Everything You Must Know About Urinary Tract Infections
by lilia fedyanina on Jan 05, 2023
Urinary tract infections can be frustrating and painful, but it's important to remember that they're also very common. In fact, most people will experience at least one UTI in their lifetime. While UTI symptoms can vary, the most common symptoms include the following:
- A strong, persistent urge to urinate.
- Pain or burning during urination.
- Cloudy or strong-smelling urine.
UTI Symptoms in men and women
While the symptoms of a urinary tract infection (UTI) are similar in both men and women, there are some important differences to be aware of. Men are more likely to experience symptoms in the lower urinary tract. In contrast, women may experience them in the upper tract.
However, both sexes can experience UTI symptoms in either area. Common UTI symptoms include a burning sensation during urination, pelvic pain (in women), rectal pain (in men), and an urgent need to urinate. If you think you may have a UTI, it's important to see a doctor as soon as possible. Left untreated, a UTI can lead to serious health complications.
Women are more likely to get UTIs than men for a few reasons:
- The female urethra is shorter than the male urethra, making it easier for bacteria to travel from the anus to the bladder.
- The urethral opening is located closer to the vagina, another route for bacteria to enter the urinary tract.
- Sexual activity can also increase the risk of UTIs, as it can introduce new bacteria into the urinary tract.
While anyone can develop a UTI, women are more likely to experience this problem due to their anatomy.
How Is UTI Diagnosed?
Suppose you think you might have a UTI. In that case, the first step is to call or visit your general practitioner or an urgent care facility.
A UTI is diagnosed by a simple urine test. The medical name for this test is a urine dipstick test, which uses a chemically treated paper strip that change color to indicate the presence of infection-causing bacteria in the urine.
You will provide a urine sample, which will be screened for bacteria and blood cells. To ensure an accurate sample, you must clean your genital area with a special wipe before providing the sample. Once the sample has been collected, it will be sent to a lab for analysis. If the results come back positive for a UTI, you will be prescribed antibiotics to clear the infection. Most UTIs can be cleared with prompt treatment within a week or two.
Some women with recurrent UTIs may be prescribed prophylactic antibiotics to prevent future infections. Taking these preventive antibiotics does carry a risk of side effects, such as yeast infections, so this approach is usually only used if other measures fail. Your healthcare provider can help you weigh the pros and cons of this approach.
Duration of Urinary Tract Infections
While most UTIs are fairly easy to treat, some can be more complicated and may take longer to resolve. Once you've started treatment for a UTI, symptoms typically go away within one to two days. However, if the infection has spread to your kidneys, it may take a week or longer before symptoms improve. In the meantime, make sure to drink plenty of fluids and empty your bladder regularly to help flush out the infection. If your symptoms don't improve after a few days of treatment, or if they get worse, follow up with your doctor.
If you've ever had a UTI, you know how uncomfortable they can be. The good news is that there are things you can do to help prevent them from happening in the first place. Here are a few tips:
-Drink plenty of fluids.
This helps to flush out bacteria and keep your urinary tract healthy. Drink plenty of liquids, especially water. Drinking water helps dilute the urine. That leads to urinating more often — allowing bacteria to be flushed from the urinary tract before an infection can begin.
-Wipe from front to back after going to the bathroom.
Another simple step is to wipe from front to back after using the restroom. This helps prevent bacteria from spreading from the anus to the vagina and urethra. While UTIs can still occur even if you practice good hygiene, wiping from front to back is one easy way to help minimize your risk.
-Urinate soon after sex.
It's important to empty your bladder soon after having sex. This helps to flush out any bacteria that may have been introduced during intercourse.
In addition, urinating before and after sex can help to reduce the risk of UTIs.
-Avoid using scented products around the genital area.
These can irritate the skin and make you more susceptible to infection.
-Drink cranberry juice
Cranberry juice may also help prevent UTIs by making it harder for bacteria to stick to your urinary tract walls. Drinking six to eight ounces of unsweetened cranberry juice daily may help prevent UTIs, especially in women who get them often. Some studies suggest that taking cranberry capsules may also help prevent UTIs, but more research is needeed.
Following these simple tips can help reduce your risk of getting a UTI. If you get one, be sure to see your doctor so you can get started on treatment immediately.
You can do several things at home to help ease the symptoms and speed up recovery. A heating pad can help to relieve pressure and pain, and wearing loose cotton clothing will promote comfort. If you suffer from recurrent UTIs, modifying certain habits may help to reduce the risk of infection. Choose fragrance-free personal care products to avoid irritation. By taking these simple steps, you can help to keep UTIs at bay.
Most UTIs are lower tract infections, which means they involve your bladder and urethra. These types of UTIs are usually easier to treat than upper tract infections because the further your urinary system the infection spreads, the more severe it becomes. An upper tract infection affects your kidneys or ureters. This type of UTI is much more difficult to treat and can lead to serious complications like sepsis.
Sepsis is a life-threatening event caused by the spread of bacteria into your blood.
Therefore, it is important to seek treatment for a UTI as soon as possible to avoid these potentially serious complications.