTIs.

Sources:

  1. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/urinary-tract-infection/symptoms-causes/syc-20353447
  2. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/9135-urinary-tract-infections

by ichhori.com Reference: ichhori.com

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iChhori - Breaking Stereotypes

iChhori - Breaking Stereotypes

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About iChhori represents all those females who do NOT believe in stereotypes.