Urinary Tract Infections (UTI’s) are common infections that occur within the urinary system. This can include the urethra, bladder, and kidneys. They occur more frequently in women due to a short urethra. In fact, studies show that up to 1 in every 2 women will develop a UTI at least once in their lifetime.
Although UTI’s can occur in men, it is rare. Especially in men under the age of 50, as the male urinary tract has many natural defenses against infection.
UTI symptoms include:
- Cloudy, dark, or strange-smelling urine
- Burning sensation while urinating
- Frequent urges to urinate, followed by dribbling urine
- Pain or pressure in your lower back or abdomen
If you develop a fever, nausea or chills on top of the above symptoms, then this could be a sign that the infection has reached your kidneys. If this is the case, you should seek medical attention immediately, as kidney infections can pose serious health problems very quickly.
UTI’s occur when bacteria invades the urethra and travels up into the bladder. When left untreated, these infections can continue on to the kidneys, where serious infection can develop.
Other causes include genetics, such as abnormalities in the urinary tract. Women with diabetes, multiple sclerosis, kidney stones, or who are pregnant are also more susceptible to developing UTI’s.
After conducting tests on a urine sample to confirm and identify the bacteria causing the infection, your doctor will prescribe the appropriate antibiotic to treat the UTI. The consumption of fluids (such as cranberry juice) is also important to help flush out the bacteria in your system.
The best way for women to prevent a UTI is to pay close attention to hygiene. Because the urethra in women is located close to the anus, it is important to wipe from front to back rather than vice versa to prevent the spread of bacteria. Other habits that will help reduce a woman’s risk of UTI are:
- Urinating as soon as you feel the urge to go
- Drink water throughout the day
- Trade baths for showers
- Cleanse the genital area before sex
- Urinate after sex
If you are experiencing symptoms of UTI or suffer from frequent UTI’s, then make an appointment with your doctor today.