Most women aren’t aware that they are prone to Urinary Tract Infection (UTI). It’s an infection that affects the kidneys, bladder, ureter and urethra, among other parts of the urinary system. Compared to men, women are at a higher risk of getting infected with UTI, as we have a shorter urethra, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Bacteria only needs to travel a short distance to infect a woman’s bladder. Furthermore, the urethral entrance is closer to the rectum, which is where the germs that cause these infections dwell.
The symptoms of UTI are:
- Wanting to urinate frequently or urgently
- Feeling such a need to urinate even after emptying the bladder
- Peeing with discomfort, burning, or pressure sensation
- Releasing bloody, murky, or smelly urine
- Having lower abdominal ache
- Experiencing lower back pain
Pregnant women are highly prone to contracting UTI, as a woman’s body experiences several changes while pregnant. The common cause of UTI is bacteria entering the urinary tract through the urethra and multiplying in the bladder. Even though the urinary system is designed to keep such small invaders out, these defenses do not always work.
There are 3 common types of UTI:
- Cystitis (bladder): Might feel inclined to pee frequently, and might just find that peeing hurts. Lower belly aches and murky or crimson urine are also possible symptoms.
- Pyelonephritis (kidneys): Fever, chills, nausea, vomiting, and pain in the upper back or side are all possible symptoms.
- Urethritis (urethra): When peeing, this can result in a discharge and burning.
Preventing UTI is easy, and one of the fastest ways to do so is by consulting your doctor to get a prescription for antibiotics.
Here are a few easy UTI prevention methods:
- Drink lots of water – Water dilutes urine and encourages the urge to urinate more frequently, allowing bacteria in the urinary system to be cleared out before an illness develops.
- Drink cranberry juice – Cranberry juice promotes and boosts vitamin intake and also adds fluid to your system, which helps to fight infections. Proanthocyanidins, a type of tannin present in cranberries, are thought to prevent E. coli growth.
- Practice good hygiene – UTIs can often be avoided by maintaining proper personal cleanliness. It is recommended that wiping from front to back after a bowel movement helps to avoid infection. During the menstrual cycle, we should also maintain proper cleanliness to avoid infections. UTIs can be avoided by changing pads and tampons often and without using feminine deodorants.
- Before and after sex, wash up and urinate – Before sex, wash hands with soap and water. This prevents bacteria from entering the urethra. Urination also flushes any bacteria that have made their way into the urinary tract back out.
- Reconsider birth control options – A diaphragm, spermicide, or spermicide-lubricated condom can all contribute to bacterial growth, making the chances of getting UTI higher. If UTIs are frequent while using one of these birth control methods, try switching to a water-based lubricant for vaginal dryness or trying other birth control techniques to see if it helps.
Remember to consult a doctor if your UTI symptoms are vague. Always schedule a yearly medical checkup as well.
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