Taking care of our hygiene is important regardless of our gender. In fact, hygiene is a major aspect of how healthy one can stay in their lifestyle. Personal hygiene like taking care of your menstrual or general urinary system health is difficult if not done in the right way. Read on to everything you need to know about urinary tract infections or UTI.
What is a Urinary Tract Infection?
A urinary tract infection or UTI is a infection that occurs in your urinary system due to microbes. Microbes are organisms that cannot be seen directly but through a microscope/magnifying glass.
Is it normal to have a Urinary Tract Infection?
Urinary tract infection is a common disease that occurs in humans. The entire urinary system consists of your kidneys, ureters, bladder and urethra. A UTI usually happens in your lower urinary tract i.e. the bladder and urethra. Yet, there have been a few rare cases of severe UTI in your upper urinary tract i.e. ureters and kidneys.
Urinary tract infections have various causes and are dependent on several factors.
- While UTI is usually caused by bacteria - there have been cases of fungi and virus that have caused infections.
- Any reason that may reduce or irritate your urinary tract is a cause for a UTI.
You are highly at risk of a UTI if you:
- are older. These individuals are more vulnerable to UTI
- have reduced mobility. This could be after surgery or prolonged bed rest
- have kidney stones
- had a previous UTI
- have urinary tract obstruction/ blockages. This includes, an enlarged prostate (more in men) and certain forms of cancer
- have had a prolonged use of urinary catheters. This may make it easier for bacteria to get into your bladder
- have diabetes. This is especially true for a poorly controlled diabetes
- are pregnant. With there being a possibility of a complication during delivery, consultation should be immediate
- have an abnormally developed urinary structure from birth
- a weakened immune system
- have a shorter and nearer urethra to the site of possible infection
- have an increased pressure from a diaphragm
- have decreased in estrogen levels.
Signs and Symptoms
Signs and symptoms are based on where the urinary tract infection is occurring. In addition, aside from a few differences in the way symptoms are presented - general signs are similar in both genders.
If your lower tract is infected, then the signs and symptoms include:
- burning with urination
- increased frequency of urination without passing much urine
- increased urgency of urination
- bloody urine
- cloudy urine
- urine that looks like much darker than the pale yellow
- urine that has a strong odor
- pelvic pain in women/rectal pain in men
On the other hand, if your upper urinary tract is infected - you have the danger of the infection reaching your blood. This is called urosepsis, which affects your pressure and causes shock or even death. The symptoms for this kind of UTI are:
- pain and tenderness in the upper back
- pain and tenderness in the sides
When to see the doctor?
The more earlier you start treating a UTI, the more better it is. If you keep a UTI untreated, it can become extremely severe for you. If you feel one or more of the above signs are presented, you should immediately consult with your doctor. A small and early examination as well asas urine/blood test is a much longer term benefit.
How long does a UTI last?
Usually, since a lower tract infection is much easier to treat a maximum of 24 hours to two days should be enough for the UTI to last. Then, according to severity the severity (like in an upper tract infection), the infection will take time to last and be treated.
Precautions and Treatment
It is easier to treat lower tract infection. This is because the blood transfer is not an issue. A sepsis from the upper urinary tract can cause more danger to your life. In the case of the latter, a blood test is a must.
- testing not only helps in identifying where the infection is - it also helps in choosing the best treatment i.e. medication or other procedures. This will further help in knowing how many types of sample is required for testing.
- when testing your urine, your sample should be taken in the middle of your urination. This will help avoid collecting the bacteria or yeast that can contaminate the sample. Your doctor will help you to know you how to get a good catch.
- a recurrence of the UTI includes tests like an ultrasound, intravenous pyelogram (IVP), cystoscopy and computerized tomography (CT).
[Read more about how you can easily prevent or treat a UTI]
In the end, a prevention or treatment plan is always to be made with consultation from your doctor first. There should be no worries if you know exactly what to do. Once you are carefully able to identify a problem at the right time - you can ensure a better health for yourself!
Disclaimer - All the information provided in the blog is for reference purposes only. Please do not consider this as a medical advice. Always consult a doctor if you have any questions related to your own health or the health of your child.